To celebrate the release of Birds of Paradise, the new film streaming on Amazon Prime Video this week, we had the pleasure of chatting to the film’s two leads and writer/director about the project.

Kate Sanders (Diana Silvers) is an ambitious and gifted, if tomboyish, aspiring ballerina from Virginia who, because of her low-income status, is given the scholarship to attend a prestigious ballet school in Paris, France. Upon arriving at the cutthroat, internationally-renowned institution, her confidence and emotional fortitude are tested by a beautiful, mysterious fellow dancer, Marine Durand (Kristine Froseth), who recently lost her brother (and dance partner) to suicide. While confrontational at first, Kate and Marine’s relationship evolves into an emotionally-charged, competitive union beset by lies, sexual awakening, and, ultimately, emotional breakthrough as they risk everything to win the school’s ultimate prize: a contract to join the Opéra national de Paris.

Chatting with Silvers and Froseth, we talk about the unique nature of the story, the physical, emotional and mental challenges, and journey of the film, as well their excitement that stories about young women and their experiences are becoming more commonplace outside of the normal avenues like rom-com’s, and why having them made by female filmmakers only makes them more powerful. Then, we sat down with writer/director Sarah Adina Smith (Buster’s Mal Heart) about adapting the book into a film, the unique challenges of shooting ballet and more as she echoes the importance of female-driven stories.

You can watch the full interviews below:

Birds of Paradise streams on Amazon Prime Video from September 24th.