My favorite films are able to capture the dark magic of a fairy tale.
When I was searching for a story for my first film, I didn’t think I could afford to make the sort of dark, magical movie I would want to see in a theater.
Then I went to see Tony Stone’s SEVERED WAYS, a low-budget indie about the first Vikings in North America. It was shot in the woods at his parents’ farm.
I realized--and many, many independent directors have realized this recently in low-budget period or science fiction films--that magic doesn’t have to be bought. And low budget doesn’t have to mean single location.
For my fairy story, I imagined a girl who was tormented during the day but who could travel to another dimension at night. There, she meets a mysterious being who has the same strange facial birthmarks that she does, and who shows her how to escape her torment forever.
The story of a young girl who is discounted by other people in the ordinary world, but has her own secret reality is something that has always resonated with me. We see it in A Wrinkle In Time, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland --not to mention the classic film LABYRINTH; most recently in Coraline and SPIRITED AWAY.
I enjoyed adding someone to the roster of my childhood heroines whose unhappy real life is drawn from my own memories. And I had such fun fleshing out my fairy story with cinematic elements I admire the most in other films--beautiful acting, low-light black and white photography, “vérité” camerawork.
The pairing of realism and magic in this story make a strange and wonderful blend that both cinephiles and the young at heart will be drawn to.
Thank you for watching.
- Cath Gulick writer/director