Tatiana von Furstenberg and Francesca Gregorini, the writers and directors of “Tanner Hall,” had organic qualities in mind when they set out to make the film. “We wanted to make an artful movie,” von Furstenberg said. “We didn’t want to condescend to the audience, we didn’t want to talk down to them. This is not a disposable environment; it’s very organic.
Von Furstenberg and Gregorini strove to make their film–the story of a group of friends as they grow up and learn the trials of life in their privileged girls’ school–as timeless as possible. “There are no iPads, trendy hairstyles, no makeup,” von Furstenberg said. The girls’ uniforms, which were made by fashion icon (and von Furstenberg’s mother) Diane von Furstenberg, were also made to be timeless. “We wanted nothing too ornate, [it] had to look good on many girls,” von Furstenberg said. “We wanted it simple.”
This film was the first feature length film for both Gregorini and von Furstenberg. “This was a new experience with crews and contracts,” said Gregorini. “We also were the producers of the film, so we wore many hats.”
“There was a lot of goodwill, creative and collaboration,” said von Furstenberg. “We made a commitment to honor that throughout–the performances, cinematography, costuming, editing.”
The cast, which includes “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”‘s Rooney Mara, Brie Larsen, Amy Ferguson, Georgia King, Tom Everett Scott, Chris Kattan, and Amy Sedaris, all became like family to the writing-directing duo. “We wanted to be inspired,” said von Furstenberg. “We didn’t feel like directors with actors. It was very collaborative. We’re all still really close.”
Gregorini and von Furstenberg hope the film helps young girls realize that it’s okay to be a female.
“I hope that young girls check in on themselves,” said von Furstenberg. “Yeah, you’re going to stray, but you have to live your life, find your moral compass. One thing about the characters is that they all have a relationship with themselves. Our hope was to give each character’s inner strength.”
“There’s no moral judgement here,” said Gregorini. “There’s no good girl or bad girl. And also, we wanted to show that adults don’t necessarily know best.”
For both Gregorini and von Furstenberg, filming “Tanner Hall” was an amazing experience. “The universe came together [for us],” said von Furstenberg, thanking everyone involved in the production.
“Tanner Hall” comes to DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 13.