Award-Winning Duo Savanna Crasto and Pierce Gordon Set to Take Audiences on an Emotional Journey with ‘Love and Lemon Trees’

Savanna Crasto and Pierce Gordon, the dynamic writer/director duo behind ‘Love and Lemon Trees,’ are gearing up to captivate audiences with their latest film. Produced by The Colour Series and Savanna Crasto, this poignant production promises to tug at heartstrings and provoke profound reflections on the nature of love and grief.

Savanna has already garnered critical acclaim, with her previous work ‘Chasing Lemons’ clinching the prestigious Best Director award at the Cannes World Film Festival. Building on this success, ‘Love and Lemon Trees’ is poised to leave an indelible mark on the international film landscape.

Savanna Crasto, an Australian actress, director, and writer, has established herself as a multifaceted talent with a string of accolades to her name. Her diverse heritage of Danish, Indian, and Portuguese roots infuses her storytelling with a rich tapestry of cultural influences. Notable achievements include multiple awards at the Cannes Indie Cinema Awards and the Cannes World Film Festival, solidifying her reputation as a visionary filmmaker. Crasto’s passion for storytelling led her to found her own production company, The Colour Series, where she has written, produced, and directed an impressive portfolio of films. She recently returned from Los Angeles, where she stayed as a resident at Charlie’s, a program facilitated by Australians in Film. This initiative serves as a vital support system for Australians transitioning to the Los Angeles entertainment industry scene.

Joining forces with Crasto is Pierce Gordon, an actor, writer, and director hailing from Detroit, Michigan. He boasts an impressive repertoire as an actor, writer, and director. Since early 2018, he has graced screens and stages alike, leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. His career highlights include a notable performance in the 2019 production of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,’ where he portrayed the character ‘Nick’ for the Ad Astra theatre company in Brisbane, QLD. His talent was further recognized when he clinched the Best Actor award in the EMERGE! short film section of the Gold Coast Film Festival for his role in ‘The Longing,’ directed by budding filmmaker Maali Albert. Additionally, Gordon’s outstanding performance in the short film ‘Best Man,’ directed by Craig Cauchi, earned him the title of ‘Best Upcoming Actor’ at the Sanctuary Cove Film Festival. In 2021, Gordon marked his feature film debut with a memorable speaking role in the Elvis Biopic, ‘Elvis’, helmed by renowned director Baz Luhrmann. He also showcased his acting prowess on stage in the Anywhere Theatre Festival’s world premiere production of ‘Against the Wall’, where he portrayed the character ‘Leo’. His stellar performance earned him nominations in two different categories at the Queensland Theatre Awards, ultimately culminating in the prestigious Billie Brown Best Emerging Artist award. The beginning of 2022 saw Gordon land a recurring role on the highly anticipated Disney+ series, ‘Nautilus’, slated for release in 2024. He rounded off the year by making his mark as a writer and director with his debut theatre piece, ‘Why Young Men Run at 2 am’, which received widespread acclaim from audiences and critics alike.

‘Love and Lemon Trees’ is a deeply personal project for Crasto and Gordon, exploring the intricate complexities of grief and love. With its compelling narrative and talented creative team, ‘Love and Lemon Trees’ promises to be a thought-provoking exploration of the human experience. Audiences can expect to be moved, challenged, and ultimately inspired by this powerful cinematic journey.

FilmCentral Magazine recently caught up with Savanna to discuss her journey in the industry, and here’s what went down:

Could you please provide our readers with a brief background about yourself and how you started in the industry?

I got started in the industry in 2020 when I approached a friend to film a feature, Tender Napalm, an adaptation of Philip Ridley’s play. However, prior to that, I was part of a directorial team that directed US/THEM for the Gold Coast Drama Festival, which ended up winning Best Play in 2018.

 What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Knowing when to stop. I think writing, producing, directing, and acting are all very addictive, and at least personally, I get into the habit of going from production to production. As wonderful and fulfilling as it is, a part of yourself goes into making a film, whether you’re the writer, director, producer, or actor, and seeing as though I do all four; I find that I end up giving so much of myself that when I stop, I don’t have much more to give anything else.

My artistic process is very much all in, obsessive in some nature. I get very drawn into what I’m doing, and I have found that because of the way that I work, it can be difficult to be patient with others who don’t work that way. I don’t ever view a film as just a film; it’s an expression of so many thoughts, moments, and feelings that instead of it being of service to me and my love for art, I become of service to it. While I don’t want that ever to change, it does make the process slightly more difficult.

 Do you try to be more original or deliver to viewers what they want?

I don’t think I have ever felt at peace with making a film that gives viewers what they want; I’m more interested in exploring things. Sometimes, it’s what viewers want, and most times, it’s not, but in both stances, it’s always what is truthful to the world that the film aims to capture; it’s always truthful to what I resonate with.

I’m very interested in cross-cultural elements when it comes to film. Taking aspects of Italian neorealism, the French new wave, Danish cinema, a little sprinkle of Hollywood here and there, and theatre, I definitely try more to fuse these rather than stick to one form.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be that “people don’t need to say you have a right to your voice for you to have a right to your voice.”

What is your directing Kryptonite?

I love a little ‘fun it takes.’ (But I’d use a different F word.) It usually ends well, but I can also get distracted by how much I love seeing actors play in a scene and go in a completely different direction.

What was the best money you ever spent as a director?

My films. Every cent that I’ve ever spent on any film is the best money I’ve ever spent.

What was an early experience where you learned that films had power?

The first experience where I learned that films could change the world is a seemingly innocent and simple one. I remember watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in grade four (I didn’t watch them sequentially, which was actually kinda cool), and I wanted to be a witch with a cat that went to Hogwarts. It became my dream of who I wanted to be. While that was also the moment I tribute to my wanting to be an actor, looking back, it showed me that a singular film that was made across the world at a different time had the potential to form my beliefs and wants.  There was nothing I could draw focus on that formed that want; all I know is that after watching that film, my idea of myself, what I valued, and who I wanted to be shifted. I also dedicate it to my value of knowledge, friendship, loyalty, and intelligence as the most attractive qualities people can have.

How many finished and half-finished books do you have?

Well… I don’t think I can give a number to how many books I’ve half finished, and definitely not to how many books I have finished. I’m a big reader and like to read plays, fiction, non-fiction, articles, newspapers, and recipes. I intend to have a library in my house, not just because I want one, but because I’ll need one to fit all my books.

Can you tell us more about your latest film?

My latest film, Love and Lemon Trees is one of the great loves of my life. That film holds so much of me and brings me so much pain and joy that I would create a world just for it, a world protected by a glass egg with waterfalls, horses, and maybe some macarons. I’m interested in grief and its connection to love, and because the film dives so deeply into the mind of grief, I find it painfully releasing in so many ways.

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

Don’t be stupid, just make a film, then do another one and do better.

What advice would you give to a newbie director who wants to make it in the industry?

Don’t be stupid, just make a film, then do another one and do better.

What are your future plans?

I’m moving to Paris for a bit at the end of 2024 after we finish filming Contingent (my next feature). Then, I’ll be heading back to Los Angeles to live. My plan is to go between L. A and the Gold Coast because I’d like to continue making films here.