Interview: 'Audrey Makes a Mixtape' Premieres at SLIFF Starring St. Louis Actress Ana Lucasey

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

Though it was shot in L.A., the short film “Audrey Makes a Mixtape” stars St. Louis actress Ana Lucasey. Now the film will have its premiere at the St. Louis International Film Festival as part of “Shorts 5: Leading Ladies,” on Monday, Nov. 17 at 9:30pm in the cool confines of the Tivoli Theater. ALIVE caught up with Lucasey to get the scoop on the making of the film, her take on what it’s about, and how it was working with her writer/director fiance, James Mackenzie.

Ana Lucasey stars in "Audrey Makes a Mixed Tape" at SLIFF Photo courtesy of the artist.

Ana Lucasey stars in “Audrey Makes a Mixed Tape” at SLIFF
Photo courtesy of the artist.

ALIVE: How long did shooting take and where was the film shot?
Lucasey: Production took a total of four days in Los Angeles, CA. We shot in multiple locations but my favorite was Alexander Hamilton High School, where the likes of “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Once And Again,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” were filmed. Not a lot about that school has changed since the ’80s so I definitely felt transported back to that time.

ALIVE: The story takes place in 1988, and is about a girl who has a crush—or perhaps is in love—with a boy at school, so she makes a mix tape to tell him how she feels. Can you expand on this?
Lucasey: Her goal is to save him from losing his virginity. It’s a film more about innocence than it is about sex, although without one we don’t have the other. There are so many high school movies out there that are either about the loss of virginity or feature that as part of a plot line so James (Director/Writer James Mackenzie) wanted to flip the genre on its head, just in a short film form. In my development of Audrey’s character I really tried to revert to my middle school and high school self, that feeling of crushing on someone so hard, even if from a distance. Imagining yourself with them and all of the wonderful ways you would be right together. I think we all experience that feeling sometime in our life and it’s so hard to put yourself out there at that age, especially at what can be such an awkward time for most young people. Everything is a matter of life and death and the stakes are so high! Man, high school is so wonderful and awful, all at the same time, and I think “Audrey Makes A Mixtape” does a brilliant job at capturing that.

ALIVE: There is some great music in the film. Where did it come from. How did you acquire it?
Lucasey: Part of James’ Kickstarter campaign was to ask the backers for music suggestions. After listening to hundreds of ’80s songs and some contemporary ones, James went through the long process of choosing the perfect songs and getting licensing for them. Our favorite song is “Where I Found You” by Future Islands, a really hot indie band with an ’80s vibe. Future Islands watched “Audrey Makes A Mixtape” and loved it, we’re so happy to feature that song in such a climactic moment of the short film.

ALIVE: Your fiancé, James Mackenzie, wrote and directed the film. Did you find it difficult working and being directed by your fiance?
Lucasey: Actually, James and I met working on “Audrey Makes A Mixtape”! The first time we met was at my callback for the role and we went on our first date one week after we wrapped on production. Because of James’ background in theatre and acting, he makes for a wonderful director, he understands how an actor thinks and is brilliant at communicating and working with his actors to get to an end result that everyone is excited about.

ALIVE: Can you give me some background info on yourself and James? What other acting and film experience do you have?
Lucasey: My family moved to the St. Louis area when I was 11 years old. It is here where my love for theatre, dance and music developed and was cultivated. When I was 13, I signed with Talent Plus Universal in St. Louis, who really helped launch my career, booking me in my first films and commercials and ultimately introducing me to my manager and sending me off to Los Angeles where I have been so very lucky in booking numerous TV, film and commercial jobs. James has been involved in theatre since the 4th grade and majored in it in college as well. Filmmaking is a more recent medium for James, he just graduated with his MFA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University and is glad to be hitting the ground running with “Audrey Makes A Mixtape.”

ALIVE: How satisfying is it to get into SLIFF?
Lucasey: I am beyond thrilled that “Audrey Makes A Mixtape” is showing at SLIFF! To be able to share a film that I am so proud of with the community where my love for the arts was born is so satisfying. I feel like I’ve come full circle and hope that I am able to keep coming back to SLIFF year after year with projects to share with my family and my friends, with my home.

For more information please visit the SLIFF website.

Follow Christopher Reilly on Twitter @ChristoReilly

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