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Exclusive: America Ferrera, Melonie Diaz, Ryan Piers Williams talk 'X/Y' at TFF

 Actress/producer America Ferrera (L) and director Ryan Piers Williams attend the 'X/Y' Premiere after party during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival hosted By Heineken at Parlor on April 19, 2014 in New York City.
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In the early hours of April 20, Heineken threw an epic party celebrating Ryan Piers Williams' latest film "X/Y," which was produced and stars his wife America Ferrera. The film is a character driven drama centered around four friends living in New York and their interactions with one another as they search for a sense of balance. Earlier in the evening we caught up with the cast at the film's Tribeca Film Festival premiere.

America Ferrera stars in the film.

Tell me a little bit about your character in the film.

America: I play Sylvia, in "X/Y," which is really about four different young New Yorkers navigating their relationships and emotional lives. Sylvia is a complicated person, I think all the characters are. Their behavior sometimes is questionable and shocking and yet I feel like our work was to dig beneath what you're seeing and trying to bring to life, the emotional life, of each of the characters. I had such a great time playing Sylvia, it was difficult at times, to be in the state of mind that she was in to be in that place, for the duration of the filming, it was definitely a challenge to explore her and find the many dimensions of her character.

Can you speak about collaborating with Ryan?

America: This is our second feature that we've done together, him as a writer/director, me as a producing partner and actor in front of the camera. We love working together, we met working together and we have a really wonderful creative relationship. He makes me stronger and I hope I make him stronger.

What do you love about New York? This is a New York tale.

America: It's absolutely a love letter to New York, I think. Ryan and I, we fell in love with New York early on in our relationship when we were falling in love with each other, so those two things are a little bit inextricable. We love being in New York because of the unpredictability of every moment and the potential to have your life path crossed with somebody's just for a moment and be changed by that or be influenced by that and I think there's nowhere else in the world where you feel the energy and the possibility that you feel in New York.

Ryan Piers Williams

What inspired it?

Ryan: I was inspired by just being in New York City and witnessing not only the people in my life but other people in the city really struggling to find those personal deep relationships. So I wanted to tell a story that really put our generation struggle into perspective. There's no personal truth to it, it's really just observations and my creativity making things up. It's not based on anything true, but it was really inspired by witnessing people around me and seeing people on the subway and thinking "What is their life like? What's their personal struggle?" in terms of their relationships. I think the city really inspired me.

Did you write this for America?

Ryan: I didn't write it for her specifically. I wrote it and then I gave it to her, she really liked it, and we talked a lot about it and she really was interested in playing the part, I wasn't exactly sure if that would be a good idea or not, but after really talking to her about the character and developing it more with her, we decided it would be cool to do it, not only her being in it, but us both do it together.

Speak about the production process.

We shot for 4 weeks here in New York, 6 day weeks, it was a 22 day shoot. It was stripped down, with a small budget, we really had to be resourceful with how we shot it, we asked a lot of friends and family to shoot in their apartments, in their restaurants, a lot of the cast are people that we already know well, so we asked them to be a part of it. So working with a small amount of resources, we really had to think out of the box.

Melonie Diaz stars in the film.

Tell me about your role in this film.

Melonie: I play Jen, she's America's best friend in the movie, she's kind of a hot mess, she's having that quarter life crisis, trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. She has a really bad shopping habit and no job, so that makes for more of a complicated life, but she's fun. A lot of fun.

Speak about collaborating with America.

I met her on "Lords of Dogtown" when I was 19 and she was 19 too. We are old friends. When American and Ryan called me about it, obviously Ryan is this amazingly talented director, and the chance that I get to work with my friends, it's nice to be able to do that.

Did you ever go through that kind of crisis to figure it out? Was acting always your thing?

No everyday I'm like "What am I doing? Who am I? What am I putting out into the world?" As much as I pretend I have it together, I probably don't.

After the screening, guests headed to the buzz worthy after-party presented by Heineken. The space at Parlor was glowing green with the company's branding. Cast Jon Paul Phillips, Dree Hemingway and Melanie Diaz joined America Ferrera and Ryan Piers Williams at the bash. Guests snacked on sliders, chicken, edamame dumplings and spring rolls. DJ Jedi kept the crowd dancing. We also spotted "Boulevard" star Roberto Aquire and "Match" producer David Permut. At the end guests enjoyed chocolate cake and tiramisu. The party was so fun and we left at about two in the morning.

We have had so much fun attending parties at the Tribeca Film Festival. On Friday, April 18, following the premiere of "Life Partners," stars, cast and crew reunited at Liberty Hall to celebrate the showing and toast with glasses of Palm Bay Wine. Guests in attendance included Gabourey Sidibe, Abby Elliott, Gillian Jacobs and Susanna Fogel. We also stopped by the "Alex of Venice," party later that night. Stars of the ensemble, cast and crew reunited to celebrate the screening, while sipping on VDKA 6100 cocktails. Guests in attendance included Max Greenfield, Chris Messina, Jamie Patricof, Derek Luke, Don Johnson, Katie Nehra and Ed Weeks. This party was held at The Cabanas at The Maritime.

On Sunday night, April 20, at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, following the premiere of "Every Secret Thing," cast and crew reunited at Thom Bar to celebrate the showing and toast with specialty cocktails provided by VDKA 6100 and glasses of Palm Bay Wine. Guests in attendance included Diane Lane, Eva Grace Kellner, Brynne Norquist, Amy Berg, Danielle MacDonald, Nate Parker and Maggie Grace. Nearby, Bombay Sapphire hosted the official after party for "In Your Eyes" starring Zoe Kazan, Nikki Reed and Michael Stahl-David. The exclusive after-party took place at Tribeca’s newest upscale Shanghainese restaurant, China Blue.

This past weekend, Interview Magazine Hosted The Broad Green Room, presented by Broad Green at The Wooly in the Woolworth Building. Production company We Came in Peace built out the Wooly space and nearby restaurant to create a private lounge. Artist Ian Sklarsky did blind contour portraits of guests, there was a Bosco photo booth, candy, desserts and an open bar all night. Celebrities we spotted included Laverne Cox, Reggie Watts, Donald Baechler, Rameet Chawla, Aurel Schmidt, Kevin Baker, Lily Mcmenamy, Shaun Ross, Andrew & Andrew, Natalia Kills and Adam Lippes. Artists who loaned their work to event included Donald Baechler, Kevin Baker, Taylor Mckimens, Lance De Los Reyes and James Benjamin Franklin. Music on Thursday was provided by DJ Elle Dee, TV Baby and DJ Stiletto. Tunes on Friday were provided by Shadowbox, The Mast, MICK, and DJ Franco V. Featured DJ's on Saturday were DJ Ilyse Singer, French Horn Rebellion, Sophie Auster, The Prettiots and DJ Franco V.

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