Marie By February 10, 2015 0 Comments

The Richmond International Film Festival is proud to be screening the first feature film from Frank Hall Green.

“I knew my first feature would be set in the outdoors,” understates Frank Hall Green, whose film, Wildlike, covers an immense amount of ground. Like, actual ground. Intensely beautiful, sweeping, lush yet stark vistas of ground.

Green and his wife took a trip to Denali in 2003, and they could never quite get it out of their heads. After successfully establishing himself in show biz as a producer and writer and short-film director, it didn’t take long for Green to decide exactly what piece of outdoors he wanted his first feature film to inhabit.

“At the same time, I kept coming back to the idea to do something about sexual abuse and misogyny in general. One of the things that struck me several years ago when I started learning more [about sexual abuse]–all the victims really suffer lifetime damage,” Green explains about the jumping off point for Wildlike. “And then as I researched it more, I learned that the frequency of these events is not reported accurately.”

Wildlike‘s protagonist, Mackenzie (played by Ella Purnell) is, for all intense and purposes, unloaded onto an uncle who lives in Alaska. She’s a vulnerable 14-year-old with a newly dead father, her mom’s in some sort of mysterious and vaguely selfish-seeming treatment in Seattle, and she’s basically got no one in her corner.

Disappointingly, her uncle takes advantage of this situation. And in an especially tense scene in a particularly beautiful setting, Mackenzie gets the hell out of Dodge.

“The story of someone running into the outdoors and finding something there. I kind of put all the pieces together right at the same time. This is something she can run from and somewhere she can run to,” says Green.

Ella Purnell was 15 when she began filming. Her tendency to chew on her sleeves while her enormous eyes avoid contact is so perfectly troubled teenage girl that, if you’ve been a teenage girl yourself, you immediately recognize and unearth the discomfort, the anger, and the confusion you felt when you realized that adults sure know how to let someone down.

Green had auditioned a number of Disney and Nickelodeon actresses for the part, and nothing really clicked. They were too polished, and he knew the role required something more raw. He came back to his hotel room after a round of auditions in Los Angeles and caught some of Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go, in which Purnell plays Keira Knightley’s character’s younger self. Green had one of those “That’s it! That’s my Mackenzie!” moments that you see in films about filmmaking, and shortly thereafter, the actress was on board.

Read More: rvanews.com

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