After Film Courage attended the industry networking/support group ‘The Table’ in Sherman Oaks, CA, we got in contact with the film’s writer/director/dp/producer, Ana Barredo.
The Table documentary features Richard Basch, Nathaniel Freeman, Mark Haynes, Neil Johnson, James Metropole, Michael Nankin, Michael Reaves, Armin Shimerman, George Takei, Dave Taylor, William and Chawn Watkins, Chris Wyatt, Marc and Elaine Zicree.
For almost 20 years, a group of tenacious individuals meet every Thursday at a local diner to discuss their strategy on breaking into the exclusive club known as Hollywood.
The group is called THE TABLE.
I was born and raised in the Philippines. My family and I immigrated to the U.S. in 1986.
How did The Table come about?
I met Table founder Marc Zicree 10 years ago when I produced the Twilight Zone Definitive Edition DVD, and we’ve remained friends ever since. I mentioned to Marc around that time that I made movies on the side so he kept urging me to come check out this Table group that he runs. But I never got around to actually going to a Table meeting until 2009. And frankly, the only reason I went to the meeting was just so I can tell Marc I went, and call it a day. It had been a while since I made a movie and I really wasn’t thinking of making another one. However, attending my first Table meeting got my creative juices flowing again! By end of that evening, not only am I back to making movies, I found the perfect subject for my next project!
Have you ever been tempted to leave LA?
My family decided to make Los Angeles our home when we came to this country because most of our relatives live in LA. Not only was it nice to have family around, it was doubly exciting for a TV and movie junkie like myself to live so close to Hollywood. 25 years later, I still feel the same way.
Which interview you captured resonated the most with you and why?
Inarguably, the most inspiring story from the Table documentary is that of Jim Troesh’s. A quadriplegic since the age of 14, Jim didn’t let his disability get in the way of his dreams and his goals. He did it all – he was an actor, a screenwriter, a filmmaker, an editor, even a web designer. I’m fortunate to have had the chance to interview Jim and was able to capture his spirit and sense of humor on screen by way of the documentary. Jim may have passed away last year but his story will continue to touch the world.
What truths have you applied from the table doc interviews to your own life and career?
How do you gain trust from your ‘subject.’
I didn’t really do anything special to gain anyone’s trust. I suppose when they find out that I’m just like one of them, it became easier for them to open up and be more honest during the interview. I was also following them for a year so I was able to develop a friendship with them as we got to know each other better. To this day, I’ve remained friends with most of the Table members I interviewed for the documentary – a few have even become some of my closest friends now.
What’s the best way to have someone open up on camera, who might be less verbose and better through writing?
Since this was my first attempt at documentary filmmaking, I was learning as I went. I think it helped that I used a small prosumer camera throughout the shoot. Because I didn’t come with a huge crew and giant lights, my subjects felt at ease and not too self-conscious as I followed them around. Also, I didn’t want them to feel like I was interviewing them – I wanted it to be more like we were just having a casual conversation. I think that made them feel more comfortable and less like an interrogation.
Do you believe in remaining removed from your interview subject, almost impartial so that they only see you as a camera, or do you like to be more personally involved?
I decided not to do any voice-over narration throughout the film because I didn’t want the documentary to end up becoming about the filmmaker. I wanted to take a fly-on-the-wall approach, be the eyes and ears of the audience, and allow the story to develop on its own. I didn’t set out to make an infomercial on the Table group either. I wanted it to be more like a snapshot, if you will, of a year in the life at the Table.
What life lessons did you learn from Marc and Elaine?
I guess the word that comes to mind when I think of Marc and Elaine is “tenacious.” I’ve never met a more driven couple than the Zicrees. And it’s their tenacity that continue to inspire Table members to keep working towards their goals and eventually find success.
Where can we find the film?
‘The Table’ was picked up for distribution by New Video Group (Being Elmo, Best Worst Movie, Woody Allen: A Documentary) and is scheduled to released through ITunes, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and various other digital platforms in mid-November. Be sure to check it out!
Manila-born Ana Barredo has always been fascinated by Hollywood all her life. She often brags that she learned to speak English watching American TV shows growing up in the Philippines as a child. In 1986, she immigrated to the US with her family – a huge step closer to her lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker. In 2001, she wrote, directed and produced her first indie feature called A REAL JOB. Her $15K-budget movie went on to gain glowing reviews, a Best Director nomination for a 2003 DVD Premiere Award and most importantly, a distribution deal with Image Entertainment. She followed it up by her short THE PLIGHT OF THE ANGELENOS which screened in several film festivals including LA Shorts Fest, Moodance, Oxnard and Rotterdam Film Festival. Barredo continued to work as a Special Features Producer for dozens of DVD releases including the TWILIGHT ZONE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION, where she met Twilight Zone Companion author Marc Zicree. In 2009, Zicree invited her to a meeting of a group he started called the Table. Intrigued by this unique group, she decided to follow its members for a year. In 2011, she completed the documentary entitled THE TABLE which won Best Documentary at the SoCal Film Festival in 2011.