“This is not a movie condemning anti-depressants whatsoever. It’s just a movie about the safety.” – Kelly Walker
At the heart of My Fiona is a successful young woman, Fiona (Sara Amini), who inexplicably ends her life, leaving behind her young son Bailey (Elohim Nycalove), her life partner Gemma (Corbin Reid) and her closest friend and business associate Jane (Jeanette Maus).
Although grief serves as the story trigger for this touching, honest, sensitively directed film, writer/director Kelly Walker was eager to raise questions about the culture of medication while exploring the unpredictable emotional fallout following such a tragedy.
Born in Brisbane, Walker left Australia for Los Angeles after finishing high school to pursue an acting career. She appeared in shows such as Last Man Standing and Swamp Thing before finding her feet as a director and writer through making short films. My Fiona is her debut feature.
Based in Los Angeles but speaking from her brother’s abode in Oklahoma, the heavily accented Walker was in high spirits for our interview; illuminating, funny and sometimes touching, she discusses the idea behind the film, its purpose, production funding and the life-changing influence of Fight Club, which she first saw when she was 15.
She also reflects on the impact of losing her lead actress and close friend Jeanette Maus, who died of cancer in January. She was 39.
As an independent American filmmaker, Walker bravely submits herself to The Schembri Challenge, in which she is made to respond to a hypothetical film world scenario.
Walker proves herself a witty, wise and open conversationalist here, including several unwitting demonstrations of the psychic powers she claims to possess. It’s quite impressive.
My Fiona screens at the Melbourne Queer Film Festival Saturday 13 March @ 6:30pm Cinema Nova and Sunday 14 March @ 5pm Jam Factory. For screening details & tickets visit: here
The film is also available online. For MQFF program details & tickets visit here
00:00 Story outline of My Fiona;
01:06 Intention with the film;
01:23 Over-prescription of medication;
02:30 Kelly Walker demonstrates her psychic abilities;
02:45 Raising questions about the safe use of meds;
03:50 The influence of Fight Club;
05:55 Dealing with grief;
07:20 Learning from the experience;
07:38 Challenging the notion of closure;
09:56 Jeanette Maus; her passing, the impact on Kelly Walker and on the film;
12:00 Speaking about her strength; reflecting on working with her;
16:40 Responding to criticism that the early part of the film is too choppy;
18:50 Does the child in the film seem too wise and articulate?
19:45 Portraying bisexuality as a non-issue;
21:35 Raising the finance privately;
23:00 Why professional crew people are so keen to work on low-paying independent projects;
25:00 Being conscious about returns to investors;
26:17 The Schembri Challenge; remaking My Fiona with a studio cast;
29:30 Next projects.