All our 2012 Tribeca Film Festival coverage can be found here.
After describing a run up to the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of her first feature as a mix of “doing cartwheels, juggling and chewing gum at the same time,” Jenny Deller let out a hearty laugh when asked if she was happy with how the final product came out.
“You know, I am,” she said of “Future Weather,” which debuts Sunday at the SVA Theater. “When I think about where we started, I actually am really pleased with the images that ended up on film. But I am also the kind of person that could just keep working on it…there’s a little bit of a joy or a pleasure in that it’s just never going to be perfect and I think things that are not perfect are even are better.”
That’s an attitude that has no doubt served Deller and her coming-of-age drama well as it continues to raise money on Kickstarter before a May 9th deadline even after it was picked to play Tribeca and the Santa Cruz Film Festival in the weeks ahead. In some ways, it only makes sense that a film about a teen (Perla Haney-Jardine) who develops an interest in global warming as a refuge from an uncomfortable life at home with her grandmother (Amy Madigan) after she’s been abandoned by her mother hasn’t had the easiest birth. It has, however, already built quite a head of steam on its way to the screen.
Deller, who once could be seen onstage in New York and in bit parts on shows such as “Law and Order,” used the money from a acting gig to begin developing “Future Weather” in 2006, intrigued by the prospect of telling a multigenerational story where age was in opposition to wisdom and dealt with issues that she wasn’t seeing in other films such as women who didn’t necessarily want to become mothers. (Deller added she can’t think of another character in the mold of Madigan’s “fierce and sexy and funny and difficult and flawed” quinquagenarian and the actress has already gone on record about her affection for the part.)
There were clearly others who felt the same way, given the financial support the production received from such organizations as the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Nantucket Film Festival and Women in Film, but “Future Weather” wasn’t immune from the usual piecemeal approach to raising a budget that only intensified after the then-13-year-old Haney-Jardine was cast in the lead. Naturally wanting to capture the young actress of “Kill Bill” and “Spider-Man 3” fame at that perfect age of being on the precipice of adulthood, Deller got friends and family to rally around a Netflix contest (that earned them the funding for the short “Save the Future,” a stepping stone for the feature) and sold handmade tote bags on her way to firming up the proper commitments to put the film into production in 2010. While a shoot in her home of Philadelphia with a cast that grew to include old pros like Lili Taylor and William Sadler surely let Deller operate in her comfort zone, she’s increasingly had to operate outside of it in order to raise funds for every step of the process that followed.
A labor of love to be sure, she insists the film isn’t autobiographical despite once attending a science and mathematics academy herself. And yet she did find that background might’ve had an unexpected application to being a filmmaker.
“I’ve definitely taken the spirit of a scientist that they go into their work with, which is experimentation,” said Deller. “I needed to take the chances and that helped me cope with that fact that, well, you know what? It could fail, but it’s all in the name of advancing an idea and a vision and a story.”
Considering that only rush tickets are now available for the film’s premiere in New York, failure doesn’t appear to be in the cards for Deller any time soon. However, that’s only more of a reason why “Future Weather” needs a helping hand to find its audience beyond its bow at Tribeca. With just a little bit of help, there could be a very sunny forecast ahead.