Zuro Gravity Pictures stands as a distinctive indie film production powerhouse on a mission to challenge Hollywood's gravitational pull.

Helmed by the visionary filmmaker Diana Zuros, this company is unwaveringly committed to crafting cinematic projects imbued with depth and significance. Defying the confines of Hollywood's entrenched favoritism and nepotism, Zuro Gravity Pictures is at the vanguard of change.

Diana Zuros is presently introducing her magnum opus, Since August, a feature film that has been meticulously nurtured over 12 years.

We sat down with her to chronicle this experience.

SINCE AUGUST| Official HD Trailer (2023) | DRAMA | Film Threat Trailerswww.youtube.com

Editor's Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

No Film School: Where did this journey begin?

Diana Zuros: It's told in ASL with English subtitles and no spoken dialogue, with both deaf and hearing actors. Since August has been a profound creative journey for me, one that began in 2011 with a minimal budget and a dream to bring a unique story to life.

It all started when I lived in an apartment building overlooking my neighbor's apartment in Hollywood, imagine peering into someone's life through your kitchen window, unseen, unnoticed. The voyeuristic experience fascinated me and ignited a story idea, I realized I could craft a compelling story if the person observed was deaf and the observer knew how to sign so she could understand conversations seen through the window. From there, the script began to flow, and the journey began.

I met Sabina Akhmedova, the lead actress, in 2010 doing a small gig testing my newly purchased Canon DSLR camera and I was inspired by her work. I wrote the script with her in mind and she agreed to be a part of the project, even though we had limited funds.

For the role of Vedette, who is deaf in the script, I was determined to cast a deaf actress for inclusion and authenticity. I reached out to the deaf community and was fortunate enough to find Antoinette Abbamonte, an incredibly talented actress who happens to be deaf.

Poster for 'Since August''Since August'Credit: Zuro Gravity Films

NFS: What were some obstacles making this film?

Zuros: They were numerous. Firstly, I had very limited financing right from the beginning, which meant we had to work with a shoestring budget. Both the cast and crew worked pro bono, with the majority of our expenses going to basic needs like gas and food. We also had to wear multiple hats during production, serving as assistant directors, assistant camera, PAs, craft services, make up and fake tattoo artists and more. Initially, I wanted to complete the production within 3-4 weeks, but due to budget constraints and accommodating the actors' schedules, it stretched over 8 months. We often shot with a very small crew Dogme 95 style, consisting of just 2 people. Despite the slow pace, everyone involved was committed to the project till the very end.

NFS: How did you approach working with the deaf actors in your film?

Zuros: I was fortunate to have Antoinette Abbamonte on board, whose intuition is so incredibly keen that she understands my thought process even before I'm able to verbalize using spoken language. We started out the production with the ASL interpreter on board but ended up communicating very easily without the need for one, which made the whole process a lot smoother and more authentic, plus I learned some ASL during production, which helped and also Antoinette can read lips, so the communication between us was very effortless. We also had Rebecca Rodick helping with interpreting in the larger scenes with extras who were deaf, Rebecca is hard of hearing and speaks fluent English and ASL.

'Since August' movie poster'Since August'Credit: Zuro Gravity Films

NFS: Why did post-production take so long to complete?

Zuros: The constraints of a minimal budget meant resourcefulness was the key, so I became a "jack-of-all-trades" during pre, production, and post-production, in the end the whole thing turning into a very lengthy process. I had to learn editing using Adobe Premiere Pro, I wanted to make sure that I had a cohesive and interesting story to work with before I went ahead and found a professional editor to help me edit the final version, so it ended up taking me about 2 years to make the first cut. After a long search I finally found my awesome editor Bryan Colvin in 2015, who is amazing at sound as well, which was very crucial for this project, since I wasn't able to record location sound during production due to low budget. Bryan and I had to re-create sound design from scratch at his loft. It was a labor-intensive process that lasted for several years, on and off.

NFS: Why self-distribute?

Zuros: Self-distribution was a strategic choice. I've been working on this project for over 12 years, and it's a labor of love. Rather than conforming to the corporate nature and my personal distrust of the current distribution landscape, I decided to take control of things and self-distribute it, even though deep down I know it's a huge gamble. It is a bold move for sure, but one I hope will pay off so I can repay the kindness of everyone who made this film a reality.

A still from 'Since August''Since August'Credit: Zuro Gravity Films

NFS: What message do you hope Since August conveys to audiences?

Zuros: I think Since August is a testament to the power of genuine storytelling and a celebration of unity in diversity. It's a story of healing and redemption that showcases the emotional connections forged through visual storytelling using the power of silence. I hope it resonates with viewers, touching their hearts and inspiring them to embrace their own destiny. I'd like to invite everyone to join me on this gravity-defying journey with Zuro Gravity Pictures, where I challenge the conventional norms of the industry. As the landscape of filmmaking evolves, I stand for inclusion, diversity, and democratization of the art form. Together, we can redefine the way stories are told and experienced today and many more years to come.

A still from 'Since August''Since August'Credit: Zuro Gravity Films

Summing It All Up

Diana Zuros strives to bridge the cultural chasms, conceiving films that not only unite but also ignite inspiration. More than just an upheaval in the realm of cinema, her endeavor serves to democratize filmmaking itself. In a groundbreaking move, she offers films at no cost, fostering a new landscape of accessibility and opportunity.

The allure of Zuro Gravity Pictures lies in its ability to strip Hollywood of its ponderous influence, allowing a weightless exploration of narratives, it's a realm where Hollywood's gravitational shackles are shed for good.

For additional information and an opportunity to experience the movie firsthand, visit the official website below and follow on social media: https://zurogravitypictures.com/

IG/FB: @sinceaugustmovie

Twitter: @august_since

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@Zuro.Gravity.Pictures

Email: ZuroGravityPictures@gmail.com