Caytha Jentis, Filmmaker | Fox Meadow Films
I had the great pleasure of reconnecting with award-winning independent filmmaker, Caytha Jentis. Now living on the Upper West Side, Caytha enjoys her new freedom of city life after spending many years in Ridgewood. We immediately picked up where we left off a couple years ago and enjoyed listening to each other’s new ventures.
During my interview with Caytha, we discussed her most recent film project - a new dramatic comedy series called The Other F Word. The “F Word” in the title stands for forties and fifties – the ages of the four women in the film. The series is about friendships and finding oneself after the kids are grown and entering into this new space called mid-life. Storylines address issues like ageism, sexism, re-entering the workforce, sexuality, dating after divorce/widowhood - and much more. Caytha created characters that women could recognize as themselves (or friends) and easily relate to the storylines – and fans are raving!
Needless to say, Caytha and I had a lot to talk about – and many laughs over coffee. Caytha’s journey from mom to filmmaker will inspire you and leave you feeling fired up and ready to achieve incredible things.
Fun Never Gets Old!
#NOFEAR #NOREGRETS #midlifematters
The most interesting fact about your career is that you started filmmaking in your forties. Did you reinvent yourself or was this a life-long passion that was re-ignited?
It’s something in the middle. In my 20s I worked in the movie business, and when my first child was born I realized that for me, such a demanding 24/7 career did not work, so I closed the door on that chapter of my life. I never imagined I’d be a filmmaker, but when my kids got older I started writing and realized the only way that my stories would come to life was if I did it myself, so I became an accidental filmmaker.
As many women do, you left your career and decided to raise your children full time. Were you prepared for the internal push-pull relationship - the push of the demands of being a full time mom and the pull of your creative writing?
Absolutely not. I was completely blind-sided by the demands of motherhood and the bond that a mother immediately creates with her child. However after a few months as a stay-at-home mom I realized that I still wanted to work and throughout most of kids’ lives I did some sort of part time work. For the first six years I worked in outside sales for a greeting card company. My desire to write again didn’t happen until about ten years later.
Many women feel the emptiness of the career left behind and friends you once knew in that former life. Did you experience that? Was it hard to put your life on pause while others kept moving forward?
We also moved cross country right after the birth of my second child, so I left a lot behind. However, I loved being part of the Ridgewood community and there were so many opportunities for new moms to connect and the demands of motherhood took up so much time that I didn’t really have time to miss or reflect until they were older. It wasn’t hard to put that life on pause as I had a new life but found it hard to get back in.
Was there something specific – like an event or moment – when you knew you needed to honor your inner creative soul? Or was it a gradual yearning to do something more with your life?
When my kids were in middle school and I was no longer fulfilled by the part time work I was doing, I then realized I wanted more but also wanted to be part of my kids lives and reflected on my past life and started to want to write again.
Would you agree that when you are writing, it is the best expression of yourself and your time is spent in total bliss? That you are totally connected to a greater energy that you tap into and feel free?
When it’s working and I’m inspired, yes. I feel like I’m having a party in my head and can become completely consumed by the world of my stories. But when I’m blocked or stuck, it can be a very scary and dark place. That’s why so many writers drink!
We talked a lot about the side hustle of owning a business while raising a family. Can you take our readers through the process from idea to actual film – what does that actually involve and how did you find the time?
I like to say that to make a movie you have to look in the mirror everyday and say ‘what do I need to do today to move a mountain.’ When making my first film, I did try to demystify the process and look at it like a lot of volunteer work mom’s do. It’s just one big event that needs to be planned. I also know that I’m a bit OCD and that does help.
How did you get the actors and actresses for your movies? You have a great cast in all of your films.
I’ve made three features. The first was a romantic comedy called And Then Came Love that starred Vanessa Williams and Earth