Hello Film Reverie listeners! This week we were excited to talk to the clever, funny, talented, and lovable Wonder Russell about her newest writing and directing effort, the upcoming short film “See You On The Other Side”. Wonder is always thoughtful and searching for something honest and true. She works hard for the stories she is telling and always brings a smart and articulate perspective on not just what she is doing but why she is doing it. We are always happy to get to peek inside her brain for just a little while and see what makes her tick.
Quick Update: As of the day of this posting, Wonder’s short film “See You On The Other Side” has exceeded her crowdfunding goals and is 100% funded! Congratulations to Wonder on yet another successful crowdfunding campaign. We can’t wait to see it!
This film is about the magic within us all we think is out of our reach. Only when all is lost can there be a chance to start anew. Only in total loss can we evolve – beyond our ability to imagine. My Dad died unexpectedly two years ago, and this story is directly influenced by an experience so painful and personal — and yet profoundly shared with everyone else who has survived similar tragedies.
I’m fascinated by the process of grieving and loss, how it profoundly changes us, creating new relationships and erasing ones we thought would last forever. I’m making this film for everyone who has survived, for everyone who was forced into an alternate reality they never wanted; this film is for those of us taking back our power and refusing to be victims. This film is for believers and dreamers. This film’s purpose is to comfort the broken hearted, and encourage the broken-spirited. Making this film is a message: You are not alone, and Love lives forever.
“See You On the Other Side” is a dramatic, modern-day fantasy tale. Young widow Magda grieves the loss of her husband by trying to contact his spirit. Uneducated and but desperate, Magda’s attempts are driven by her isolation, as a mounting ominous pressure builds outside her home. When Magda is threatened with eviction, her desperation peaks and she accidentally breaks through to the other side. She is briefly reunited with her husband in an unexpected way, sending shockwaves through the community. The one thing she wants most of all, her husband, would cost the lives of dozens of strangers. Her life-or-death choice activates a power inside her, forever changing the course of her life.
It feels really different this time around.
Unbelievably exciting yet vulnerable. I am terrified every time I send the script to someone, anxiously watching my inbox and obsessively combing through the script for ways to improve it. I guess it’s different because with Revelation, we leapt off the cliff on a non-linear journey of exploration. There was no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to make it, there was only discovery and beauty.
See You On the Other Side is a narrative short I’ve been working on this year, and there is a right and wrong way to do those, as anyone who has screened shorts for a festival (myself included!) will tell you. Trying to tell a complete story in a quarter of an hour is a challenge. Don’t let it become bloated. Every scene must advance the story and reveal more of the character. Don’t take too long, but also let it breathe, let the audience have moments of space between the highlights. I guess it’s really the same rhythm and music as a feature film, but the song is shorter, condensed, specific.
I am eager to make a feature, but this short needs to be in the world. I’ve felt almost…honored, if you’ll indulge me in saying so, to write it. Sometimes I would sit at the keyboard and know that this was something important I had to say. Ever feel that way? It’s pretty rare. I tend to be a “wait for inspiration to strike” type of writer, and this story has been burning down my brain since Summer. It gives me butterflies every time I tell someone about it.
I’m assembling a team to make this with me, and every addition has been the perfect piece of the puzzle. For now I can tell you that the incomparable Lisa Coronado stars, and I couldn’t be luckier to have her as sensitive, talented Magda in this film. She is also producing with me – and suggested the title!
I’ll reveal more about the film as we go. In the meantime, if you want to see the mood board I’m putting together, it’s over here. It will give you a sense of tone and inspiration.
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