San Mateo native Emily Goss stars in Cinequest film

Emily Goss plays "Jennifer" in The House on Pine Street

Emily Goss plays “Jennifer” in The House on Pine Street

Emily Goss grew up in San Mateo, where her parents still live. She started doing theatre when she was a student at Crystal Springs Uplands School and credits the San Mateo theatre community and her drama teacher, Antoinette Wrubel, for being supportive and inspiring. On Saturday night she stars in the World Premiere of The House on Pine Street at Cinquest.

1Q: Tell us how you became involved with The House on Pine Street, and how you prepared for your role.

Well, the long version is that I loved doing student films while I was studying Theatre at USC and had a lot of friends who were in the School of Cinematic Arts. In the summer of 2013, I was working on a feature with some SCA friends and Austin helped us on set for a few days. He, Aaron, and Natalie were about to start writing “The House on Pine Street” at that point. Later that fall, he cast me in a short he was directing, and I got to meet Aaron too. Then last spring, the twins and Natalie reached out, saying they were now casting “The House on Pine Street,” and asked me if I’d audition for Jennifer. I sent a taped audition to Kansas, had a call back on Skype, and got the part!

I like preparing both technically and emotionally. I read and reread the script and figure out how it all fits together. Then what isn’t in the script, I like to create – to build memories and backstories. This script was great for that because so much of the tension is buried in these people’s long histories. On top of that we got to rehearse! Aaron and Austin brought the actors together and we played and discussed the scenes prior to shooting.

2Q: Cinequest Film Festival is hosting the World Premiere of The House on Pine Street. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

I’m so thankful that Cinequest is supporting us and giving us the opportunity to screen here. Especially since I grew up in San Mateo, the fact that the premiere is going to be here of all places is amazing. My parents and my childhood friends are going to get to see the film. My high school drama teacher might get to see it!

For some reason, I’m not too nervous to share “The House on Pine Street” with audiences, I just feel excited. Maybe it’s because I’m so proud of what we made – the cast and crew all did incredible work. I think people are going to like the film. And by “like it” I mean “get the bejeezus scared out of them.”

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making The House on Pine Street?

Oh, hard to pick a “best experience”… “The House on Pine Street” is not a happy movie but making it was one of the most fun and fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Joining the team was instantly becoming part of a family. Most of us lived in The House during production. I guess the best experiences were the million little moments that make up living and working with people you care about. Someone strumming on a guitar around the corner, washing dishes before Monique finds out you ate with the prop plates, eating together around the table in the dining room, playing stupid games, celebrating birthdays, opening wine bottles with screwdrivers and hammers and nails because, while we’d forgotten a corkscrew moving in, we had plenty of power tools. It wasn’t just the cast and crew either – the communities of Leavenworth and Independence, the wonderful people who welcomed us into their homes to shoot, all the extras, they were so enthusiastic and became part of that family too. Just to wake up in a place built in 1840, make a movie all day, and go to sleep looking forward to another day just like it… what’s better than that?

Of course things went wrong too… one of the worst things? Well, the shower broke for a couple of days… part of living in an old house, right? Those were dark times.

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

This is a bold movie. It’s not your typical horror and it’s not your typical drama. But it is a confident movie. The thing that impressed me most about Aaron, Austin, and Natalie is how thoroughly they knew the story they wanted to tell and how much they committed to that vision. They took cinematic chances and made strong, sophisticated choices. The relationships in the film are beautifully explored. The characters are not always likable but they are interesting, which I prefer. “The House on Pine Street” shows how much a small crew – and young filmmakers – can accomplish.

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won the Oscar for The House on Pine Street. Give us your acceptance speech.

Oh gosh. I’d thank my parents. I’d thank my family… for Everything. And the Kansas family of course – everyone involved in “The House on Pine Street.” An award for any part of this film is such a tribute to the whole. I’d thank the wonderful teachers and classmates I’ve been lucky enough to have – rehearsal buddies, self-tape buddies – everyone at USC and LAMDA, my studios in LA, the LA theatre community, other films I’ve been a part of – all these people and projects helped me and continue to every day. And I suppose I’d thank the Academy too.

See THE HOUSE ON PINE STREET at Cinequest!
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