Alex Thompson Talks About His Dramedy Saint Frances – SXSW Filmmaker In Focus
Take a look at our interview with Alex Thompson. His film Saint Frances won a Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Voice at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival! Make sure to catch the film in theaters starting today.
In your own words, what does this film mean to you?
Alex Thompson: Well, it’s just a gift to direct something that’ll be seen! To do so with longtime friends and collaborators crewing, producing, lensing, scoring and finishing the film, with a six-year old prodigy to boot....to risk sentimentality and try to tell something truthful - it’s a great challenge, but with a crew like that it’s great fun, too.
What motivated you to tell this story?
AT: Kelly O'Sullivan's hilarious, moving script is the short answer to that question. On top of the chance to tell a story that felt so “right” in its depiction of abortion and womanhood, I was also excited to make a modern “summer movie”. Nate Hurtsellers and I collected films we thought had that sense of play that summers have, that earnestness and edge at the end of the cul de sac, and those became our models - Butch Cassidy, Coming Home - strange inspiration, but Kelly’s story seemed to flourish under the suggestion, and never lost its teeth or its heart or its originality. That was a story worth telling.
What do you want the audience to take away?
AT: I hope people leave with more empathy; that they laugh; and that it inspires honest conversation.
What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?
AT: We knew we had a little movie, but we also knew it was a "little movie that could", and SXSW is one of the few true champions of both the art and commerce of independent film. It just felt right. All through production we kept saying "if we could just finish this damn thing and premiere at SX...we'd have pulled it off by the skin of our teeth."
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Saint Francis - Special Jury Recognition for Breakthrough Voice Award - Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW