Kelly Reichardt is the director and co-writer of the critically acclaimed minimalist films Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy, the latter being one of my favorites of 2008.
Wendy and Lucy is the powerful story of 20-something girl heading to Alaska to get work; her only companion is her dog, Lucy. But, in an Oregon town, one thing leads to another and Lucy goes missing. Devastated, Wendy spends the next few days searching for her friend. Simple plot, amazing results.
Reichart’s film is a really gorgeous, compassionate, passionate film – and its no typical dog story. You may find you eyes welling up but it won’t be because you just watched Old Yeller (although, now that I think about it, the dogs are pretty similar).
In December, Reichart spoke with Slant in this interview. She spoke about influences, the good and bad in filmmaking and what it means to be a successful filmmaker. Here’s an excerpt:
KR: When I’m scouting for a film, just driving around the country scouting for the movie and I’m working with my writing partner or my producers who I love and who are my dear friends or talking to Michelle [Williams] about what a character is or whatever—those are all super, super rich experiences and I’m very fortunate that I’ve had them. My best filmmaking experience, as far as an experience, has definitely been this film I made, Ode, which is like a 50-minute Super 8 film that I shot and my friend recorded sound on. It was a two-person crew and two actors and we were outside all day and it was super-challenging, there was nobody watching us and it was done completely privately. That’s where Old Joy came from, the idea of going off with a group of friends into the forest and making an art project; it was never seen that it was going to be a feature film when we were shooting it. Those are the rich parts, but what comes with all the rest of it falls into that definition of “success.”
And by the way, be on the look out at Into the Hill for soon my soon-to-be-posted conversation with Reichart’s writing partner, novelist and screenwriter Jonathan Raymond.