Katharine Leis first caught the acting bug as a teenager. “I used to be really shy as a little kid,” she explains. “I discovered in high school that shyness is often mistaken for arrogance.” After taking courses in public speaking and acting in college, Leis came out of her shell and started landing some roles in small independent films like the horror epic “Blackout” (FearFilm) and a comedy called “Stealing God” (Springfield Films). But as time went on, Leis realized that she also wanted to flex her muscles as a writer and director. And that was the genesis of her debut as an indie auteur with the comedy “There’s a Caterpillar in My Bok Choy.”
She set about casting “…Bok Choy” by posting notices on several websites and going through the hundreds of headshots that were submitted. Leis eventually assembled a cast of over thirty actors for the project as well as a crew. Shot on weekends over a six-month period in 2002, the film was at least partially inspired by Leis’ previous forays into the indie filmmaking world and the technical flubs that riddle many productions. After the film had been shot, Leis lacked the money to use professional editing facilities, so she splurged on a Power Mac, Final Cut Pro 3 (plus a copy of “Final Cut Pro 3 for Dummies”) and got down to business.
The friendly, self-effacing Floridian brings an air of goodwill to the whole venture with the unusually selfless intention of splitting whatever profits are generated by “…Bok Choy” with the film’s participants. This seemed like a good time to ask Leis about what it took to get her film made, as well as her work in other low budget flicks.
Get the interview in part two of BOK CHOY ON A BUDGET>>>