5Q's w/Carolyn Saunders "The Wasting" Director

#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 140 characters?

Young love, sexual awakening, possessive parents, a control battle that leads to anorexia. And a nightmare of a ghost. What’s not to love?

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

The Wasting is inspired by a young woman I met when I was writing a documentary series called Ghostly Encounters. She was anorexic and could get nobody to believe that a ghostly hag was trying to suffocate her every night. I wanted to explore the hell of having a mental illness steal your credibility, so that when the line between  perception and reality becomes blurred, the person with illness is the one who doesn’t get to have a voice. It’s very much a film about all the deeper issues behind anorexia, and it’s about how everything happens because of relationships – with her parents, her boyfriend, her best friend and the dynamic between the two brothers in the film. Oh, and the music absolutely kicks ass.

The brothers in the film - Brendan Flynn and Sean Stevenson - are brothers in real life.

#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I wrote doc TV series for a decade to feed my kids, while writing feature film scripts in the dead of night. I was working on a film in Saskatchewan in a winter that was colder than Mars, as Alison Eastwood’s stand-in (don’t look anything like her..I wish!) and I showed her my first script, a dark comedy called Drilled. To my utter shock, she loved it, and she was so encouraging and supportive, it gave me the confidence to know I could do this. (And she has been continually encouraging in the years since then, I might add – everybody needs people in their corner who believe in them) Anyway, I carried on, I got a job as a script analyst for one of Canada’s biggest funding agencies, I read hundreds of scripts and my understanding of story grew and grew. Drilled is going to be shot this year with Jason Priestley directing, and in the meantime I wrote The Wasting for me to direct. As a debut female director, it was a tough road getting it made – the story of the making of this film is a movie in itself, full of intrigue, betrayal, joy, an English village of wonderful eccentrics, and several God-given miracles. But in the end, a lot of people believed in me and the story and together we got it done. Now I’m working on my next feature, a dystopian sci-fi called Island West. So the adventure continues, and I am the happiest person on the planet.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Always look forward, never look back. When things go wrong, keep the faith that got you this far, and don’t look for blame, look for solutions. Looking for blame wastes your time, and time is worth more than gold when you’re making a film. And keep praying.

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

We’re doing the festival rounds, and are looking at a theatrical release in the spring, followed by VOD. All that is still in the works right now. Our lead, Lauren McQueen, is about to be all over British TV screens in a big series, so we’re hoping that generates a lot of interest in this film. She is absolutely mesmerizing in The Wasting and we were lucky to get her when we did.

Matthew NothelferComment