by writer/director Nicholas Jasenovec
Paper Heart, my first feature film, is opening in limited release across the country. It’s both exciting and terrifying, much like the process of making the film. I’m proud to tell you a little about the film and to represent the numerous talented and dedicated people who worked so hard to make it a reality.
It all started with an email from my friend, Charlyne Yi, who is a very gifted and original comedian (I hesitate to describe her using this term because she doesn’t do traditional comedy, but I have a word count to worry about. I probably shouldn’t have rambled on just now). She described to me an idea for a documentary about love. She wanted to collect a wide variety of views on the subject. She wanted to capture real love stories. And she wanted to recreate some of those stories using puppets. I was in.
That was only three years ago. Everything happened so fast. The film evolved from a documentary into a hybrid-documentary-romantic-comedy, combining real doc footage with a fictional narrative. We didn’t have a script, but instead worked off of a five page outline (this falls under the terrifying part of making the film). Our good friend Michael Cera came on board to play the love interest. And an actor (Jake Johnson) was cast to play me on screen. We traveled across the country and to other countries, in the process meeting and interviewing so many great people with fantastic stories to tell. We shot over 300 hours of footage. We spent every day (except Sundays) for six months in the same room, putting all of that footage together into an hour and half story. And then we were lucky enough to premiere our film at the Sundance Film Festival (a dream come true), where we won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.
It has been an incredible journey and I’m sad that it’s almost over. But also a little relieved. I hope you enjoy the film.