“SXSW is a huge platform and an incredible way to share our film with people from all over the world. It’s also just this really wonderful festival in every sense: we’ve met so many of our current collaborators at SX over the years.” – Directors Logan George and Celine Held
In your own words, what does this film mean to you?
Logan George and Celine Held: Topside originated out of years of research on people who lived in the tunnels beneath New York City, and the stories of mothers and children living in shelters and supportive housing up above. We’ve been writing this story since 2012, and we worked with our lead actress for a year before going into production; so, it’s been a long time coming. We’re crazy excited to finally share it.
What motivated you to tell this story?
LG/CH: We first went down into the Freedom Tunnel in 2012, this tunnel where hundreds of people used to live in the 1980s. We’ve made two documentary projects since that first visit, one of which will also be shown as an art exhibition at SXSW this year.
Ultimately, despite all the research and the years we’ve spent with it, our goal was always just to tell this small, honest mother daughter story. It’s a fictional story that’s built from so much of what we discovered throughout this crazy research process, but we don’t want it to stand for anything bigger than the small story it tells.
What do you want the audience to take away?
LG/CH: There’s a lot of grey areas in the story and things purposefully left unsaid, so we hope it gives people something to chew on afterward. Hopefully it’s hard to shake.
What made you choose SXSW to showcase your film to the world?
LG/CH: SXSW is a huge platform and an incredible way to share our film with people from all over the world. It’s also just this really wonderful festival in every sense: we’ve met so many of our current collaborators at SX over the years. It honestly feels different from other festivals where we’ve screened our work: it’s this place where everyone wants everyone else to succeed. We couldn’t imagine premiering our first feature anywhere else.
Do you have a past experience at SXSW that impacted your decision to come back?
LG/CH: Our short films Caroline and Mouse both had their world premieres at SXSW – we’ve had our work at SX now for 4 consecutive years! SX is truly responsible for launching our career in every way. We’re excited to be back.
Add Topside to your SXSW Schedule. Stay tuned as we share more interviews with our SXSW 2020 filmmakers!
Join Us for SXSW 2020
Discover what’s next in film with a 2020 SXSW Film Badge. From March 13-22, 2020, experience 10 days of conference sessions, screenings, exhibitions, networking events, mentor sessions, and much more. All attendees will receive primary entry to programming associated with their badge type, in addition to enjoying secondary access to most other SXSW events.
Topside – Photo by Lowell A. Meyer