Spring Showcase Director #5: Meera Menon

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Meera_Menon

We were thrilled when we got an email from Meera Menon, saying she was interested in directing a piece for the first One Axe showcase. We’d already heard of her feature, Farah Goes Bang, which garnered raving reviews at Tribeca and also earned her the inaugural Nora Ephron Prize. She told us she was interested in stories of politics or coming of age, things that crossed from drama to comedy. And then a magical thing happened, because we’d read some essays from Wendy C. Ortiz’s memoirs and thought, “Wouldn’t those work as a script?” Turns out, they did. Wendy adapted her work, and Meera stepped in to assist with development, and the result is a short sensorial experience of a heartbreaking memory, brought to life by actress Cristina Fernandez. Here’s some tidbits of info from Menon herself.

1. What are the top 3 movies/plays that have inspired you?

– Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (film)

– Ratcatcher (film)

– The Pillowman (play)

2. Did you go to film school? What led you to being a writer/director?

Yes I did go to film school! I have always loved movies and stories and think I wanted to be in on the action in some form from very early in my life, writing plays in my basement with my next door neighbor, etc.

3. Why do you personally want to collaborate with other women through One Axe?

I think I’ve always sought out other women to work with, because I do believe there is a shared language there. Generally centered around birthing metaphors and cycle syncing.

4. “Where are you going, where have you been?”

I’m going to dinner. I’ve been to lunch.

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Spring Showcase Writer #4: Wendy C. Ortiz

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Photo © Meiko Takechi Arquillos

Photo © Meiko Takechi Arquillos

We know that many women—daunted by the Hollywood system and the technicalities of having to learn Final Draft or filmmaking tools—have felt their stories more welcomed in the publishing and journalism worlds than in the scriptwriting worlds. For this reason, we are reaching out to at least one accomplished prose writer for every showcase, to mentor them through the process of scriptwriting, so we can flood the Hollywood market with women’s stories. Our first writer is Wendy C. Ortiz, one of Los Angeles’ brightest literary stars. Author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014) and Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015), Wendy’s also written a year-long monthly column about marijuana in Southern California for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Her work is everywhere, and she’s justly getting praised, so we asked her to adapt a short essay, “Spell,” for our Spring Showcase, and it is already phenomenal. Directed by Nora Ephron Prize winner Meera Menon, “Spell” tells the story of a girl’s love affair with words and the teacher who taught them.

1. What are the top 3 movies/plays that have inspired you?

I don’t tend to keep static lists of influences. I think my influences shift and change regularly, sometimes depending on my own projects, or concepts I’m trying to sort out in my life or my work. Lately I’ve been SUPER inspired by television. As for film, influences I can name today (inspiring due to the way the stories treat characters, how beauty can be coaxed from pain and tragedy, how epic these films feel in my current consciousness): Shame by Steve McQueen; The Shining by Stanley Kubrick; Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola.

2. Did you go to film school? What led you to being a writer or director?

I did not go to film school. The most I’ve done in this field is a 16mm filmmaking workshop many years ago in Olympia, Washington. I’ve been a writer since I was a child, first writing ghost stories and poems then later zines and books. It’s taken over my life and guided many decisions I’ve made ever since.

3. Why do you personally want to collaborate with other women through One Axe?

 

Being introduced to One Axe is like walking through a door into a world I’ve wanted to imagine existed, and at some points of my life, tried to create something similar into existence. I’m stunned by the generosity, encouragement and warm spirit of collaboration modeled by One Axe so far. There is no reason why I wouldn’t want to collaborate!

4. “Where are you going, where have you been?”

I’ve been around the block and to many a rodeo and I’m always game for what’s right around the corner.