Each week, indieWIRE usually gathers up four or five projects in progress to feature in a single column. Now it’s going to be a daily feature, so there will be a singular spotlight on one project each day. Most Fridays, the daily project will give attention to a bigger film in production that has financing.
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Writer/Director: Miriam Kruishoop ("Vive Elle," "Under the Palms")
Starring: Manny Perez, Paige Hurd, Vivica A. Fox and Adrian Bellani.
When Dutch filmmaker Miriam Kruishoop moved to Los Angeles, she found herself fascinated by the struggles of undocumented immigrants. Last fall, she approached producer Bronwyn Cornelius with her screenplay, "Crosstown," which tells the stories of two families dealing with the repercussions of immigration.
The first is an immigrant family who sends their son to the military in exchange for promised naturalization papers, but the son is killed and the papers never come. The second family is trying to stop a romance between their teenage daughter and a recently-initiated Salvadorian gang member. Cornelius signed on right away.
"I was drawn to the subject matter and in January we geared up full-on," she told indieWIRE over a call from the Los Angeles set. "We were prepping by May and filming in June, so it felt like all the stars aligned and it was meant to happen."
The quick production time isn't the only unique thing about the film. "We're shooting in Los Angeles, which, these days, isn't even that common. And we pulled together an amazing team; all of our department heads are women. We have a female writer-director, a female producer, a female DP, and everyone from the stunt coordinator to the production coordinator on down are all women."
The team isn't just looking to make a good film; they also want to make sure their work is making a difference. "It's the responsibility of the filmmakers to do the advocacy work and help tackle the on-screen issues in our communities. We intend to follow all the way through with strategic community partnerships," added Cornelius. "We're putting out money where our mouth is, I guess, because we feel we have to do some good by exposing some of the issues."
"Crosstown" is currently filming on location, and though the team are focused on the tasks at hand, they are already thinking ahead. "We're hustling to meet the core festival deadlines. We've got high hopes for for the Sundances and Berlins of the world," said Cornelius. "We absolutely intend on it being a festival piece."
They're also committed to sharing their filmmaking experience with audiences and aspiring filmmakers. "We're trying to be very transparent with the whole indie experience, so we've been documenting the entire production and sharing it through social media outlets. We're encouraging people who are interested in what it looks like and how it works to get involved. I think that's quite unusual, and we're all passionate independent filmmakers, so we think it's important for people to see that, yes, you can get out there and do this, so don't wait for the right moment.
"Just do it, because here's how it works."
For more information and daily updates from the production in real time, visit their Facebook page.