Your Favorite Movies – Jill D'Agnenica

For the 2015 Phoenix Film Festival we encourage you to Find Your New Favorite Movie! As we approach the festival we’ve started a new series on our site where we ask some Phoenix Film Festival filmmaker alumni about some of their favorite movies.


Jill and Tessa and the Gang PFF 2014

[box] Life Inside Out Director Jill D'Agnenica (left) and Producer Tessa Bell ~ with PFF's Jason Carney, Chris Lamont and Greg Hall ~ celebrating their Copper Wing Award.[/box]


Jill D’Agnenica, director of Life Inside Out, shares some of her favorite movies with us this week. Called gentle, poignant and down-to-earth, the film was a hit with PFF 2014 audiences ~ so much so that it took home the Audience Award.


What is your …

  • Favorite Comedy?

Harold and Maude directed by Hal Ashby has my favorite combination of absurdity and poignancy. I saw it for the first time when I was 12 years old and have been smitten for life.


But for the biggest laughs, only amplified with each subsequent viewing, hands down it’s gotta be Roberto Benigni’s farce of mistaken identity, Il Mostro (The Monster).


  • Favorite Drama?

Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders.


  • Documentary?

Of the recent past (because I have so many favorite documentaries,) it’s The Cove directed by Louie Psihoyos, which pulls off the amazing trick of behaving like an action packed thriller with comedic moments while being a harrowing piece of investigative reporting.


  • Favorite film you saw on the circuit?

Hmm, this is a hard one. The biggest gift for me on the festival circuit, besides sharing our film with audiences across the country, was seeing so many wonderful independent films.  Early on I saw and fell in love with Tu Seras Un Homme by Benoît Cohen and starring his real life wife and son, about a solitary, somewhat abandoned little boy whose life is transformed by a young man his father hires to be his baby sitter.


Other favorites of mine were When a Wolf Falls in Love with a Sheep by Chi-jan Hou, 45 RPM by Juli Jackson, The Big Ask by Thomas Beatty and Rebecca Fishman, and Hank and Asha by James E. Duff and Julia Morrison.


I loved the documentary The Ballad of Shovels and Rope by Jace Freeman, which follows the musician couple who are so sweet they make your teeth chatter. Okay, I promise I am stopping now, but the list could go on and on.


  • What is a favorite film that you think most people have never seen, but should?


Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know. I’ve heard Miranda July speak a few times and each time she has lamented, “making movies is hard.” Well, I am so glad that it hasn’t stopped her, because she has such an original, offbeat vision. And, the French film, Tomboy by Céline Sciamma … this film explores gender identity with the softest touch. It is lighthearted and full of love and acceptance and I watched it three times when I was prepping Life Inside Out, for inspiration and encouragement.


  • Do you have a favorite film poster?gone-girl-poster-691x1024

From the recent past, I can’t stop raving about the poster for Gone Girl, which managed to get away without including the title of the film on the poster, just the phrase, “You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s...” (Something I suppose you can only do when you’ve got a highly anticipated movie, based on a best-seller.)


Jill tells us that since the 2014 Phoenix Film Festival, Life Inside Out experienced continued success.


“We had such an awesome festival run, and met so many wonderful audience members and fellow filmmakers.”


The film screened at 18 festivals, winning 14 awards (including six for Best Narrative Feature, four Audience Awards, Best Music, Best Screenplay, and Best Actor), and has been doing a limited theatrical release in select cities, with a run at Quad Cinema in NYC coming up this weekend through Thursday – January 16-22. If you still miss it, Monarch Home Entertainment is releasing Life Inside Out on DVD and VOD in the coming months!

                                                – Laurie Smith