ROCKAWAY follows the awkward misadventures of three neurotic, romantically-challenged winter surfers, who also happen to be roommates, as they navigate their 20s in the “paradise” that is Rockaway, Queens. Each episode of this broad, escapist comedy chronicles the roommates’ descent into various New York subcultures as they attempt (and often fail) to find love in the city’s outer-borough.
“Rockaway” was a blast to make! As everyone knows, it’s a director’s dream to tell the story of a human with an unwanted object stuck up their anus. Add winter surfing to the mix and we’re talking cinematic heaven! But seriously, you never know in life what crazy predicaments one can get themselves into so I approached the pilot with loving, if not amused, care. I wanted Ruthie’s experience to play out naturally and in a way that feels (almost) relatable, while also maximizing every horrifically comedic aspect of the situation. All of the actors were gifted thespians who furthered this goal, effortlessly riding the line between drama and comedy. I also have to thank the consummately professional crew who bit their tongues when laughing out loud would have ruined the scene. Production overall was a joyous collaboration to honor writer/creator Anna Bierhaus’ vision for the project: to share with the world this little slice of urban joy that saved her life after the passing of her father.
Writer/Director Andrea Ashton’s instinct for capturing what it is to be human has resulted in short films and pilots that have garnered dozens of film festival awards, critical love, and tens of thousands of YouTube views, including an archive in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an honor reserved for films the Academy feels “represent significant contributions to the art and science of motion pictures.” Her projects have been referred to as “smart,” “edgy,” “unafraid of tackling uncomfortable subjects,” and exhibiting “an unexpected and enjoyably subversive sense of humor.” Her latest short “‘Love’,” an experimental narrative film she wrote and directed that brings a modern poem to life, is in the midst of its festival run with a premiere at the Indie Memphis Film Festival and screenings at the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival as well as the Oxford International Film Festival with the Indy Film Fest to come. Simultaneously her pilot, “Rockaway,” a comedic narrative about cold-water surfers, premiered at Cinequest, Silicon Valley’s top arts festival, where it won “Best TV Pilot”, and has continued its run at TribecaFilm Festival’s NOW program, and Dances With Films to date. She’s been a second-rounder for both Sundance and Film Independent Labs and recently completed New York Women In Film and Television’s From Script to Pre-Production Lab with her feature script “When Joy Fell”, one of only eight projects selected. A member of NYWIFT, Cinefemme, and NYC Women Filmmakers, she’s an active proponent of bringing more womxn’s voices to the screen.