“Those are the directors?” This question, delivered as a scoff, came from the man sitting behind me as the directors of the Etheria Film Night shorts program walked to the stage of Hollywood’s Egyptian theater for a Q&A.
Fly Away, opens on Jeanne, a single mother, as she is awoken by her teenage daughter's cries. "Bad girl! I hate myself!" It might not be a surprising sentiment for a teenager in the throes of an angst-ridden moment, but Mandy is severe on the spectrum of autism, and the middle of the night is one of the times she communicates the clearest. Written and directed by Janet Grillo, Fly Away is a slice of life portrait of a small family at a crossroads and it focuses very much on the everyday details.
Sarah Sparks loves technology. A freelance tech geek, she fixes everything from new computers to old radios and calls her home pregnancy test a "nifty gadget." When its digital face displays the word "pregnant," she comments to boyfriend, Leon, "It's actually a pretty good quality font for a disposable," before recognizing that her life is about to be altered by a much less predictable technology. In first time feature directors Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson's Small, Beautifully Moving Parts, Sarah (Anna Margaret Hollyman) is ambivalent about her pregnancy.
Alison Bagnall's The Dish and the Spoon opens with Rose (Greta Gerwig) despondently crying as she drives to the beach—clad in pajama bottoms, a boxy coat, and knit cap—after discovering her husband's infidelity. Taking refuge from the winter air in a WWII watchtower, she discovers a young British drifter (Olly Alexander) shivering inside.
In this, the second part of my email interview with directors Kristy Guevara-Flanagan and Dawn Valadez, the collaborators talk about breaking the rules of documentary filmmaking, getting the girls to open up on camera, how their film can be used in classrooms, and their future projects.