Skip to main content

Filmmakers Spotlight: Interview with Director Rachel Goldberg of "Neighbors"

As part of this month's NewFilmmaker Los Angeles screenings, held at Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, CA, we're showcasing directors, writers and actors whose films were chosen. We're shedding light on filmmaker goals, lessons learned and current projects. Learn about today's featured Director Rachel Goldberg:

Name: Rachel Goldberg/Director/Co-writer

Tell us a little bit about your project and how long you’ve been working on it. 

NEIGHBORS is about a quirky shut-in who is unable to leave her house. When she gets a feisty new neighbor – a transgendered woman in an abusive relationship – the two begin a strange friendship that allows them both to break free.

All told, I worked on the film for about a year. Jonathan Pope Evans wrote the original screenplay based on a good friend of ours who had suddenly become reclusive and shut off from the world. We wanted to help her, but her phobia was debilitating. At the same time, we both had close people in our lives who were struggling with their gender identity. We were shocked to learn that the global life expectancy for transgendered men and women is 23 due to the high rate of murder and suicide. Wanting to tell a story about healing and compassion, Jonathan wrote the first draft of the script. Around that time, I was applying to AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women – a prestigious film program designed to promote women in film. I was fortunate enough to be one of 8 women selected and I needed a short film that could be told in the time frame I had. I thought Jonathan’s story was beautiful and am always inspired by stories that celebrate unlikely friendships. I have found, and this is true in my own life, that it is often the people who seem the most different from who we are, that have the most profound effects on our lives. Jonathan was kind enough to let me use his story and we collaborated on the subsequent drafts.

We were restricted to a 5 day shoot, and had to lock picture within a month (I had the pleasure of working with a wonderful editor, Reggie Spangler). Then we had a number of months to complete our score (Greg Nicolett composed a beautiful score for us). So all in all, it took about a year.

Is there anyone you'd like to thank for helping out with this film?

There are so many people I would like to thank for helping with this film (as our credits show, we never could have made this film without the support of an amazingly talented cast, crew, friends, family, donors and sponsors). But I definitely want to thank Kelli Garner (Maggie) and Edi Gathegi (Lamay) who play the two leads it the film. They were absolutely brilliant and amazing to work with as was the rest of my talented cast. And I want to thank Robin Lippin, our casting director, for helping us find them. I would like to thank AFI and the Directing Workshop for Women for making this film possible. And I want to thank my producers, especially Sara Scott who stood by me every single step of the way – hunting down trailer parks, recruiting crew, helping to cast, running the set, keeping me calm, and the endless work she did to help make this film possible. I also want to thank Polly Morgan, our brilliant DP, who worked incredibly hard to make this film beautiful and Reggie Spangler (our brilliant Editor), Greg Nicolett (our amazing Composer), Jonathan Pope Evans for trusting me with his story, and Jaime Becker, our Executive Producer, who threw the most wonderful fantastic fundraiser featuring the amazing Stars of Epic Glam (Thank you!!!) to raise awareness and money for our film. I also want to thank Bela Goldberg, who at the time, was our 5 year old Executive Producer.

And last but not least, I want to thank New FilmmakersLA for showcasing our work and Disarray Magazine for giving me the opportunity to have this interview.

How does it feel to have your film part of the NewFilmmakers Screening at Sunset Gower Studios?

It’s amazing! New FilmmakersLA is such a fabulous organization and works tirelessly to feature new filmmakers in the heart of LA. We shot this film in Los Angeles so it is a great honor to screen at this wonderful festival that is in our hometown and to be able to celebrate with other filmmakers and industry professionals. New FilmmakersLA is an incredible opportunity to receive publicity and attention for our film and it is an honor to be a part of it!

What inspires you?

Everything. I am inspired by images, books, phrases, music, people, family, friends, dreams. I am inspired by snippets of conversation I overhear or images that make me pause throughout my day. I am inspired by stories of people on the outskirts of society, trying desperately to fit in and I am inspired by stories of hope, triumph and change.

Who are your influences and who do you admire?

Some of my favorite filmmakers who are definitely a huge influence on me are David Lynch, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, Emir Kusturica, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Pedro Almodovar, Lynne Ramsay, Jane Campion and Jan Svankmajer. Some of my favorite films which are also an influence are “Harold and Maude,” “The Princess and the Warrior,” and “Ma Vie en Rose.” I am also inspired by a number of playwrights like Sam Shepard, Fernando Arrabal and Maria Irene Fornes, and writers like Toni Morrison and Haruki Murakami. I admire my family, like my mother, who left Iran to create a new life in America, and who would sacrifice the world for us, and my father, who has taught us to always fight for what we believe in. They both move through the world with compassion and understanding.

What lessons have you learned from the industry so far?

It is full of surprises.

If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?

I love Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell and would love to collaborate with them. I would also love to collaborate with Alan Ball, Steven Spielberg or artists Mark Ryden and Camille Rose Garcia.

What is the toughest experience you've ever had to overcome?

In the world of filmmaking, I would say staying positive when it seems like everything is going wrong.

What is the best piece of advice someone has given to you?

In terms of filmmaking, that performance is the most important thing.

What advice would you give to new filmmakers starting out in the industry?

Tell a story you’re really passionate about because you might be telling that story for a long, long time between writing, fundraising, pre-production, shooting, post-production, marketing, publicity and so on! Also, to remember that filmmaking is a collaboration. It takes so many people to tell a story and it’s important to appreciate and recognize how hard everyone works to bring that story to life.

Where can we expect to see you next?

We are currently working on the feature version of Neighbors.

Let our readers know where they can find more information about you and your projects.
twitter: @neighborstheflm

Anything else you'd like to add?

Just that it’s an honor to be screening at New FilmmakersLA!

For more information, visit:

About the Author

Formerly an editor at Demand Media, writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine. Get to know the team of talented contributors.
Questions, comments or suggestions?

Popular posts from this blog

2017 EXXXOTICA Expo Dates and Locations Announced

Riding high off its most successful event to date in Edison, New Jersey, the EXXXOTICA Expo presented by MyFreeCams is already looking forward to 2017 with a trio of events planned around the country. In addition to its longstanding shows in Chicago and New Jersey, the show’s producers are pinning a new city on its map — Denver, Colorado for EXXXOTICA Mile High.

EXXXOTICA’s debut in the Rocky Mountains has been in the works for years, and event organizers couldn’t be more excited to bring the show to Denver. The 2017 show schedule kicks off in grand style with EXXXOTICA Mile High, March 31 through April 2, 2017. The show will be taking place as a full hotel takeover at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.
With nearly 100,000 square feet of exhibition and breakout space, EXXXOTICA Mile High will not only feature hundreds of exhibitors and the top stars in adult, as well as seminars and performers, but the hotel will be transformed into the hottest hotel in the country wi…

CAM4 To Sponsor The Ms. EXXXOTICA 2017 Competition

EXXXOTICA, the nation’s largest event dedicated to love and sex, just announced that webcam portal CAM4 has signed on as a show sponsor for 2017. CAM4 will be sponsoring and presenting one of the expo’s most popular events, as well as one of its newest initiatives for EXXXOTICA Chicago in June and EXXXOTICA New Jersey in November.
Developed as a community with a focus on social networking, CAM4 is much more than a traditional webcam site, and they are now the presenting sponsor of SW!TCH, EXXXOTICA’s LGBT showcase. SW!TCH made its debut at EXXXOTICA New Jersey in 2016 as the show continued its efforts to be completely inclusive. SW!TCH was created as a means for LGBT vendors, talent, and performers to become part of the EXXXOTICA family. SW!TCH will continue to grow in 2017, and with CAM4 as the presenting sponsor, their booth will be the anchor of the showcase that will feature seminars, events, vendors, talent, and broadcasters catering to LGBT attendees.
“CAM4 is extremely excited…

EXXXOTICA 2-17 Hits Chicago June 23rd

EXXXOTICA Chicago, the largest event in the USA dedicated to love and sex, opens its doors for the seventh straight year at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont this weekend and thousands of attendees will be treated to a virtual playground for adults, with over 150 adult stars, a convention floor packed with over 100 exhibitors, and over 20 hours of entertainment on the main stage and in the seminar rooms scheduled.

EXXXOTICA, presented by MyFreeCams, will feature the biggest names in the adult world. Legends, stars on the rise and the hottest cam girls will be appearing. Superstars such as Ron Jeremy, Lisa Ann, Tori Black, Katie Morgan, Alexis Texas, Lexi Belle, Allie Haze, Tanya Tate, Evan Stone, Adriana Chechik, Phoenix Marie, Joanna Angel, Rubberdoll, Briana Banks, Teagan Presley, Alexis Monroe, Adria Rae, Mr. Marcus, Misty Stone, Stoya, Kendra Sunderland, Vicki Chase, Mia Malkova, Jillian Janson, Darcie Dolce, Eva Lovia, Harley Dean, Dani Jensen, Natalia Starr, …

Exxxotica Los Angeles 2011 - Day 2 Gallery


Exxxotica, "the largest event in the U.S.A. dedicated to love and sex," took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on August 26th-28th drawing hundreds of fans of all various ages. From middle aged men to college kids, fans got to meet their favorite adult stars, attend seminars, watch go go dancers on stripper poles and ask their favorite stars questions during the on stage panel. Even, Youtube sensation, the "Sexy Sax Man" made a cameo. If you missed out on the event, don’t fret. We’ve got you covered with our photo gallery.

If you're wondering how Exxxotica measures up to Adultcon, let's just say that this event was like the E3 of adult expos, with an emphasis on females, relationships and love. Let's not forget that bigger celebrities were in attendance here including the legendary Ron Jeremy, Rockstar Phil Varone and Wicked Pictures stars Stormy Daniels, Kirsten Price, Jessica Drake, Alekt…

Summer Survival: Pick the Most Breathable Fabrics

Summer is inching closer, and while we're all psyched for the perpetually warm weather ahead after a tough winter, pretty soon it's inevitable that the heat, humidity and summer sun will leave us feeling, well, less than fresh.

Chrissy Volk, wardrobe consultant for Adahlia Volk has put together a cheat-sheet for navigating through the best, most breatheable fabrics for the season. Who ever looks at clothing "ingredient" listings on the tag - well, this season think of it as your guide to "cool."


COTTON + STRETCH = CUTE BUTT: Cotton jeans are the lightest for summer because they are airy and breathable, however, jeans with a small content of stretch are the most flattering. They will move with your body and it’s movements.BEST DENIM BLENDS: Chrissy suggests denim with a high cotton content, and small synthetic content. A jean with either a 98% cotton/2% lycra or 96 % cotton/4% Lycra fabric, is a good combination. J…