Q: What drew you to this story?
A: My actress friend Erica Rhodes (who plays ‘Linda’ in the film) told me a story about her grandmother’s struggles with dementia. I had just lost a good friend to Alzheimer’s Disease (in her 50s!). So we decided to develop a story based on our experiences. When word got out that we were developing a project about the disease, the floodgates opened. I received dozens of emails from people sharing their experiences; their memories, their horror stories, but mostly, the love for someone whose mind was slowly being taken from them. That’s when we knew we had to make the film.
Q: The details of the situation are spot-on. Did you bring any personal experience with this situation to your film?
A: I wrote the first draft pretty much as it was filmed. My girlfriend Dea’s grandmother had recently passed from the disease, and stories she’d share with me, along with Erica’s and my experiences, all ended up in the script. For example, in the scene with the administrator, Posey says “Linda? I have a granddaughter in California named Linda!” this is taken directly from Dea’s conversations with her grandma in Oklahoma.
Q: Without giving away too much, describe what happens to Posey on the beach.
A: In Posey’s backstory, the ocean is a big part of her history with her husband, who recently passed away. I think that the sea, in all it’s grandness, is a metaphor for freedom. So when Posey escapes, she finds the place that she and her husband were happiest, and where she feels most free. She winds up frolicking in the sand and water, falls asleep…and goes to a very special place.
Q: What was it like working with Sally Kirkland? How were you able to bring her onboard with the project?
A: Sally is Erica’s private acting coach, and both Sally and I worked as teachers at the Lee Strasberg Institute in Hollywood, and we knew each other from there. We sent the script to Sally, but when we weren’t sure she would do it (we had no money to pay a movie star!), we listed the roles – including the title role of Posey – in the breakdowns (a sort of job listing that goes to agents and managers). The role description was: “POSEY: 70 years old, Caucasian, white hair, tan, looks like an ex-Hollywood starlet.”Her manager saw the listing and called Sally to see if she was interested. She said to him “But that’s already my role!”And in fact, it was. Sally and I have become best friends in the process. I only wish I could bring her to NY – where she was born and raised – to be a part of the festival!
Q: How was it showing the changing power dynamic between the grandmother and the granddaughter? Talk a little about your process in visualizing that movement.
A: I wanted the relationship to be one of both trust and love. But I had to show the fear and the guilt that every Alzheimer’s victim and his or her family experiences when tough decisions like this are made. For example, when Posey says “Don’t put me in this place” she is essentially accusing her granddaughter of locking her up and throwing away the key. Admittedly, Linda can’t realistically take care of Posey, but Posey wants to make sure Linda knows how she feels about having to stay here.
Q: What insights were you able to glean about “later life” issues from working on this film?
A: The logline: “Just when you think life is over…the dance begins.”I think we assume too much when we think of aging. Yes, we lose our senses, we can devolve into a world that is horribly painful. But maybe there’s a place in our mind that allows us to be free, to be a child, to dance again. The title song of the film “The World in My Mind” says so much.
Ya know I’m gonna take that rainbow down
And swirl it around
Finger paint a way out of the dark
To the world in my mind
I’ll polish it and make it shine
The world in my mind
Is all I need
To be free
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