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“It Definitely Makes You Ask Yourself Why You’re Making a Movie” | Cooper Raiff, Cha Cha Real Smooth

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in Cha Cha Real SmoothCha Cha Real Smooth

The last two years have prompted much contemplation and reconsideration of the reasons why we make our films as well as the ways in which we make them. What aspect of your filmmaking—whether in your creative process, the way you finance your films, your production methodology or the way you relate to your audience—did you have to reinvent in order to make and complete the film you are bringing to the festival this year?

Cha Cha Real Smooth is the first movie I’ve made with a real production company, so it was all pretty new to me. I suppose I did think about making a movie for people dealing with a pandemic—we always talked about this being a party movie for people to watch after not having been to a party in a long time. It was tricky, though, because we made it with all the COVID protocols, so I never wanted too many extras on set. COVID makes filmmaking very hard, so I always wanted to keep things as simple as possible. Nothing superfluous on set. It also sucks having to wear masks and having to get something put on your nose every morning. It definitely makes you ask yourself why you’re making a movie and not staying at home. But I always came out on the other side of that question extremely grateful and happy to make something that means so much to me with people who mean so much to me.

See all responses to our annual Sundance Question here.

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