Oct 30 2011
Do you remember a time in your youth where you felt different than every other human? No matter who you are it’s a part of life that comes with the territory of growing up. Zoe Saldana addresses this outsider “alien” feeling in her a directorial role with Glamour Reel Moments. Her emotionally moving short film “KAyLien” touches on autism and the notion that ‘patience is love’ while trailing a young girl’s social struggles. Glamour Reel Moments aims to empower women by giving female actresses the opportunity to go behind the camera to bring a reader’s story to life. MyFDB recently talked with Zoe about this empowering project and what it was like to be in the director’s chair.
MyFDB: Given Glamour Reel Moments are derived from reader submissions, what inspired you about this particular life story to create the “KAyLien” character and script?
ZS: What inspired me was my niece, who is 8 years old and this past school year she was getting bullied in school. Then there was a letter that one of the readers submitted and we chose it because it related to a topic that’s very close to my family and my heart, and that’s autism. My ballet teacher, who’s like my second mom, [has a] son with autism and we’ve gotten to witness what it’s like to care for a child with that condition, but also see the child living in a world that’s completely different…So that inspired all of that.
MyFDB: Were there any pivotal moments or scenes on set where you were emotionally moved? And given the emotion with the story line, what are you hoping viewers will take way from this short?
ZS: There were moments. My friend Frankie Flowers, who is my best friend and my colleague, he’s the one that wrote the short. Frankie and I wanted to truly have the characters of the parents involved in this child’s life. So when we got the actors, Bradley Cooper, Malin Ackerman along with Kelli Barksdale (the actress that played KAyLien), they were in the kitchen as a family and even though they were tending to a child that’s different, she’s not affectionate to them and she’s quiet, they still loved their child and they’re still just as excited for her first day of school as they would be with any other child. That to me was very emotional. That’s what I feel when I see parents that have children with autism or any other disability, they still love their child and they enjoy their child so much.
MyFDB: How did you prepare to step behind the camera? Did you find yourself referencing the techniques of other directors you’ve worked with in the past?
ZS: Oh Absolutely! I was referencing a bunch of things I’ve worked with and other directors on their projects, like motion capture, prosthetics, stunts, and all these things that I wanted to incorporate. And even though I love films that are very dramatic and have sort of an emotional tone, I like it when it involves action and fiction. And that’s what I did; I stayed true to what I love about film making. It was a lot of work. It was creating the alien look, the color of the alien skin, would she have teeth or not because we planned on adding some special effects to the piece, and rehearsing a stunt. Helping the actor while she climbed the tree. It was three hectic days, but it was so awesome.
MyFDB: The Glamour project is known for launching directorial debuts (17 to date) and since this your first, do you plan on pursuing other opportunities behind the camera?
ZS: Actually this was my second, I co-directed three episodes of an internet series called “The Ropes” with my sister Cisely. So I got my feet wet for the very first time earlier this year and then when the Glamour opportunity came along I jumped on it and she jumped on as the producer, which I was really elated about.
Read More at MyFDB: HERE
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