The big winner at the 2011 deadCenter Film Festival was a movie called “Paradise Recovered.” The movie won the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature Film and also found a distributor, signing a deal before leaving Oklahoma. The film’s director Storme Wood and writer Andie Redwine took the time to talk about their movie.
How did you come up with the idea for “Paradise Recovered?”
Andie Redwine: I was born and raised in a really high-demand church. I had a lot of good friends on the outside inform me I was involved in something that was kind of rough. I did not believe them but ended up, over two years, deciding to leave. That was a really hard step because when you leave, you are dead to everything you know. When that happened, my friends were real sweet and helped me rediscover the world. I became involved with folks who were cult activists. I felt it was really interesting because I learned about other people’s groups and they seemed like mine but their doctrine was different. I did a lot of research and started out writing a novel that was really dark. A friend of mine who helped get me out of the church was a filmmaker in L.A. and said he thought I could make this into a movie. I didn’t know anything about writing a script and he coached me through the process.
It is hard to make a movie straddling the line between respecting Christianity while pointing out the downfalls of certain sects of it. How hard was it to straddle that line in this movie?
Storme Wood: Really, for me, my whole goal in making the movie is to be as honest as I can be. Gabriel says in the movie, ‘Æ’“ ’” ’“’’¹ – “if it’s truth, it should stand up to questions.’ To me, if it is truth and you can get close to that, you can stay safe from the pitfalls of what you are talking about. We’re not trying to force a point of view on anybody. We are trying to show the characters in this world and trying to be as honest as possible. In real life, things are not always black and white. We both wanted to be respectful to atheists and Christians so anyone could enjoy the movie.
How did you choose the cast and crew for this movie?
Storme Wood: We had a fantastic casting director, Karen Halford in Austin, Texas. It wasn’t hard to choose Heather del Rio for the Esther role but the people were so good that, even if they weren’t right, you felt bad about it because they gave such a good audition. Everything happened in a really organic kind of way. I worked on a cable television shoot where I was a camera operator. There was this unassuming guy named David Blue Garcia who was a production assistant. I struck up a conversation as we were loading up and he told me he shot this other film that was at South by Southwest. Months later, Andy and I were talking about who was going to shoot this and I remembered this guy and looked him up. He had all this stuff he shot on the Red on his website that was just gorgeous.
Andie Redwine: It’s funny because we sat down with him and David said he really liked the script and would like to shoot it. I made a joke that I wanted to shoot on a Red but Storme had other ideas. David asked if we wanted to shoot on a Red because his buddy Julio owned a Red. David and Julio came in and Julio wanted to shoot a feature on his camera and train David on how to use it. In a way, the two of them worked together. Julio Quintana is one of the hardest working men I have ever seen in my life and he is brilliant.
Storme Wood: The sound was all done by one guy who worked the mixer and the boom and did the sound mix in post. It is a guy I’ve worked with for years named Jason Young. He did a lot of the Foley himself. He did this cool thing on the set where he would have the actors go over and do their ADR on set for him to drop it in. Jason said it was going to slow us down but will save money in post.
You got a distribution deal.
Andie Redwine: Our agent is Circus Road Films in Santa Monica. We met Circus Road at Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Storme met a rep from Circus Road who asked to see a copy of the film. They said they wanted to do this and got us a deal with Otter Creek. It’s been really mind blowing and Otter Creek is a smaller company who takes fewer titles so they put all their energy into these titles. We are really excited about this relationship.