Caitlyn Greene creates an engaging world for her audience with August, a tale of deception and love deep in the swamplands. You can read more about the filmmaker from the Big Apple below.
What is your connection to the South?
I was born and raised in North Carolina.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
The short answer: Delaney Nolan’s essay, “How I Gonna Bare My Neck Outside in the Sweat-Scared Morning,” on which the film is based.
The longer answer: My mom’s side of the family is from rural Louisiana, so I grew up intrigued by a place I constantly heard stories about but had never really known. When I read Delaney’s essay, it struck a deep chord. Written while she was living in New Orleans, the story was full of the feeling that pulled me to Louisiana. Not to mention I loved the essay and Delaney’s writing apart from my interest in the place.
How did you start making films?
I studied at UNC Chapel Hill and began as a business major but quickly found my way to the Journalism School. My focus was photojournalism, which, at the time, was shifting to include a lot more video. That curriculum provided a natural segue into documentary film, encouraged by some wonderful professors who fostered the farther-fetched film ideas I wanted to try while in a journalism program. That work led to spending the past few years as primarily a documentary film editor – “August” represents my first narrative directorial work.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
As strange as it sounds, we found our lead actress, Kaelyn Charbonnet, at her grandfather’s funeral. After weeks scouting and casting in Louisiana, Jon Kasbe, the DP/co-producer, and I still hadn’t found actors. The night before we were to travel back to New York, Jon got a freelance assignment to film a jazz funeral in New Orleans.
The funeral was elaborate. Mourners flooded the streets, dancing, drinking, and sweating their way through grief. Towards the peak of the procession, the granddaughter of the deceased exploded: her arms shot up, and she collapsed to the pavement, writhing as if she’d been possessed. Eventually she got to her feet again, and as she danced after her grandfather’s casket, she shot Jon’s camera a fierce, irreverent stare. Watching the footage back in New York, I knew she was our girl. I flew back to New Orleans and found her. Though she had never acted before, she was totally down to try it, and came at it with such an open heart and love for new experience. I left the shoot totally inspired by her.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Seeing great films! And some good Southern food.
Why should someone see your film?
To get a taste of a ripe, hot day in a Louisiana bayou. To see Kaelyn Charbonnet act for the first time and to hear Sanita Irvin’s syrupy voice. To see the work of all the talented folks who contributed their craft.