deadCenter has been named one of the 20 coolest festivals by MovieMaker Magazine and it seems like it’s a blast. This is even more of a special festival for the film because one of the leads, Jennifer Laine Williams, is an Oklahoma City native. I wish I could have made it, but for those of you there, I hope you can go.
Danny Marroquin over at OKC.net has a nice review of the film and an interview on how it came about.
In a nod to the silent eras of yore, NYU trained Shripiya Mahesh films her short exchange in Central Park between a beautiful blond and one of those frozen statue models.
The statue’s regular routine of beguiling passerbys is interrupted when this girl captures his attention. She sees him when a boy and his balloon catch her eye.
Mahesh actually found Oklahoma City native to complete the film.
“Casting the right actors for the role is such a huge part of the process,” Mahesh says. “I got lucky because I found Jennifer Laine Williams (an Oklahoma City native) very quickly and she was perfect for the part.”
For the frozen trickster, she went straight to the source.
“For the role of the living statue, I wanted someone very authentic,” Mahesh says. “Someone who knew how to do that ‘job’ and so I ended up meeting many of the people who are living statues in NYC and David was an instant fit. I loved the fact that he had a strong acting background in addition to his skills as a living statue.”
Mahesh likes to work with narrative. She is currently working on a feature. But this film reflects her tendency to think in images.
“I love films where things are communicated visually,” Mahesh says. “And I try to keep dialog to what’s needed. I do adapt the approach to the film, but usually a visual concept will stay in my mind for a while and that will lead to characters and then story development.”
Mahesh is a filmmaker with a past life in other industry. The idea to film came after a long break, and she’s continuing on with it.
“I’ve always wanted to do something visual, but I spent the first part of my professional life in the technology/product marketing world in Silicon Valley. I made the switch to film in late 2005 when I took a sabbatical and made a couple of shorts. That propelled me to apply to the grad film program at NYU. At NYU I’ve made 3 narrative shorts, 2 of which have done nicely on the festival circuit and the third is in post-production.”