Filmmaker Emily Hagins celebrated her 20th birthday while creating "Grow Up, Tony Phillips" which she wrote and directed. Having begun filmmaking at the young age of 12, "Grow Up, Tony Phillips" is her fourth feature. Hagin's last feature, "My Sucky Teen Romance", played at SXSW in 2011, and was distributed by Dark Sky Films.
What it's about: "Grow Up, Tony Phillips" is a Halloween-set comedy about an 18-year-old who doesn't think you ever get to old to trick 'r treat.
What else audiences should know: "It's about the transition process of finally realizing you're entering the real world, and not about the drugs/sex/angsty stuff that makes up a lot of teen movies. I graduated high school in 2011, and I kept seeing these movies that had teen characters all wrapped up in technology and not about their real face-to-face interactions. Hoping to not have technological advances solely define this generation, this movie has no texting or internet use in it...it just assumes those things happen in other scenes that just aren't in the movie. So it's not a period piece either, I was just hoping to make something that more universally connects the overall high school experience."
On challenges: "It's a simple movie, so that lent to a lot of possibilities in the direction the story could take. But luckily our team understood that the big picture was really just a character-driven story, and everyone from the production design team to our actors really worked hard to bring these characters and their world to life."
Films that inspired her: "A lot of John Hughes movies for sure, they feel the most accurate to high school to me."
What's next: "A couple of thriller/horror movies, and hopefully another comedy."
Indiewire invited SXSW 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 festival.