KERA Arts Story Search

Looking for events? Click here for the Go See DFW events calendar.

Balancing Humor and Darkness with Raspberry Jam

by Mashal Noor 20 Nov 2014 2:23 PM

This week on Frame of Mind, watch a collection of short films put together by Women in Film Dallas!


This week on Frame of Mind, watch a collection of short films put together by Women in Film Dallas!

  • Tune in to KERA TV on Thursday at 11 PM to catch this week’s episode!

This week’s episode features the following films:

  • “Duck Food” directed by Dewey Taylor, produced by Sara Roberts
  • “Raspberry Jam” directed by Courtney Ware, produced by Meredith Burke
  • “The Long Run” directed by Laura Lilia Treviño and David Garcia
Andrew Sensenig as Stephen McMurphy and Frank Mosley as The Leprechaun. Photo: Ron Gonzalez

Andrew Sensenig as Stephen McMurphy and Frank Mosley as The Leprechaun. Photo: Ron Gonzalez


I spoke with Courtney Ware, the director of “Raspberry Jam”

On the idea behind the film:

The writer, Mike Maden, had sent me the script probably two years before we made it.  I had always kept it in my back pocket as a short film that I thought would be very interesting to bring to life.  Schedules finally lined up and we decided to pull the trigger and go ahead and produce that film.

Stephen McMurphy makes his daring escape. Photo: Ron Gonzalez

Stephen McMurphy makes his daring escape. Photo: Ron Gonzalez

On the process of creating the film:

It was a really easy process.  The writer, Mike, had a really solid script so when we decided to go into production, we met a couple of times to tighten a few things.  But the whole process overall was pretty easy as far as getting an excited crew on board, and getting a really great cast.  I had worked with Andrew Sensenig, who played Stephen, previously and had been wanting to work with Frank Mosley so I just called them up.  It was a little harder to convince Frank to play a leprechaun, but he was excited.  Everyone just jumped on board and we were able to shoot in about two days and got a really great short film out of it.

On the most challenging part:

The most challenging part of making “Raspberry Jam” was balancing the tone.  It’s a really dark film, but it has these bits of comedy in it.  So we had to balance this fairy tale storytelling with something very dark and hopeless, if you will.  I think that was the biggest challenge and the thing that was on all of our minds.  The producer, the actors, and I were all just constantly aware of where we needed to land.

Photo: Ron Gonzalez

Photo: Ron Gonzalez

On her favorite part:

It was definitely working out the frozen face with Andrew.  We got together to rehearse and stood in front of a mirror.  Andrew started contorting his face into different positions while we were sticking dental cotton balls in his mouth trying to find one expression that he could constantly go back to.

On the Indie filmmaking scene in Texas:

I think in Texas in particular, the Independent film scene is growing, even down to the number of films that were represented by Texans at Sundance.  I think that those numbers are going – it’s almost like Texas is getting onto people’s radars.  I think that we have an incredible talent and crew base here in Texas that has sort of been wading the waters through commercials and other small things.  So it’s really exciting to see the type of storytellers that are coming out of Texas.

On her future in filmmaking:

I actually just finished production and am in post-production on a feature film called Sunny in the Dark.  It was actually written by the same guy, Mark Maden, who wrote Raspberry Jam and that’s really exciting.  It’s a combination of that film and then any of the other projects that come my way in the next few years.


Courtney Ware, director of “Raspberry Jam”

On being included in Frame of Mind:

I was really excited because both “Blur” [featured in the Dallas International Film Festival showcase], and “Raspberry Jam” came at two different angles, and it was an honor.  Bart [Weiss] had asked me about “Blur” and then about two weeks later, Dee Evans, from Women in Film Dallas, actually asked me about including “Raspberry Jam.”  So it was really an honor to get on Frame of Mind from both sides; that both really believed in the work and wanted to include it.  Plus, it’s really exciting to see your work on TV, so there’s that too!  Raspberry Jam” is actually a few years old so it had already run its course, so it’s really exciting to get the chance to show it again to a different audience.

You can find more films by Courtney Ware on her website.