Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Jan Eliasberg

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.


TGG: I’m so pleased to be able to introduce a Film and Television Industry Giant today. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed! First, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

JE: My name is Jan Eliasberg and I’m a writer/director of film and television and, most recently, a novelist. My novel HANNAH’S WAR was published to rave reviews and is available on Amazon, bookshop.com, and at your favorite indie bookstore. I’ve been blessed with an amazing career: directing hundreds of hours of high quality television, films (both studio and independent) and writing screenplays for the likes of Nicole Kidman, JLo, and Cameron Diaz.

TGG: What a career! Could you tell us more about your novel, “Hannah’s War”?

JE: HANNAH’S WAR is an espionage thriller set during the race between the Allies and Germans to develop the atomic bomb. It was inspired by the extraordinary woman who split the atom — Dr. Lise Meitner. Everyone who has read it says that it’s a “page turner” and that they, literally, can’t put it down.

TGG: Your book sounds really exciting, I can’t wait to read it! So, a lot of indie filmmakers read our website, therefore I feel like I have to ask, what is your biggest advice on getting into directing for television?

JE: Getting into television requires (above everything else) an incredible amount of tenacity. Having talent is a given. You must remember that episodic television is made on an extremely tight time frame and budget; what producers are looking for is a director with confidence but not arrogance. If you are a woman or a person of color, LGBTQ, non binary you should definitely take advantage of shadowing programs now being offered by virtually every network; they will get you in the door which is the first (and major) hurdle.

TGG: On behalf of all our readers (and myself), thank you so much for the advice. Now, as a fan of “Bladerunner”, I have to ask you what it was like to work with the late Rutger Hauer?

JE: I’m happy to report that working with Rutger Hauer was an absolute joy. I miss him enormously and feel privileged that I had the chance to work with him. He was dedicated, a great collaborator and an extremely generous actor and person. PAST MIDNIGHT was quite low budget and I had an ambitious vision particularly for the big action scene that ends the movie. Rutger came to set early and watched what I was doing and he arranged to forego $200,000 of his salary—he gave the money to me so I could have another shooting day for the sequence. That epitomizes Rutger’s grace, commitment to the work, and generosity.


TGG: What a great loss. I’m so happy to hear that he was passionate about film. So, what’s next for you? Can you please tell us about your upcoming film, “Before I sleep”?

JE: BEFORE I SLEEP is an indie road movie in the tradition of THELMA AND LOUISE or Wim Wender’s ALICE IN THE CITIES. It begins with an architect grieving the recent death of her fiancée when his very wild and very angry thirteen year old daughter shows up on her doorstep to be reunited with the father she thinks abandoned her. In the course of their trip back to the girl’s home, their calamitous emotional collision and mutual mistrust gradually turns to healing and perhaps even love.

TGG: Now that sounds amazing! So, how can we best support you (where can we buy your book, follow on social media etc)?

JE: You can support me by buying HANNAH’S WAR on Amazon:


as well as Bookshop.com or from your favorite bookstore (also available on Kindle and as an audiobook). Don’t forget to write a great review on Amazon and recommend it to friends. You can find and support the book on @hannahswarnovel on Insta or Twitter or the Hannah’s War page on Facebook. Also @janeliasberg or www.janeliasberg.com.

TGG: Thanks again for agreeing to be interviewed!

We welcome your comments and feedback below. If this is your first visit, be sure to read the Privacy / Terms and Conditions Of Use. And Please, Play Nice.