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SXSW '05 Interview: 'Troop 1500' Director Ellen Spiro

by Scott Weinberg

The 'Troop 1500' Pitch: Their mothers may be convicted thieves, murderers, and drug dealers, but the girls of Troop 1500 want to be doctors, social workers, and marine biologists. Meeting once a month at Hilltop Prison in Gatesville, Texas, this innovative Girl Scout program brings daughters together with their inmate mothers, offering them a chance to rebuild their broken relationships.

"A girl scout troop whose moms are incarcerated."


Will this be your first time at SXSW? Any other film festival experience?
I showed my doc Atomic Ed & The Black Hole at SXSW a few years ago. It won Best Short Documentary.

When you were 14 years old, if someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what would your answer have been?
An adventure photographer.

How did you get started in filmmaking?
Through photography.

How have things changed for you since your film was accepted into the festival?
Nothing has changed except my hair is messier and my dog needs a walk.

When you were shooting the film, did you have SXSW (or film festivals in general) in mind?
No, I was just trying to make my film.

How did you get your film started? How did you go from script to finished product?
I met a girl scout troop leader named Julia Cuba whose troop of girls all had moms in jail...I don't have scripts, just transcripts.

What’s the one glaring lesson you learned while making this film?
You never finish a film, you just have to end it.

When you were in pre-production, did you find yourself watching other great movies in preparation?
No, I absorb a lot of cultural products: plays, books, art, and
occasionally film.

If a studio said ‘we love this, we love you, you can remake anything in our back catalogue for $40m’ – what film, if any, would you want to remake?
The Passion of Joan of Arc

--

Troop 1500 will premiere at the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival. Click here for more information.


link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=1365
originally posted: 02/18/05 16:23:16
last updated: 02/18/05 16:23:43
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