Five Questions With Filmmaker Abigail Sharon

RUDY-+-NEAL-GO-FISHING---webAbigail Sharon has been telling stories her whole life and thinks of herself as fortunate to make a living doing just that. her work over the past fifteen years- including an Emmy Award winning program- includes a national commercial campaign, National Geographic Channel, PBS, Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV, and VOA.

Abigail Sharon’s film, Rudy and Neil Go Fishing, is playing at the 2015 GI Film Festival.

Where are you from and what is your film background?

I was born in DC and my love for film predates my first words. My first memory is of the drive-in in 1981 when I was just two, sitting in the family station wagon, watching ‘Caveman.’ The image is as clear to me now as it was then; dinosaurs chasing cavemen across the screen! My love for the movies was born and the joy they give me has not faded.

I found in college that I was particularly adept and entertaining when re-telling true events. When studying at McGill University, a friend encouraged me to sign up for a seminar simply titled “Documentary Film.” After watching that first doc in class, I made it my business to figure out a way to make one. Immediately after graduating college, I started my production career at National Geographic Television & Film. I feel privileged to have witnessed and shared the stories of so many fascinating people: female inmates in maximum security prison; Colombian drug-traffickers in home-made submarines and the undercover DEA. agents who pursue them; a young man in love with his balloons.

Who are your biggest influences in film and why?

My biggest influences in documentary film are the folks I worked with back at National Geographic Television & Film in the early 2000s. It was a special moment in time that shaped the way I approach telling stories. We were still getting cans of film in when I started working! There was a unique blend of talent with deep reverence for storytelling while maintaining strong integrity to tell true stories. My colleagues from that era have gone on to win the highest accolades in film and journalism and it was a privilege to watch them work. I met my amazing “Rudy + Neal Go Fishing” team from this experience- Pablo Durana and Cindy D’Agostino- and continue to learn and try to improve my craft from these incredible talents.

What was the hardest part about getting this film made?

I wish this were a more original answer, but it would have to be funding. We’re fortunate to live in an age where there’s such a thing as crowd-funding. We ran a successful Kickstarter campaign and were humbled by the amazing turnout. It became clear that people believe in this subject matter and that it’s important to get Rudy and Neal’s story out there.

What do you want viewers to take away with them after watching your film?

I’d like viewers to feel that they can relate to PTSD– it’s not just another news story. Also, the notion that one person can make a difference is a subtle theme throughout the film. Neal showcases the notion that all of us have natural talents and hobbies that we can use to help others.

What is a fun fact about you that would surprise people?

I don’t know how to fish.

Rudy and Neil Go Fishing, directed by Abigail Sharon’s film, is playing at Angelika on May 24, 2015. Click here for tickets.