Private Project

Free Lunch

  • Cristina Nava
    The Answer to my Prayer, In Other Words, Divorce Bait
  • Forrest Hartl
  • Alex Linares
  • Mina Olivera
    Key Cast
    "Mrs. Stackhouse"
    Dark Amazon, Desjuntados, Rio
  • Ross Turner
    Key Cast
    "Principal Brady"
    13 Reasons Why, General Hospital
  • Connor William Barrett
    Key Cast
    Roswell Delirium, Dhar Mann
  • Jovie Leigh
    Key Cast
    Two of Everything
  • Phoenix Nicholson
    Key Cast
    All My Children
  • Kai McQuay
    Key Cast
  • Sammi Corona-Lampa
    Key Cast
    Harley Quinn
  • Gianna Fusco-Foster
    Key Cast
    Imaginary Friend
  • Jorlhey Novelo
    Key Cast
    A Home for Christmas
  • Freddy Pomee
    Key Cast
    Hot Wheels 'Epic Race'
  • Forrest Hartl
    Key Cast
    "James Gardner"
    Crazy Stupid Love, V/H/S/85
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 17 minutes 54 seconds
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Cristina Nava

Cristina Nava has been writing and producing movies for over a decade. Her last two movies got distribution - “In Other Words” (on HBO Max) and “Divorce Bait” (acquired by Samuel Goldwyn). For the last two years, Cristina has felt like she wanted to take that last step in getting her vision on the screen…directing!

“Free Lunch” was a perfect segue to directing movies because, in her former life, Cristina was a middle school teacher where she taught students film acting and producing, and she was in charge of directing an annual musical theater show for over ten years.

As a producer and screenwriter for film and television, Cristina has worked with every film department and has had the opportunity to shadow directors. The secret to the success of the movies she produced and wrote has been in working with people who excel in the departments in which they work. And so, with the help of Alex and Forrest, Cristina surrounded herself with talented crew members and actors who supported this beautiful venture in her directorial debut “Free Lunch”.

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Director Statement

I grew up watching movies like "Say Anything", "Better off Dead", "The Sandlot", "Stand by Me", and "Free Lunch" reminds me of a cross between "The Breakfast Club" meets "The Sandlot". It was a dream of mine to make a movie that my children can watch. I have a huge “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” poster in my office. Creating “Free Lunch”, as cliche as it sounds, is a dream come true.

I really loved the story Forrest Hartl wrote 'cause we've all been there - made bad choices so we can feel included. For many of us, that doesn't go away even as an adult. What I also loved about the story was the detective/noir angle. Originally, it wasn't written that the protagonist's fantasy detective world were to be shot in noir style, but I asked Forrest if we could lean into the noir style. Working with wardrobe, hair, makeup, the gaffer and DP to create this world with kids was so much fun. We watched some Casablanca and Maltese Falcon videos on youtube, and Jovie (played Sadie) and Connor (played Sam) were incredible. They nailed their scenes in noir style. They’re both stars.

I got to work with Italian composers Susan Dibona and Salvatore Sangiovanni on the score, and as a first time director, it was such an honor to be able to collaborate to create a love song for Sadie and Sam, as well as be able to weigh in with themes and instruments that reflect the emotional arcs of the characters and story lines.
I’m proud of the work our team put into this charming coming of age story. I can’t wait for the world to see it.