|Winner: Best Director Narrative Short|
|Cast: ||Lucy Walters, Onata Aprile, Mark Boyett, Alexis Sica|
|Crew: ||Producers: Lisa Melodia - Screenwriters: Lisa Melodia - Cinematographer: Edwin Martinez - Editor: James W. Harrison Iii - Composer: Sasha Gordon
Hannah is only six years old but her mom calls her a big girl. Sometimes big girls don't go to school. Sometimes they have to tell the truth and other times they should tell lies. Being a big girl means Hannah has to do things even when she doesn't want to.
Lisa Melodia is a filmmaker living in New York City. Her debut short film, Confidante, starring Gaby Hoffmann, screened at film festivals across the country including Mill Valley, Seattle International, and Athens International. Her latest short, Big Girl, began its 2014 festival run at Cleveland International, Maryland, Palm Springs International ShortFest, and Nantucket. Lisa is currently developing her first feature film, a coming of age story about a mother and daughter, music, and first loves, set in her hometown of Seattle.
For the past year, I have been dedicating my time to my writing practice. As I have been learning how I best work, I occasionally find myself using yoga as a tool of meditation and to help my ideas surface. One winter day, my yoga instructor guided my class into a pose that put considerable pressure on our hips. He warned us that we might feel an emotional release since our hips act as a well of stored memories and feelings. I did not think much of it as I awkwardly assumed the pose. But as I held the position, I spontaneously felt a wave of emotion, ambiguous but strong. Hours later, I understood its source and sat down to write Big Girl.
Big Girl was inspired by the many great films with a child protagonist at its center. The Spirit of the Beehive, Fanny and Alexander, and Ratcatcher were our visual references. My DP, Edwin Martinez, and I approached every scene by grounding it in our six-year-old Hannah's point of view. This technique is not just about keeping the camera at her eye level but also about revealing her state of mind. For Hannah, she is desperately trying to maintain a sense of control as she navigates the day that her mom lies to keep her out of school.
Filmmaking is my tool for making sense of the personal. It is how I gain control of unruly thoughts and emotions. What began as an exploration of a recent trauma's aftermath grew into a larger expression. It is about the safety of lies and painful truths. It is about a daughter who feels emotionally responsible for her mother. It is about a girl who has been robbed of her youthfulness and who now operates on the outside, separate from the world of children and adults. Big Girl is an expression of all these ideas that came from a single, powerful emotion. It is a story I had to tell.