“THE SEASONS, four love stories”
Directed by Paul Schwartz
“THE SEASONS, four love stories” - Best Comedy Feature Film
Directed by Paul Schwartz

When did you realize that you wanted to make films and what motivated you to shoot your first film project?

I came into making films from the side of writing. I’ve been writing for the theatre for a number of years, and I was asked to do a screenplay adaptation of a book. I’d never written a screenplay, so I was intrigued, and though that particular project never got made, the script was good and opened some doors for me. It was a natural next step to make a film myself.

Give some more information about yourself and the projects you have made so far, about your experience?

I’ve made three films so far: TIME CAN BREAK YOUR HEART, a short, A NEW YORK STORY, medium-length, and THE SEASONS - FOUR LOVE STORIES, a feature. The first was weirdly the most elaborate production, with a large crew etc… The 2nd was shot during the first year of Covid: 2020, and came about because I wanted to react to both the pandemic and the George Floyd protests that were happening that summer. Since the vaccines hadn’t come out yet, I had to devise a way to shoot a film with the minimum possibility of anyone getting sick, and what I came up with was a four part story, each section a monologue by one actor. I was the only crew on this film: camera, sound, everything, to avoid the possibility of infecting anyone. It made for a very intimate relationship with the actors, and I think was partially why that film was so successful. The most recent film, THE SEASONS, came about for a variety of reasons. The first chapter, Summer, is partially based on what actually happened to the two actors who play the central characters. They are a couple in real life, and the story that’s told of how they came together is their story. I shot Summer originally thinking of it as a short, but while we were shooting I had the idea of linking four stories to the Seasons. I come from a classical music background as a composer and conductor, and for years I toyed with writing a “Seasons” piece like the Vivaldi, so it was a theme that’s been in my head for a while. 

Why do you make films?

Even when I was working primarily as a composer, my interest always lay more in story-telling rather than abstract music. I’ve written several ballet scores, two operas, one musical, a dramatic song cycle, and even when writing purely instrumental music I always had a dramatic theme in mind. Eventually though I began to be frustrated with just writing music. Filmmaking brings together all the tools of story-telling in a way that no other art form does, and I find that irresistible.

Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?

This is going to be kind of obvious, but it’s the usual suspects; Kubrick, for his visual sense and the architecture of his shots, Kurosawa, for his pacing and his trust in the actors to hold long shots, and Fellini, for his humanity and sense of whimsy.

How did you find the cast and the crew of the film?

I am a member of the Actors Studio in New York, and most of the actors I cast are members as well. The ones who aren’t are either people who’ve been in plays of mine, or are referred to me by trusted colleagues. In the case of the children who were cast: last February I had a play on at the Studio that required one boy in the cast. The director knew someone who was a talent manager specializing in kids, and she found us a wonderful young man to play the part. I then asked for her help in casting the Spring section, and she got me all those young actors. Keira Lassor who plays the central role in Spring is actually kind of a little star. She had a part in THE TENDER BAR directed by George Clooney. My crew on this film were very young, all apprentices at an audio-video post-production company with whom I have worked for over twenty years.

Let us more about your experience in this project?

The hard part was keeping the momentum going, as it was shot over a period of ten months in order to get everything in the right season. So there was a certain amount of sitting around waiting for the weather to change. And of course, as always with small low-budget projects, there’s never enough time when do actually get around to shooting, so it’s a little bit of panic stations. To give you an idea of of how compressed the schedule was, other than the shots in the car, the entirety of Winter was shot in one day. 

What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?

I’m in the early stages of the next film to be called SHADOWS AND LIGHT. It tells the story of a photographer, enclosed in grief, who finds that a window opens when he is forced to confront a young thief.

Adil Abdolmajeed Yusf