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Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #9: Trey Shults Hopes Audiences Will Embrace a Compelling Female Antihero

Meet the 2015 SXSW Filmmakers #9: Trey Shults Hopes Audiences Will Embrace a Compelling Female Antihero

After years of absence, Krisha reunites with her family for a holiday gathering. She sees it as an opportunity to fix her past mistakes, cook the family turkey, and prove to her loved ones that she has changed for the better. Only, Krisha’s delirium takes her family on a dizzying holiday that no one will forget [synopsis courtesy of SXSW]. Trey Shults shares details about the making of his new film “KIRSHA,” based off his short film that was awarded Special Jury Recognition at SXSW 2014.

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

A woman returns to her family after years of absence, and the only things that stand in her way are her family, dogs, and turkey. In actuality, the only thing standing in her way is her self.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

Family, love, hate, addiction, motherhood, confronting demons — It’s about someone who is at war with their own self and the effect it can have on the ones they love the most.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I live in good ole Montgomery, Texas, which I just found out is the birthplace of the Texas state flag. I live in my parent’s house where we shot the movie. I have three cats: technically one, because the other two are my girlfriend’s. My girlfriend is a flight attendant, so I get the huge benefit of flying for free, which is a big plus for a filmmaker. I love cinema, and want nothing more than to be able to make personal films for a living. “KRISHA” is my first feature film, and it was made with friends and family.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

I think the speed in which we made it. The short film played SXSW just a year ago, and we didn’t decide to fully embrace a feature until after the festival and the short’s good reception. Overall, making this film was one of the best experiences of my life, and we accomplished a lot in a year, but it came together very fast. Giving all that I had into this movie, while trying to maintain a day job and normalcy in life was tricky. Also, being as ambitious as we were with our budget was tricky.

What do you want the SXSW audience to take away from your film?

I hope they go on this journey with Krisha, and really enjoy the range of emotions the film goes through. So, I really hope audiences embrace the comedy, intensity, and tragedy of the film. Hopefully, they are impacted by the film and feel like it’s something they haven’t seen before. I’d like them to see Krisha as a really compelling female antihero, which I feel we don’t get enough of. A ton of love and care was put into the film, and I just hope that comes across in the final product.

Any films inspire you?

So many. For this particular film, I would say: “A Woman Under the Influence,” “Festen,” “Raging Bull,” “Punch-Drunk Love,” “There Will Be Blood,” “Pusher 3: I’m the Angel of Death,” “The Shining,” and many more I can’t think of.

What’s next?

I have a script written that I’m dying to make. It’s my version of a horror film. It takes the emotional intensity of “KRISHA,” and applies it to a horror film. I wrote it after my dad died. So, it applies themes of fear, death, and family.

What cameras did you shoot on?

RED Epic and RED Scarlet.

Did you crowdfund?
If so, via what platform.

Yes — we ran a Kickstarter campaign.

Did you go to film school? If so, which one? 

Nope. I’ve just spent a lot of time watching movies, making my own short films, and learning from my mistakes.

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 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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