NFMLA Escape From Pasadena

Corina Marie Mazzi built the set for her child’s-birthday comedy “Escape From Pasadena” — by saving the trash from her own child’s birthday party. The film, about two parents who flee the aftermath of their child’s party, was among the films that screened at NewFilmmakers Los Angeles‘ InFocus: Female Cinema celebration.

The four-minute film finds a mom and dad laying in a trash-strewn trampoline, venting about the “adorable little terrorists” at their child’s party and dreaming of a date at a restaurant where they don’t give you crayons with your menu. The director, who jokes that having kids is “the best and the worst thing to ever happen to anyone,” didn’t have to look far for inspiration.

Origins of ‘Escape From Pasadena’

“Escape from Pasadena” draws on her experiences moving to the suburbs after her neighborhood in Los Angeles started to feel dicey during the pandemic.

“We had recently moved to to Pasadena from the city,” she says in an NFMLA interview with Danny DeLillo. “I’d been mugged and pistol whipped a block from our house… I was like, ‘You know, I think we need to leave.'”

As you may have noticed, she has a blunt sense of humor that comes out in both the Q&A and the film.

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Moving to Pasadena, enrolling her daughter in preschool and meeting other suburban parents, she found herself thinking, “What am I doing here? This is so, just like, not me.”

She jokes: “So now the plan is we just need to get rich so we can afford a house in the city.”

Maybe her ability to make people smile will help. She always looks for comedy in her filmmaking, she says.

“I’m not very good at being serious,” she tells DeLillo with a laugh.

Mazzi is an award-winning entertainment and commercial photographer and director with over 15 years of experience who has worked with Netflix, Disney, Apple, Fox, The Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences, the Television Academy, and more. She has received recognition for her work with the cast of “Ted Lasso” and actors like Viola Davis and Kumail Nanjiani.

Her work also includes commercials for MINI USA and Paul Mitchell, and her independent comedic narrative work has been featured in festivals like the Feedback Comedy Film Festival and Indie Shorts Fest. When not working in entertainment, she volunteers with Best Friends Animal Society writing and directs humorous PSAs in hopes of helping shelter animals nationwide. You can follow her on Instagram at @corinamariemazzi.

Watch the NFMLA interview with Corina Marie Mazzi, writer and director of “Escape from Pasadena”:

The film was part of NFMLA’s March film festival celebrating up-and-coming female talent in front of and behind the camera. The program included two shorts programs, along with award-winning filmmaker Dawn Jones Redstone’s debut feature.

The day began with InFocus: Female Cinema Shorts I, a collection of films that explore motherhood, fertility, birth, and reproductive choice from a wide range of perspectives. The programming continued with the Los Angeles premiere of “Mother of Color,” the first feature from award-winning writer-director Dawn Jones Redstone. The night concluded with InFocus: Female Cinema Shorts II, an eclectic mix of short form work from emerging talent, whose stories explored body image, intimate relationships, work and its many struggles, and assorted badassery.

NFMLA showcases films by filmmakers of all backgrounds throughout the year in addition to its special InFocus programming, which celebrates diversity, inclusion, and region. All filmmakers are welcome and encouraged to submit their projects which will be considered for all upcoming NFMLA Festivals, regardless of the InFocus programming. 

You can follow NFMLA Board Chair Danny De Lillo on Twitter or Instagram @dannydelillo). 

Main image: “Escape From Pasadena”