"Outsiders were always asking me if I was going into film," says the soft-spoken 27-year-old writer-director, whose first movie, "
But she agreed to adapt
"There was this intense focus in a lot of the detail that added up to this dreamy feeling," says Franco of Coppola's photos. "I thought that would be good for this material."
Franco became Coppola's partner in the making of the film as well as her mentor, helping her push beyond the fear of helming a feature.
"He let me know that he trusted me . I didn't feel judged in any way," says Coppola, who shot short online videos for fashion companies before "
Nearly five years after her initial chat with Franco, the film is finally in theaters. "I thought we were making something so small," says Coppola over coffee at a
Not a bad start for a low-budget film that initially struggled to gain financial backing. "No one wanted to invest in a first-time director with dark material and real teenagers," says Coppola.
But she didn't run to her film world relatives for cash. "It was important for me to do it on my own," says Coppola, who gained behind-the-scenes experience working on
Taking an acting gig in the 2013 thriller "Homefront," Franco used his salary to help pay for "
Coming from a family with a history of making films about teenage turmoil, Coppola was determined to find her own voice.
"I love my aunt and my grandpa's movies about teenagers and they are definitely influences, but they are different movies," she says.
"It's important to do your own thing and not necessarily try to emulate your family," says Roberts, whose father is
When Coppola agreed to make "
Coppola spent her "awkward" high school years in
"At the time, I was so uncomfortable," she recalls of her adolescence. "(As a teen) everything is a big deal and you act in extreme manners. After getting older I was able to look at things calmly."
Coppola says she's been influenced by filmmakers like Federico Fellini,
"When I saw that (Dunham) was successful it felt like there was a chance for everyone," she says.
Next Coppola plans to direct a music video for Blood Orange, the artist behind the synth-heavy music in "
"I want to challenge myself in a new way," she says. "But it always has to have some sort of personal connection for me to feel excited about it."
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