One of the best mystery films in the 2017 SF Black Film Festival this year is “Live a Little” by filmmaker David Jaffe, where the main character gets loaded, a fight spills from the bar, someone gets killed, and everyone is trying to put together the many pieces to figure out what happened.
Suspense drives this feature film more than any other emotion, and I liked that, because in order to do that, the writing, dialogue and acting have to be superb to keep the audience on the edge of their seat. “Live a Little” passes with flying colors. Check out filmmaker David Jaffe in his own words.
M.O.I. JR: Where did you get the concept and the name for your film “Live a Little”?
David Jaffe: “Live a Little” is inspired by my experiences working in a club. How quickly things can go wrong when someone has had one too many drinks and a fight can break out. It’s based on hearing about stories of violence from the night before. The name of the film refers to the main character’s journey throughout the film, how he changes as a character, how he has to live a little.
M.O.I. JR: Why in the film is the main character a crew of three people that includes a Black man and woman and a white guy? Most times people hang with their own race. Why did you do this?
David Jaffe: The film takes place and was made in Washington, D.C. That nation’s capital is a very diverse city, and I wanted to reflect that in the movie. Behind the scenes was very diverse as well; we had a Hispanic cinematographer and an Asian assistant director.
I wouldn’t necessarily think of the three main characters as a crew. They all have their own motivations for being together. I would think a crew would have some sort of common goal to achieve. These characters really just want something from one another.
M.O.I. JR: Was it hard as a screenwriter trying to keep up the suspense throughout this film, which you have done so well?
David Jaffe: Thanks, man! Continuing off of each character wanting something from one another, this film is at its core a film noir. You can’t trust anybody. I think to build suspense you do need a central mystery (or two) to solve, that drives both the characters and the audience to want to know more. Whether it’s a “whodunit” mystery, an escape thriller, or an adventure.
M.O.I. JR: How did you come up with the concept of the brother’s character? He was intense and unlike anybody I had ever met in Black cinema.
David Jaffe: Without spoiling the film: The brother’s character is the most confused character in the whole film. I really have to give a lot of credit to our actor Devin Davidson (credited as Devin Denzel) he gave an amazing performance as Peyton, the brother.
He’s confused about his past, and what the next steps are to take. In many ways, if he would just live a little and stop worrying about his past, he could move on. But he lacks the ability to do so. The character has some gothic elements to him as well when you look into the backstory. It was a lot of fun to write.
M.O.I. JR: How did you cast for this film?
David Jaffe: We casted non-union via Backstage.com and via The Actor’s Center in D.C. However, the main character, Nevada, was really hard to cast until I met Reggie Melbrough. Reggie is a professional comedian and I felt that that experience brought a grounded reality to that character.
M.O.I. JR: How does it feel to be selected for the SF Black Film Fest?
David Jaffe: Feels awesome. I’ve always wanted to screen in the San Francisco Bay Area.
M.O.I. JR: What are you working on currently?
David Jaffe: I’m working on a few genre scripts. I’ll be shooting a couple of shorts this summer that I’ll be posting to my social media.
M.O.I. JR: How could people stay up with your work?
David Jaffe: You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @dijaffe, YouTube: resisttransist.