We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathryne Isabelle Easton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathryne Isabelle, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I was drawn to the arts at a young age because it seemed to be the only way I could properly express myself in a real and truthful way, yet since it’s through the veil of art– be it writing or performance, you are safe behind the assumption that what you are are saying is for dramatic purposes. It certainly is, sometimes. Either way, it’s cathartic. And if it’s cathartic for me as the maker of it, it will be cathartic for you as the viewer. The start-to-finish film process is my best form of therapy, it’s the only way I have been able to make sense of my life. I read a quote once that sums it up perfectly for me: “A creative adult is the child that survived.” I pursued a career in the arts because I believe we have a collective experience as humans, and if you can tap into that, you are doing much more than creating an art piece. You’re letting others be seen, letting them know they are not alone. Art has allowed me to find a greater truth, and I’m always trying to access that truth that in whatever I do. Art is the only way I know how to cope through living, which is often traumatic, but there’s so much beauty and power in truth.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a filmmaker, which is a broad term that says I write, act, and direct films. I own a production company with my husband, Matt Fore, a cinematographer, called Abhorrent Behavior. We just wrapped our first feature film, “Borrelia Borealis” shot entirely in isolation during this pandemic! I identify with the whole process of filmmaking, so while I love all of the things I do individually, I am most happy when I can helm a production from start to finish and have a singular voice come through. For me, this means, writing, directing, and acting in the project. I then sit with the editor and we do the cut together. I think female voice’s often get muted or manipulated when there’s too many cooks in the kitchen. Clint Eastwood gets to do this singularly, why can’t we? Of course, it doesn’t always work out like that, but I am trying. I am proud of my recent ability to truly let my guard down and let my own sometimes extremely uncomfortable truths come through in my art. I have integrated pieces of my own life story into so many projects, but it has finally come to a head in the narrative fictional feature “Borrelia Borealis,” about a lonely and isolated woman, suffering from late-stage Lyme disease. She begins to slowly unravel when a global pandemic halts her ability to receive a controversial life-saving treatment halfway around the world. Alone, Beth starts up an accidental and unlikely romance via a video chat wrong number with a mysterious man, Eddie… who may or may not be real. We shot the entire film in our apartment and car, not one exterior, and all my actors phoned in via Zoom and we got extremely creative with camera angles to make it feel like they are here with me, in the apartment. We are about to sit down to edit it, and get it off to the major festivals for consideration. Because I had recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease and this was extremely fresh for me, I was able to tap into all of those emotions when playing this part, and I think it will make for a compelling film that examines just what reality is and the different ways we define it. Especially what reality is when we are all locked up in our homes because of this virus. Things start to get a little warped after awhile, I think we can all agree on that. This film is what that feels like. A distortion. I am proud and excited that we were able to pull this off with no resources, no money, using only favors and goodwill. It felt urgent to make NOW, not next year, but NOW, and since were able to capture so many real-life scenarios unfolding before our very eyes– I think it will serve as a beautiful and disturbing time capsule of this unprecedented time. To get to this point, actually making a feature, was a life-long journey of trial and error and so so so many sleepless nights and crying phone calls… honestly! It’s not all fun and games, and it was in many ways, like giving life to something and then watching it grow and become it’s on entity. Halfway through, it took on a life of it’s own and I just went with it, following my instincts. We also shot an entire series, “It’s QUARANTINE! With Vanessa Charbonne” and put it up on Youtube– a fun comedy that highlights the beginning parts of the pandemic and quarantine because neither my husband or I could work in a real way– we still can’t– at least, we aren’t getting paid, because production has halted on everything! It’s not safe yet to return, I know they are working on it, but for the little guys like us, it’s still going to be awhile. So, we felt helpless and angry and sad wanted to make material to reflect our current times, to make people laugh a little or just feel less alone in this very alone time. So far, in quarantine, we have shot an entire web series and released it, a short film for festivals, and we just wrapped our 25-day shoot feature last night. The restrictions have only forced us to be more creative. None of these above projects would have existed without the pandemic. I’m not saying I’m glad for the pandemic, god no! But it has been empowering to see just how much we can get done when we aren’t so distracted by the minutia of life– when we put our heads together and start thinking like kids again– it’s a magical thing. My heart breaks for those sick and those who have lost their lives. Our leadership has let us down. My response to it is in the art. And this voice will be heard, either on Youtube or hopefully a big festival or what have you. And there is power in that. I think we are starting to listen to more voices now in the midst of all of this, and that is only a good thing. It will not go back to normal after this, and that… THAT… is a good thing. We made our feature with a wing and a prayer, and the restrictions only make it that much more charming, I think. I learned that usually your first instinct is the right one, so lean on that. And if you aren’t willing to crack yourself open and use all of what you got– your good and bad sides, your ugliness, your manic thoughts, your scars, your sickness, your triumphs and your whole self– then don’t do it. Cut it open and let it bleed so others can see it and possibly choose to do the same in their own lives or art. Full transparency and honesty about the human condition is the only way to make a film feel alive, for it to spark, for the audience to get that flip in their stomachs because they know something deep down too– “I have felt that way too, but never wanted to say it. I am ashamed I did this/feel this, etc. but here it is up on screen and now I don’t feel so alone anymore, and maybe it’s okay.” — that is my goal, always. Unveil it. Stare at it. Then let it go.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For a *fancy* night out, I’d take them to Firefly in Studio City. It’s pricey, but the ambiance is gorgeous with their back patio and greenery and flowers. It’s darkly lit, so it’s extremely romantic, and the perfect place to sit down for a night of cocktails or great wine and eat several courses of amazing simple yet unique food for hours of good conversation and good vibes. You can’t miss Hugo’s Taco Stand, in Sherman Oaks! Their Honey Chipotle salsa is something I dream about. Breakfast bowl and a mango ice tea, please! Best summer lunch there is! I absolutely love the Getty off the 405. I could get lost in there for days, I want to live there, spend the night meandering the halls. They have installations that change, exciting stuff like the Kubrick exhibit from a few years ago, which was immersive and so, so, cool to see his handwritten letters etc. Also, their gift shops are places of wonder. I could spend all my money on the cool postcards they have. I’d skip the tourist spots like Hollywood Blvd or Universal City Walk and trade those for a long drive to Manhattan Beach or Montecito/Santa Barbara. Less people there, usually, so you can roam free and have space while still getting some fun in the sun and the sand, which, come on, if you come to LA, you have to go to the beach at least once! The caves in Malibu are also very cool, and if you’re up for some fitness, Fryman Canyon is gorgeous and such a great workout! I’d insist they come with me to Burbank Infared Saunas, it is my haven! The owner, Jeanette, is a miracle worker, and has helped me so much with my Lyme disease! Everyone should do infared saunas, if they can! You feel amazing, your skin looks great, your lymph system gets flushed, boost immunity, and the essential oils you can customize for your experience. My go-to in peppermint because it makes your muscles feel all tingly. It’s a simple thing that makes your day better. I love it there!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this Shoutout to my beautiful and enigmatic Aunt, Mary Jane Jones! This woman has been my rock for many years, we are soul sisters. She is family, yes, and a mentor for sure– but she’s also a friend, and how amazing is that? How lucky am I?! She’s a true free spirit and remarkable empathic person that just gets me and I her. She has helped me through some of the toughest times of my life and the greatest advice she ever gave me when things seemed too hard to bear: “Just feel it.” We don’t do that enough, I think. We have a scary feeling: sadness, grief, despair, and we want to bury it. But what would happen if we actually felt those things? Yes, it’s uncomfortable and difficult, but on the other side of that is calm and wisdom. Feel the hard feelings. You will be better for it. She’s my cheering section, my best friend, and my favorite person. Her love and support of me, throughout my whole life, flying across the country so much to see my silly plays or simply to visit and have a blast– she’s just a very special woman, and I cannot imagine my life without her. I thought my life might be over or it had never really started when I found out in January of this year I had been suffering from Lyme disease for 25 years (the majority of my life). I couldn’t make sense of things anymore. I felt scared and cheated and relieved all at the same time. But I had no roadmap for this, and elements of sorrow and being overwhelmed were high. MJ was instrumental in getting me on the road to healing (I still am) and brass tacks, this woman has saved my life, several times, just with her spirit and her love and loyalty. Thank god for Aunts. And thank you, MJ. You have shaped my life in so many ways, I love you to the moon and back!!
Other: www.abhorrentbehavior.com www.vanessacharbonne.com
Matt Fore, Director of Photography