Miami-born Director Kelly Reichardt talks about her film debut in two-part interview by Hans Morgenstern
FFCC vice chair Hans Morgenstern spoke to Miami-born indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt about the restoration of her debut 1993 feature film River of Grass, which she shot in and around North Miami.
Writer-director Kelly Reichardt recently premiered Certain Women at Sundance, where it was picked up by IFC Films for U.S. distribution and Sony for worldwide release. It reunites her once again with actress Michelle Williams and also features Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart, a stellar cast if there ever was one. Reichardt has done well for herself and grown much since her 1994 feature debut, River of Grass, so you will have to forgive a little cynicism with her hindsight view on her first film, which was recently restored by Oscilloscope Pictures with the help of actor/director Larry Fessenden, her producers and a Kickstarter campaign. “There’s no mistaking it’s from the ‘90s,” she admits, speaking from her home in New York. “Maybe it’s the learning as you go kind of thing,” she says.
One of those early lessons she took to heart was “shoot what you know,” and what Reichardt knew then was her hometown of North Miami. “That’s where I had gone to high school,” she says, “and then for a while I lived with my mom in Broward County, which is just like the paving over of the Everglades, basically, and so it’s an unnatural place to live when they’re building on top of wetlands, so that was a completely foreign situation, and then I moved back with my dad in North Miami. So that’s what I knew at the time: one story houses, 300 sunny days a year with a handful of rainy days a year …”