The Movie Waffler Interview - FEAR, LOVE AND AGORAPHOBIA Director Alexander D’Lerma | The Movie Waffler

Interview - FEAR, LOVE AND AGORAPHOBIA Director Alexander D’Lerma

Alexander D’Lerma
Director Alexander D’Lerma discusses his new drama.

Released Pril 13th on VOD via Leomark Studios, Fear, Love and Agoraphobia fixes on an agoraphobic man and a female marine struggling to overcome paralyzing circumstances.

The movie is winning over critics, so we buzzed director Alexander D’Lerma to see what he thinks his film’s magical ingredient is.


Beautiful looking film – what did you film it on? 

We shot on two Sony A7s. We didn’t always shoot on both cameras but for certain scenes I wanted to have two cameras running so the actors would not have to worry as much about their physical continuity and as a time saver. We didn’t have a lot of time to shoot with Lori Petty, for example, so having two cameras was very helpful. The whole movie was shot in 15 days and that’s tough when you’re making a character driven film that will only work if you take your time to fine tune the actor’s performances.

Was it important to you that the film have as much substance as it did style? 

Yes. In fact substance for this movie was the primary goal. It’s not a plot driven film so what we’re saying in the film has to have depth and come from a truthful place.

One can only imagine real events have played muse to the script?

The agoraphobia was a dramatic device I used to convey the feeling most people have had of loneliness and feeling trapped in their own lives or in a particular situation created by themselves or a force they cannot control. I feel it’s universal, and for many people it can be very intense and paralysing as it is for anyone suffering from agoraphobia or any anxiety disorder.

Why this cast?

The two lead actors, Dustin Coffey and Linda Burzynski, are members of my acting/directing studio, The Cinema Gym. I have been their acting coach and mentor for over several years. Dustin and Linda are two extremely hard working and talented character actors who were having trouble booking their first feature film. Hollywood, more than ever, values youth, beauty, and the amount of social media followers an actor has more so than their training and talent. I wrote the script and the leading characters of Chet and Maggie specifically to showcase Dustin and Linda’s unique talents. They deserved a break and I’m happy that they have earned so many “best actor” film festival awards. My fellow producer Markus Linecker and I wanted to cast Lori Petty in a strong supporting role because we’ve always liked her work and were fans of her iconic '90s films.

Was there one particular name in there that helped get you financing?

No. Our only name actor was Lori Petty and we had all our financing prior to casting her. I knew casting unknown actors in the leading roles was a gamble, that it could hurt us financially when we tried to get distribution, but we wanted to make a unique and personal film; something that was not a cookie cutter knock off of other films that had already been made.

How hard is it to write a real medical condition into a script?

It’s time consuming because you have to do a lot of research and interview medical professionals and people who struggle with that specific ailment you’re using in the story. Dustin Coffey did the majority of that research for me and for himself since he would be playing the agoraphobic man. He was attached to the project even before it was written.

The film played the festival circuit. How did it go there?

Fantastic. These days the high profile film festivals rarely program a “no budget” movie (anything under $125,000 budget) and it’s very political. So we were primarily screened in mid level festivals in different parts of the U.S. But they embraced F.L.A. and we won a total of 20 awards in 2017. The majority of them were acting awards for Dustin and Linda. I’m very grateful for the  love and support F.LA. received.

Was a theatrical release ever part of the plan? 

No. We really didn’t have any money to properly launch something like that. We’re hoping the press and social media will help our film be seen by a larger audience when we release it on iTunes, Google Play, and on DVD on Amazon April 13th. So far all our movie reviews have been excellent and it’s getting a lot of love.

Have you seen the film on a big screen though?

Several times. All the film festivals we were programmed in had excellent theatres, projectors, etc. The first big screen public viewing was at HRIFF at the Regal Cinemas in downtown L.A. Their facility is excellent and I couldn’t believe how great the picture looked with their projection system. The Q&A for a documentary film that ran before F.L.A. went long because actor Pierce Brosnan was associated with it. I wandered away, exploring the gigantic multiplex theater and when I returned my film had just started. I walked into the dark theatre and I literally stopped and looked at the huge screen and I thought…what did they do to F.L.A.? It looks amazing!

Do you think it loses anything when ported to VOD?

No, not at all. If this were a big action film by someone like Michael Bay then yes it would lose something on the small screen. But this very touching character-driven relationship plays beautifully on a home screen. I’ve viewed it multiple times in the homes of my family and friends and the laughs and tears are always there from the audience.

Do you believe VOD is the way of the future?

I think it is for more personal and complex movies like ours. I love going to a movie theatre for a big budget superhero fix but, generally speaking, when I want to see a complex and original movie it’s usually on a VOD platform.

What do you hope audiences take away from the movie?

I hope that they are entertained by and identify with the lead characters of Chet and Maggie. I think by the end of the film the audience will have a feeling of hope. They might also be a little sad to not be spending any more time with Chet and Maggie. A good book can do that to you. A good movie can too.