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Emily Ruhl: Crafting Cinematic Dreams and Breaking Boundaries

FilmmakerLife Magazine Presents

Within the ever-evolving landscape of filmmaking, there are luminaries who shine not only in front of the camera but also behind the scenes, weaving tales that captivate our hearts and challenge the status quo of storytelling. Emily Ruhl, a multi-talented artist and filmmaker, is one such luminary whose journey in the entertainment industry has been nothing short of extraordinary. From the runway to the director’s chair, Emily’s career has been a symphony of creativity, resilience, and innovation.

1. Emily, your journey in the entertainment industry has taken you from modeling to acting, producing, writing, and directing. What inspired you to explore these diverse creative roles, and how do they complement each other in your career?

My journey in the entertainment industry has been quite an exciting and diverse one. It all began with modeling, where I found a way to express myself through imagery and fashion. As I continued down this path, I became increasingly drawn to the world of storytelling and creative expression. That’s what led me to explore acting, producing, writing, and directing.

Acting allowed me to delve deeper into the characters and narratives that I found so fascinating. It’s a medium that lets me immerse myself in different roles and connect with audiences on an emotional level. I’ve always been intrigued by the power of storytelling, and acting was a natural progression for me to explore that further.

Producing, on the other hand, gave me the opportunity to be more involved in the creative process from start to finish. It allowed me to bring stories to life in a way that aligned with my vision. It’s a role that has taught me a lot about the behind-the-scenes aspects of the industry and the importance of effective project management.

Writing and directing came into play as extensions of my passion for storytelling. Writing allows me to craft narratives and characters from scratch, which is incredibly fulfilling. And directing allows me to guide the entire production, working closely with the cast and crew to bring a project to life. It’s a role that requires strong communication skills and a deep understanding of the technical aspects of filmmaking.

What’s truly exciting about these diverse roles is how they complement each other. Modeling taught me how to use my body and expressions to convey emotions, which has been invaluable in my acting and directing endeavors. Producing has given me a broader perspective on the industry and helped me make informed creative decisions. Writing has honed my ability to create compelling stories, while directing has improved my overall understanding of the filmmaking process.

Each role has added a unique dimension to my creative toolbox, enabling me to approach projects from multiple angles and offer a distinct perspective. It’s a continuous learning process, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to have the opportunity to express myself and connect with audiences through these various creative outlets.

2. “BLUE MOON” received critical acclaim and won numerous awards at film festivals worldwide. Can you share a pivotal moment or challenge you faced while making the film, and how did it shape your approach to filmmaking?

BLUE MOON” is indeed a project that holds a special place in my heart, and I’m thrilled that it received critical acclaim and garnered awards at film festivals around the world. One pivotal moment that stands out for me during the making of the film was the challenge of capturing a particularly emotionally charged scene.

There was a crucial scene in “BLUE MOON” where both characters had to convey intense vulnerability and intimacy in a sex scene. It was a deeply emotional and raw moment that required a lot from me as a director. The challenge was in finding the right balance between portraying the character’s emotions authentically while maintaining the overall tone and narrative of the film.

This experience taught me the importance of collaboration and trust between a director, the cast, and the crew. It was a moment where we all came together, discussed our vision for the scene, and worked tirelessly to create an environment where the actors felt safe to explore the depths of their character’s emotions. It was a true team effort.

3. As a woman filmmaker, you’ve made a significant impact with your work. What advice would you give to aspiring female filmmakers who are striving to break barriers in the industry?

To aspiring female filmmakers who are eager to break barriers in the industry, I would offer the following advice:

  • Believe in Yourself: First and foremost, have confidence in your abilities and your unique perspective as a woman filmmaker. Trust your creative instincts and don’t be afraid to take risks. Your voice is valuable, and it can bring fresh and essential stories to the screen.
  • Build a Support System: Surround yourself with a supportive network of fellow filmmakers, mentors, and allies who believe in your vision. Seek out opportunities to connect with other women in the industry, as they can offer guidance, encouragement, and valuable insights.
  • Never Stop Learning: The film industry is constantly evolving, so it’s crucial to stay informed and continually develop your skills. Attend workshops, film festivals, and seminars to expand your knowledge and network with industry professionals.

Remember that you are not alone on this path, and your determination and creativity have the power to inspire others and pave the way for more women to excel in the world of filmmaking. Keep pushing boundaries and telling the stories that matter to you, as they have the potential to change hearts and minds around the world.

4. Your production company, Public School Pictures, has been involved in various film projects. Could you tell us about a particular project that you’re exceptionally proud of and why it holds a special place in your heart?

One of the projects produced by Public School Pictures that I’m exceptionally proud of is artist-filmmaker Georden West’s debut feature, “Playland.”

Playland” is a truly unique and expressive film that takes viewers on a journey into the atemporal night of the renowned Playland Café. This film is a celebration of the queer community, and it beautifully weaves together personal anecdotes and stories from the employees and patrons who made the Playland Café their haunt.

What makes “Playland” so special to me is its commitment to showcasing the LGBTQ+ community’s vibrant history and culture. It’s a celebration of diversity, resilience, and the sense of belonging that can be found in places like the Playland Café. Georden West’s artistic vision and storytelling approach are nothing short of remarkable. The film is an expressionist and very queer bricolage, which means it’s a collage of diverse elements that come together to create something truly unique.

Through “Playland,” we were able to capture the essence of a space that has been a haven for many, and in doing so, we shed light on the importance of such spaces in our communities. It’s a project that allows us to reflect on our shared experiences and connect with the stories of those who have been a part of the history of the Playland Café.

As an executive producer, being a part of “Playland” was a deeply rewarding experience. It allowed me to contribute to the preservation of LGBTQ+ history and culture while showcasing the immense talent and creativity of Georden West as an artist-filmmaker. This project represents the kind of storytelling that Public School Pictures is passionate about—stories that are authentic, diverse, and have the power to resonate with audiences on a profound level.

Playland” has not only been a cinematic achievement but also a celebration of community, identity, and the power of art to bring people together. It’s a project that I’m incredibly proud of, and I hope it continues to inspire and connect with audiences for years to come.

5. “13th Stepping” is your upcoming TV series where you both write and star. Can you give us a sneak peek into the series and share what inspired you to create this project?

13th Stepping” is a series that delves into the journey of a young actress who finds herself at a crossroads, trying to achieve sobriety after hitting rock bottom. The backdrop for this story is an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) group in New York City, where she seeks support and guidance on her path to recovery. The series loosely draws upon my own teenage years. It’s a narrative that explores themes of addiction, recovery, self-discovery, and the power of community.

What inspired me to create this project was the desire to shed light on the often tumultuous and deeply personal journey of recovery. Addiction is a topic that touches the lives of so many, and it’s something that needs to be addressed with empathy and understanding. Through “13th Stepping,” I wanted to explore the challenges, setbacks, and ultimately the triumphs that come with striving for sobriety.

Additionally, I felt it was essential to highlight the role of support groups and the strength that can be found in community when facing such struggles. The series aims to capture the essence of New York City, its diversity, and the unique stories that unfold within its vibrant neighborhoods.

As both the writer and star of “13th Stepping,” I’ve had the privilege of pouring my own experiences and emotions into the script and my character. It’s a project that has allowed me to connect with the material on a deeply personal level, and I hope that authenticity shines through in the storytelling.

Ultimately, “13th Stepping” is a project that I’m incredibly passionate about, and I believe it has the potential to resonate with a wide audience by touching on themes that are both relatable and important. It’s a journey of self-discovery and redemption, and I can’t wait to share it with viewers when it comes to life on screen.

6. Public School Pictures not only produces films but also hosts a podcast. What are some memorable conversations or insights you’ve gained from your podcast guests on the Public School Pictures Podcast that have influenced your filmmaking perspective?

The Public School Pictures Podcast has been an incredible platform for engaging in thought-provoking conversations with a wide range of guests from the world of film and beyond. These conversations have offered valuable insights that have influenced my filmmaking perspective in various ways. Here are a few memorable conversations and insights:

  • Diverse Perspectives: One of the most impactful aspects of the podcast has been the opportunity to speak with individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences within the film industry. Hearing their stories and perspectives has reinforced the importance of inclusivity and representation in storytelling. It has reminded me of the richness that comes from embracing different voices and viewpoints in filmmaking.
  • The Creative Process: Many of our podcast guests have shared their creative processes and the unique approaches they take to storytelling. These insights have encouraged me to be more open and flexible in my own creative process. I’ve learned that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to filmmaking, and it’s essential to find what works best for each project.
  • Challenges and Resilience: Filmmaking often comes with its fair share of challenges and setbacks. Hearing our guests’ stories of overcoming obstacles and persevering in the face of adversity has been incredibly inspiring. It’s a reminder that resilience and determination are key qualities for anyone in the industry.

Overall, the Public School Pictures Podcast has been a valuable source of inspiration and learning for me as a filmmaker. It has expanded my horizons, challenged my perspectives, and reinforced my belief in the transformative power of storytelling. These conversations continue to shape my approach to filmmaking, reminding me of the importance of authenticity, diversity, and the continuous pursuit of excellence in the craft.

7. Your company introduced the BACK TO SCHOOL non-profit program to support the next generation of filmmakers. Could you share your hopes for the program?

My hopes for the BACK TO SCHOOL  program are quite ambitious yet deeply meaningful. Firstly, I hope that the program will provide aspiring filmmakers with access to valuable resources, mentorship, and opportunities that they might not have had otherwise. It’s all about leveling the playing field and ensuring that talented individuals, regardless of their background, have the chance to pursue their filmmaking dreams.

I also hope that the program will foster a sense of community and collaboration among young filmmakers. The film industry can be competitive and challenging to break into, so having a support system and a network of peers is invaluable. Through BACK TO SCHOOL, I hope to create a space where emerging talents can connect, learn from each other, and grow together.

Furthermore, I hope that the program will encourage diversity and inclusivity in the film industry. It’s crucial that we empower individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to share their stories and perspectives. By doing so, we enrich the cinematic landscape and ensure that a wider range of voices is heard and celebrated in filmmaking.

Ultimately, my greatest hope for the BACK TO SCHOOL program is to see the filmmakers it supports go on to create impactful, thought-provoking, and inspiring work. I hope to see their films touch hearts, challenge minds, and contribute to the cultural conversation. It’s about nurturing talent and helping them find their unique voices as storytellers.

The BACK TO SCHOOL program aims to provide opportunities, foster community, promote diversity, and ultimately empower the next generation of filmmakers to make their mark on the industry and the world through their storytelling. I believe in the power of mentorship and support, and I’m excited to see the program grow and make a positive impact in the lives of emerging talents.

8. “Pretty Sad” is an upcoming project you’re executive producing and starring in. Could you tell us more about this film and what inspired you to create the script? What role do you believe executive producers play in shaping the success of a film? How is that different from when you are also the star of the same project?

The inspiration for “Pretty Sad” came from a desire to explore the complexities of human emotions and relationships. It’s a story that delves into the intricacies of love, loss, and self-discovery. The script was crafted to challenge conventional narratives and offer a more nuanced and authentic portrayal of the emotional rollercoaster that life can be.

As for the role of executive producers, they play a crucial part in shaping the success of a film. They are responsible for overseeing the project from a business and logistical perspective, ensuring that it stays on budget and on schedule. They also make key creative decisions, such as selecting the director, supporting the vision of the project, and securing financing.

When I’m also the star of the project, the role of executive producer takes on an even more personal dimension. It allows me to have a more hands-on approach to the creative process, from script development to casting decisions. I can bring my vision for the character and the story to the forefront and work closely with the director and the creative team to ensure that the project aligns with my artistic goals.

Additionally, as an executive producer and a star, I have a unique opportunity to influence the overall tone and direction of the film. I can contribute insights and ideas based on my understanding of the character and the story, which can be particularly valuable in ensuring that the project resonates with audiences on a deep emotional level.

Of course, there are also challenges when taking on both roles. Balancing the demands of acting and executive producing can be intense, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. It allows for a more holistic and personal investment in the project, which, in turn, can lead to a more authentic and compelling final product.

In essence, “Pretty Sad” is a project that allows me to fully immerse myself in the creative process, both as an actor and as an executive producer. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the role that individuals like myself can play in shaping the success and impact of a film. I’m excited to see how this project unfolds and how it resonates with audiences when it’s brought to life on screen.

9. As a multi-talented professional, how do you manage your time and creative energy across various roles, from directing to podcast hosting to entrepreneurship? Do you have any productivity tips for fellow filmmakers and creatives looking to balance multiple responsibilities effectively?

Balancing multiple responsibilities across various roles can be quite challenging, but it’s also incredibly fulfilling. Here are some productivity tips I’ve found helpful as a multi-talented professional in the film industry:

  • Prioritize and Plan: Start by identifying your most important tasks and projects. What needs your immediate attention, and what can be scheduled for later? Create a to-do list or use a project management tool to keep track of your tasks.
  • Set Clear Goals: Define your goals for each role or project. Having clear objectives will help you stay focused and motivated. Break these goals down into actionable steps to make them more manageable.
  • Time Management: Allocate specific time blocks for each role or responsibility. For example, you might dedicate mornings to directing and afternoons to podcast hosting. Stick to your schedule as much as possible to ensure you give each role the attention it deserves.

Remember that finding the right balance between your various roles and responsibilities is an ongoing process. It may require some trial and error to discover what works best for you. Stay adaptable, be patient with yourself, and celebrate your successes along the way. Balancing multiple roles can be challenging, but it also offers the opportunity for immense creativity and personal growth.

10. Thanks for being with us today, Emily. Your journey and aspirations as a filmmaker and entrepreneur are truly inspiring. it has been a great pleasure having you as a guest for this FilmmakerLife Interview. Would you like to dedicate these recent wins to someone in particular? 

I’d like to dedicate these recent wins to the team at Public School Pictures. I couldn’t do this without them.

13th Stepping Trailer

– Connect with Emily Ruhl –
Blue Moon the short
Public School Pictures


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