Melissa Sweazy will be joining us with her film The Department of Signs & Magical Intervention. Here are some questions to let you get to know more about her!
What is your connection to the South?
Born and raised in Memphis, TN. Lived in Los Angeles until babies and $ sent me kicking and screaming back home. And then I realized Memphis is awesome and a warm, collaborative environment for filmmakers and I thank my stars everyday for living here.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
Stress dream! In waking life, I was asking the universe for a sign I was on the right path and a dragonfly showed up in my dream. Then dragonflies starting showing up in real life everyday to the point I was like, alright, alright, I got the message. And then it had me thinking: what if there was an actual place in charge of managing the requests for signs? Like a bureaucracy a la Beetlejuice. What if a guy working there was really bad at this job?
How did you start making films?
Like a lot of kids, I borrowed my dad’s clunky camcorder and made home movies. As an adult, I focused narrowly on screenwriting, writing the script for Signs which went on to win at several film festivals. I had a lot of encouragement to direct it, but it was a technically difficult piece. I wrote a simpler short, John’s Farm, a Twilight Zone-esque meditation on helicopter parenting, to basically go to film school on and learn how to direct.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
I learned that I am never writing an outdoor scene again. Shooting is stressful, especially when you have to adhere to an incredibly tight schedule and budget, and having to negotiate gale force winds and a tornado warning during the climactic scene of the film wasn’t something I had emotionally prepared for.
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Meeting filmmakers and catching up with the filmmakers I’ve been fortunate to meet at other festivals.
Why should someone see your film?
I think we’ve all had that moment where we wanted to get confirmation from the universe that we are on the right path. Now you get a chance to see how it happens, with pretty actors and special effects to boot.