Last weekend the Academy Awards honored some of Minnesota’s film talent by giving accolades to the Coen brothers and Diablo Cody. This weekend the Walker Art Center continues to celebrate local filmmaking with the Girls in the Directors Chair Film Showcase, a day-long screening representing the best of young women filmmakers in Minnesota. In preparation for Saturday’s event, I had the opportunity to talk with one of the Girls in the Director’s Chair filmmakers, 13 year old Molly Nemer about her film “ New Orleans,” which looks at the Katrina relief efforts.
What is your film “New Orleans” about?
The film is as much about the importance of youth volunteerism as it is about volunteer efforts to rebuild post- Katrina New Orleans.
When visiting the city, you did not originally intend to make a film. What made you change your mind?
After arriving in New Orleans a year after Katrina, and seeing its devastation, I spoke to a local shop owner who said that the people of New Orleans felt forgotten, and this isn’t how America should be. I promised her I would spread the word that New Orleans needed help. I connected with volunteers from Trinity Episcopal School and Habitat for Humanity, who were working to help rebuild New Orleans.
How do you think film can be used to affectively convey a message like yours?
Film has an enormous impact on people because the stories are being told on a personal level. The moving footage and meaningful words combine to make a powerful message that others will take the time to listen to.
What local issues do you think that it is important for young people- male and female- to be involved and active in?
Whenever you feel passionate about an issue or event, the best thing to do is educate people on the topic, through film or any other means, so others see the issue’s importance. This could be anything from community recycling to global warming.
Are there any particular filmmakers that you look up to?
I look up to my mentors at TVbyGIRLS, a filmmaking organization dedicated to portraying honest images in the media by and for girls, empowering them and giving voice. They taught me everything I know about the art of filmmaking and always are supporting and encouraging me to follow my dreams.
Do you work only in documentary film, or have you made other kinds of films?
I make a variety of films, some one minute metaphoric pieces, others ten minute documentaries.
What advice do you have for young filmmakers?
Experiment and enjoy!