Indie Grits Festival | April 12-15 2018

Baby Oil

Friday, April 13 at 1:00 PM
Saturday, April 14 at 7:00 PM

Shorts Block: Southern Scenes
Shannon Silva | Wilmington, NC | 13 min
Genre: Narrative Short

Summer, 1978. Stranded in the middle of nowhere North Carolina, a young mother rides out a severe storm while struggling with how to exit her abusive marriage.

Buy Tickets 04/13 Buy Tickets 04/14

 

Meet The Filmmaker

We asked our filmmakers some questions about them and their work. For further questions, join us at the designated post-screening Q+A!

Shannon Silva:

1. What is your connection to the South?

I was born in Newport News, VA, but spent most of my life in Austin, Texas. In 2006, I returned east to Wilmington, NC and have been teaching at the University of North Carolina ever since.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for this work?

This short is actually based on a real life event from my childhood. When I was just around 2 years old, my mother and I were stuck in a trailer in the middle of nowhere North Carolina during a super cell storm event that passed through the area. It was a few days of severe storms and really embedded itself in our family mythology. My mothe was actually alone during the event, very scared and trying to keep things together so as not to frighten me. I took this story and conflated it with other stories from my mother’s experience as a young, single mom and worked those memories into the narrative. My aunt, who died quite young, is worked into the narrative as both a relief device and as sort of a memorial to what she meant to my childhood. My son, who was 6 at the time we shot, was worked into the story and takes the place of my younger character. The vignetted style of the edit is set up to acknowledge the fragmented, poetic, instability of family histories.

3. How did you start making films?

I actually fell in love with the sound of the 16mm Bolex camera when I was around 6 years old. My uncle was a cameraman in the army and would bring his camera home and let us check it out. When I pushed the “run” button, I thought it was the most magical sound I had ever heard. I think from then on I was interested in photography and cameras. By my 20s I was an art student shooting crazy, experimental, Super 8 films with an amazing non-profit collective in Austin, Texas. The organization was The Austin Cinemaker Coop.

 

4. Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?

The making of this film was a lot of fun. We got to renovate a nasty, old trailer and bring it back to life with a lot of vintage 1970s props. The team was relatively small (a core of 8, a total of maybe 18). Everyone put so much heart into transforming the space into a workable flashback. Sometimes we’d spend an hour arguing over whether or not a hand towel was historically accurate. Also, as a side note, for a film that was suppose to be all about being stuck in a storm cell…we had a heck of time dealing with weather. When we needed it to be sunny…it poured. When we needed it to rain…it was 105 degrees and SUNNY. Luckily, everyone was a great sport about it and we rolled with the schedule day by day.

 

5. What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?

I have quite a few friends who have screened their work at Indie Grits over the past decade and, after hearing their stories, cannot wait for the festival. Their tales of camaraderie, community and amazing experimental screenings have me pumped.

 

6. Why should someone see your film?

People who enjoy poetic, slice of life, narratives should come see my film. As an experimental/documentary filmmaker, playing around with narrative structure and storytelling has been an exciting experience. Meshing the three modes seemed appropriate for this particular project and I’ve enjoyed speaking with audiences about that process. Also…support female directors!

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