Director Brin Hill Talks About Joss Whedon’s “In Your Eyes”

In Your Eyes held it premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Fest and fortunately for viewers became immediately available to stream thereafter. This intimate romantic comedy was directed by Brin Hill working from a script from none other than The Avengers’ Joss Whedon. Hill attended the festival in New York and sat down with me to discuss this unique, genre-blending story.

The film stars Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl David as two complete strangers, Rebecca and Dylan, who find themselves beginning to literally see out each other’s eyes. The unexplained connection—they can hear eachother as well— bonds the pair who use it to help each other navigate trying times in their respective lives. Casting the lead couple, Hill said, came about from discussions with producers and Whedon.         

“Joss really loved [Kazan] in this movie that he called ‘Spoledy Girl’ [2009’s The Exploding Girl] and he thought that she was a really inspired choice and Kai [Cole, co-founder of Bellwether Pictures ] loved her in that movie and Michael loved her in that movie and I loved her in all her movies. And you know she’s different, she’s not what you would normally think in the genre of like a love story, so that was really inspiring. And what I like about her was she’s quirky, you know, she brings a lot of range to her stuff so that was exciting.” As for Michael Stahl-David, Hill said “he just came in auditioned and I was like this is the guy…[he] was just charismatic and he just got it. He was just great in the read.”

The mysterious connection between Rebecca and Dylan manifests itself in the film as superimposed imagery in their shared vision, a decision Hill called intentionally “low-fi” adding “I wanted them to feel like an old bolex camera like when I read it I was like ‘Oh you shoot it once and then you roll the camera through and then you shoot it again’ and I wanted these two images on top of eachother. That was how I saw it…I tried to embrace it like something that was really happening to them.”

The result of the distant connection in the film is that Kazan and Stahl-David don’t actually share much screentime together. However to keep their relationship feeling natural, Hill had both the actors on set. “They both had to be there run-of-show so when we shot Zoe’s side in New Hampshire, [Michael] was there…They didn’t want to look at each other necessarily but he would be there. I mean like literally. Like I would have him under the desk. And so the idea was to build that chemistry and build that emotion between them and I think it worked.”

Although there’s a sci-fi conceit at the center of the film, Hill and Whedon didn’t trouble themselves too much with the exposition as to why or how the Rebecca-Dylan connection is established.  “They almost manifested it for themselves when they needed it” Hill said of the conclusion of the story. “I said to Joss, you know, to me what’s most important is that these people need this connection…they need this connection in this moment in their lives and that’s why it’s happening. And it doesn’t need explanation beyond that. It’s just like these people, when they need it, it shows up in their life and they need to find each other. And if they can find each other, they can break free. And it goes under that whole thing of sort of what Joss is dealing with in this movie —and all his movies sort of—is loner heroes that have to figure out a way to band together to overcome adversity. And eventually hopefully find their fate or their destiny…You can’t go it alone.” When asked if Hill would ever seek this particular brand of connection with another person given the choice, he wasn’t sure “I never asked that. You know, it’s a mixed bag I bet.”

Speaking of Whedon’s other work, while filming Avengers he went and made the lovely lower budget Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing. I asked Hill if doing that and then scripting In Your Eyes was for Whedon to avoid being pidgeonholed as the big sci-fi director.

“I think so.  I think there’s a little bit of, I mean the notion with [Bellwether] I think, to some degree, was just trying to do stuff differently and kind of trying to put stuff out there that was just different. And in a weird way experimental. I mean I know it’s not an ‘Experimental Film’ but it’s like we’re trying an experiment…Even in how they’re distributing it.”

Of the distribution, which was announced by Whedon during TribecaHill was glad, saying  “It’s exciting to me. I like the idea of trying to get it out there to as many people as possible. I mean I’ve made stuff that’s been seen by a lot of people and I’ve made stuff that nobody’s seen yet and stuff that got released widely that not that many people saw. So for me, like casting the widest net with indie film is really exciting. We all independently have had different experiences with different sort of release strategies. Obviously this is sort of an extension of what they did with Dr. Horrible and you know, Much Ado had its own version. I think it services the film really well because I feel like it’s a fun sort of infectious movie. And I feel like people being able to consume it however they want to consume it is really kind of interesting to me.”

In Your Eyes, as noted above, is now available to stream online.

Joss Whedon and Kai Cole’s “In Your Eyes” Available Now on Vimeo on Demand


Whedon makes surprise post-screening announcement.

Film is now available at, powered exclusively
by the Vimeo On Demand platform.

NEW YORK, NY (April 21, 2014) – At the Tribeca Film Festival last night, Joss Whedon and Kai Cole’s Bellwether Pictures made an unexpected move with its latest feature, IN YOUR EYES, giving instant access directly to fans around the world with a digital release immediately following its world premiere at the Festival. Whedon announced the plan in a surprise post-screening video message:

IN YOUR EYES is available now as a $5.00 digital rental on the film’s website: The release is being powered by the Vimeo On Demand platform and has been translated into Spanish, German, Portuguese, French, and Japanese for the worldwide release.

Bellwether Pictures, founded by Joss Whedon and Kai Cole, is a micro-studio committed to creating quality independent films and utilizing modern tools of distribution to bring these titles directly to their audience.

The company’s first film was Whedon’s contemporized Much Ado About Nothing. Their newest project, IN YOUR EYES, written and executive produced by Whedon and directed by Brin Hill (Ball Don’t Lie), adheres to this mission by skipping the traditional modes of distribution and taking the film directly to fans via a digital distribution strategy.

Cole explained: “It was always the plan to release IN YOUR EYES in a new and exciting way. It’s no secret that the distribution landscape is shifting rapidly and there are tools at our disposal as filmmakers that we could only dream about ten years ago.”

In partnership with Bellwether Pictures is producer Michael Roiff’s Night & Day Pictures (Waitress, Save the Date), which shepherded the film through production and has been instrumental in forming and executing the release strategy.

Roiff echoed Cole’s sentiments: “We’ve been aiming to do something like this from the get-go. When you work with Joss and Kai – you don’t get to say ‘but this is how it is usually done’, you have to say ‘and now for something completely different’.” He went on to say, “Finding a partner like Vimeo to power this release was incredible. They are fantastic people working to make the future of distribution happen today.”

“We are honored to be partnering with the masterminds behind IN YOUR EYES to bring the film directly to audiences worldwide,” said Vimeo’s General Manager of Audience Networks Greg Clayman. “As big Whedon fans we were drawn to the film immediately and our shared vision for disrupting traditional distribution models made this an amazing collaboration all around.”

A timeless boy-meets-girl story, wrapped in a supernatural, Whedonesque world, IN YOUR EYES stars Zoe Kazan, Michael Stahl-David, Nikki Reed, Mark Feuerstein, Jennifer Grey, and Steve Howey.

In the frozen East Coast winter, Rebecca (Zoe Kazan) is withering away in a life of cocktail parties and lonely nights as the sheltered, soft-spoken wife of a successful doctor. Across the country in sun-drenched, arid New Mexico, charismatic ex-con Dylan (Michael Stahl-David) is struggling to find his footing and a fresh start. When these polar opposites realize they share an inexplicable connection, a unique metaphysical romance begins.

Book Review “Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion”

Author: PopMatters
Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: May 1, 2012

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I am one of the biggest fans of Joss Whedon and this is easily the Essential Guide to the Whedonverse.  I just feel like it more accumulated knowledge from the internet, than an actual bio on his career.  The book runs at almost 500 pages and covers everything in Whedon’s career from his TV Series, Movies, Comic Books and more.

Included within this book are essays and interviews about Whedon’s work and also conversations with key collaborators Jane Espenson and Tim Minear.  Since this book is complied by 40 contributors from PopMatters, I feel that the direction of the book is a little confused.  This is why I am never a real big fan of unofficial companions, it just doesn’t seem like the information is original.  I mean, the book definitely contains EVERYTHING you need to know about Joss Whedon but seems to be miss a proper narrative.

Where you are a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “Firefly”, “Dollhouse”, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”,  or the upcoming “The Avengers”, this book has it.  I also noticed that there is a lack of illustration in the book.  I would have liked to see images to accompany this vast amount of information.  Even if PopMatters, didn’t have rights to the screenshots, I would have liked to see some fan art…just something to push the book a long.  If you are a die-hard fan of Whedon and his work, you should check this out but don’t expect much besides a bunch of known information about his work.

Book Review “Firefly: Still Flying- A Celebration of Joss Whedon’s Acclaimed TV Series”

Author(s): Joss Whedon, Ben Edlund, Jane Espenson, Brett Matthews and  Jose Molina
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: May 25, 2010

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

If you are fan of “Firefly”, then you don’t even need to read this review. You NEED to own this book. It is a great continuation of this very short-lived series. This is the third companion book release for the show. You can tell that this book is specifically aimed at the fans and made for the fans, though if you are not a fan then this book is definitely not for you.

This book celebrated the continued longevity that this show has endured over the years. It features many rare and never before seen images, as well as storyboards, production design art and behind the scenes photos of the cast and crew. If you are one of the “Browncoats”, then this book also has a great tribute to them. If all that isn’t enough for you there is more…there is NEW “Firefly” fiction from the original writers of the TV series. Included is “Fun with Dick and Jayne” written and drawn by Ben Edlund, “What Holds Us Down” by Jane Espenson, “Crystal” by Brett Matthews and “Take The Sky” by Jose Molina. These are super cool and worth it for the price of the book alone.

There is still more included in this book, with each character having their own section. Included are photos from the show accompanied by quotes about their own character. The photos in the book are very clear and extremely detailed. Like I said this is a great companion to the series but it is specifically for big fans or as we are known “Browncoats”.