Zentelis (“Evergreen”) explores the challenging relationship between a mother and a daughter when unconditional love and drug addiction get in the way in “Bottled Up.” Starring Melissa Leo, Zentelis’ dark comedy reminds audiences to live fully for themselves instead of denying their needs for the love of others. Zentelis’ describes the production of the film as a completely creative experience, as she balanced being both a mother and filmmaker at the time.
What it’s about: A solitary woman (Melissa Leo) earning her living by delivering
mail and body piercing, makes every attempt to help her volatile adult
daughter (Marin Ireland) get on her feet, and in-so-doing neglects
herself, channeling all of her womanly desires into her
houseplants…even when a charismatic and industrious environmentalist
(Josh Hamilton) moves in with them.
About the filmmaker: “Bottled Up” is my second feature as writer and director. Nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival,
and winner of Best Director at Sonoma Valley Film Festival, “Evergreen”
was my feature film directorial debut. “Evergreen,”, starring Cara
Seymour(“Adaptation,” “An Education”), Mary Kay Place(“Being John Malkovich,” “Big Love”), opened nationwide when a first-of-its-kind deal was inked
with AMC Theaters. It was developed at the Sundance Institute and also
won a NYFA Grant in screenwriting.
Other directing work includes: “Granny Was An Outlaw,’ a documentary on my
grandmother’s rescue by Raoul Wallenberg, and her subsequent
clandestine efforts to save others during the Holocaust; a film on
President Clinton and his “Clinton Foundation” for Radical Media; and
films for major record labels on Wilco, Eric Claption among others.
I have two children with my husband, Sean Fogarty, and I’m a first generation American, half Hungarian Jew and half Latvian.
What else do you want audiences to know about your film? It has amazing performances and though the subject matter is serious,
the film is in part a dark comedy. Laugh! Or cry and laugh at the same
time which pretty much sums up the making of this film.
What was your biggest challenge in developing this project? Having my second baby and nursing baby coincided with pre-production and
production of this movie….but this was also one of the most rewarding
aspects of making this film. I got to create in all senses of the word
and feel as though I was living life as fully as it could possibly be
What would you like Tribeca audiences to come away with after seeing your film? People have more strength than they know, and denying your true desires is not a life lived.
I would also feel very gratified if this film helps to broaden the
conversation about western medicine’s approach to healing and pain
Did any specific films inspire you? Nicolas Ray’s” Bigger Than Life,” Mike Leigh’s “Secrets and Lies” and “Happy Go Lucky,” Jane Campion’s “Sweetie”
What do you have in the works? I have written and hope to direct a couple original features:
“Needle at the Bottom of the Sea”
A mystery about a bank investigator involved in a major money laundering
case who strives to be the perfect employee no matter what befalls him.
This script is inspired by research into my father-in-law’s former position as an internal investigator for HSBC bank.
A comedy about a young girl who wants to grow up too fast and as a
result is sent to live with her criminal grandmother on remote island.
This script is loosely inspired by the graphic novel, “American Born
Chinese” as well as my personal experiences living with my grandmother
in a remote village in Corsica.
I’m also developing a couple series ideas.
invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films,
including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they’re
doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on April 17 for the latest profiles.