Director Biography – Ilana Gordon (DESIGNATED RIDER)

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Ilana Gordon is a Los Angeles-based comedy writer, producer and filmmaker. By day, she works covering entertainment news as a producer for E!’s Daily Pop. At night, she does other stuff.

Ilana is a regular contributor to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and has served as a guest writer for NPR’s Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! quiz show. You can read her writing on The A.V. Club, The Daily Dot, Reductress, The Weekly Humorist, The American Bystander and toilet stall doors across America.

Director Statement

Last year, I was parsing through some uncomfortable childhood memories when my brain stopped on the feeling of being the last kid picked up from school.

My Mom was a chronically late parent, and I would estimate that 46% of my personality was shaped by the awkward, anxious conversations between me and whichever overburdened adult was forced to stick around to ensure I wasn’t kidnapped. Whether we waited for one minute or one hour, I felt compelled to prove to them that I wasn’t an inconvenience, that the situation was beyond my control, and that I was just as annoyed by it as they were.

This film is our attempt at approximating the adult version of that feeling.

To create the story and build the character of Jenny, we pulled directly from the life of my lead actress and Co-Executive Producer, Jaime Lyn Beatty. A former New York City kid who moved to Los Angeles without a drivers license, Jaime Lyn has survived out West thanks to rideshare apps, public transportation and probably, magic. She has no desire to learn to drive, but like most of us, she gets tired of having to justify her choices.

Jaime Lyn and I met while we were both improvisers performing on a Harold team at iO Chicago. And while the team was short-lived, this creative partnership was a long time coming. “Designated Rider” was born of our shared desire to create a film with a simple story, a universally-relatable theme, and a happy ending.

We are both anxious people, but over the years we’ve learned there is one thing you can count on with anxiety: it always feels like it’s going to last forever, but if you wait it out, a better feeling is right around the corner.

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