Eve Symington '06 is a director, producer, and writer. After making her first movies in the backyard at age 11, Evie is thrilled that her first feature film has just been released by XYZ Films. Brut Force is a twisty wine country thriller starring her sister Lelia Symington ’10, and comes recommended by the New York Times. You can watch Brut Force on Tubi.
Could you tell us a little about your time at GFA? When was your interest in film sparked and how was it encouraged?
I attended GFA from fourth grade until I graduated from high school in 2006, so I truly grew up on the GFA campus. GFA taught me so much; I learned critical thinking, time management, and a lifelong love of learning and intellectual exploration. One of my first teachers at GFA was the legendary 4th-grade teacher Mrs. Hiller, who both sparked and encouraged my love of reading. I had so many great teachers over the years, but I particularly want to note the following: high school English teacher Mrs. Schwartz, whose ocean-deep analysis of some of my still-favorite books forever changed me. Theater maestro Mr. Stout pushed me to be a better, more intuitive, and braver performer. Mr. Campbell, whose European History class gave me a global perspective that I carried to future studies in France (on the SYA program), Senegal, and Singapore. And high school biology teacher Mr. Conlan taught me that I can do hard things (like dissecting cats).
Do you have any advice for current GFA students who might be interested in film?
Filmmaking is as tough as it is rewarding; you really have to carve out a space for yourself in a highly competitive industry. I found it helpful as a filmmaker (and a person!) to not exclusively study film - I made sure to travel, read, and absorb as much as I could during my studies and beyond. My film education first at Columbia University and then at New York University’s Tisch program in Singapore were challenging and rewarding, but one of the most important aspects was finding my peer collaborators - the people you want to make movies with. My last piece of advice: network network network.
Your sister Lelia Symington ’10 is in the film and your brother Jim Symington ’13 was involved as well. How was it working with your siblings?
My sister Lelia and I have been making movies together ever since we were little kids. Her early passion for acting fit perfectly with mine for directing. I wrote my feature film Brut Force for Lelia to star in, fulfilling a lifelong dream for us. Directing her was truly a wonderful experience. For my first feature film, it was very helpful to have a lead actress with whom I have a shorthand and an “emotion vocabulary.” I also want to shout out my very talented brother, Jim Symington ’13, also a GFA alum, who wrote the original songs in the film. A true family project! Lelia is currently hard at work in Los Angeles; the mystery and thrill themes continue as Lelia has two more films coming out this summer where she plays leading roles: Bury Me Twice, premiering at the Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles June 10, and Lifetime movie Deadly Suspicion out June 19. You can also hear her as the lead in the new iHeart radio podcast Wheel Woman currently number 1 for narrative podcasts!