Courtney Baxter, the producer and one of the stars of “Chasing Yesterday,” believes there are a lot of things that work in this independent film. The screenplay by writer/director Joe Pernice touches on many issues that the actress felt were relevant and very, very real.
“We have the very timely issue of addiction to prescription pills,” Baxter said when reached by phone for an interview. “I believe right now, and in my experience, it is the most detrimental to kids my age, and the most readily available. I really think it was nice that we were able to address that.”
The film, which recently premiered at the 2015 Newport Beach Film Festival, follows a former track star who feels washed-up in his twenties. Baxter points out that lots of kids deal with scholastic stresses that are not the same as they were twenty years ago.
“There’s a lot of differences with parents and kids not necessarily being able to relate to the amount of extreme stress that we are put under really at these young ages. Our workload with these evolving technologies,” she said.
In many ways, she added, young people feel the pressure to get good grades and high scores on college placement examinations.
“You are taught that this is that serious, this is make it or break it. It’s easy to feel a little lost, and in ‘Chasing Yesterday,’ Junior’s [downfall] is triggered by the loss of his girlfriend. That’s another thing that kids have to deal with in their childhood or their youth or in college. Everybody has to deal with loss at some time. It is very relevant,” Baxter said.
Wearing multiple hats for “Chasing Yesterday”
Besides playing a lead role, the actress also produced “Chasing Yesterday.” She said that she’s known writer/director Joe Pernice for years and years: “We’d been talking about doing a film together for a long time. The story was all Joe, and it was really great to kind of be there for the process of him having this idea and evolving it into a script. And then shooting it, and now we have a movie.”
The challenge of wearing multiple hats on the film came on the set. Baxter pointed out it’s not really so bad in pre-production and post-production.
“When you are in pre-production, you can do some character work that you can develop out with the director. But it’s not as consuming as when you are on-set,” she explained. “Pre-production is when as a producer, I am putting everything together: we hire our cast, find our locations, hire our crew, we raise our budget and all that kind of stuff.”
Baxter said it’s common, especially on lower-budget projects, for people to wear many hats and work in different departments. As an actress, though, that also means not going home right after shooting stops.
“Definitely you lose a couple hours of sleep,” she said.