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Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #10: Reed Morano Battles Through Chemo to Direct ‘Meadowland’

Meet the 2015 Tribeca Filmmakers #10: Reed Morano Battles Through Chemo to Direct 'Meadowland'

READ MORE: DP Reed Morano on Making it as a Cinematographer Regardless of the ‘Female Thing’

First-time director Reed Morano makes her foray into directing with “Meadowland.” Alongside a deep cast, including Olivia Wilde in the lead and supporting turns by Luke Wilson, Giovanni Ribisi and Elisabeth Moss, Morano examines how tragedy can affect two members of one relationship in different, dangerous ways.

READ MORE: Meet the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Filmmakers

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

In the hazy aftermath of an unimaginable loss, Sarah & Phil come unhinged. Phil starts to lose sight of his morals; Sarah puts herself in dangerous situations, falling deeper into her own fever dream.

Now what’s it REALLY about?

The heart of the story is how an unimaginable loss makes these two desperate people (Olivia Wilde & Luke Wilson) completely lose themselves. It’s about the deterioration of their rationality and in the case of Olivia’s character, she is truly losing her grasp on her sanity. They both ignore the possible repercussions of their reckless actions (which become more and more out of character) as they get closer to the truth about what happened.

Tell us briefly about yourself.

I was born in Omaha, Nebraska but I only lived there until I was 8 months old, so I have no idea what it’s like there. Although we moved around a lot growing up, the one constant is that my family has had a seafood restaurant out in Fire Island since 1974, so I’ve been on the beach since I was in diapers. I used to sing in a band and we had a regular gig at the Sidewalk Cafe in the East Village every Saturday night during my college years. We were called “The Gramiccis” (named after a brand of hiking pants.) I obviously didn’t make it as a singer. I’m a DP but mostly, I’m the devoted mom of two boys, one who is a dreamer and the other has a major attitude… the apples don’t fall far from the tree. They are my muses, though I’m fairly sure they’re over me instagramming them.

Biggest challenge in completing this film?

There were the usual challenges in trying to get a drama with dark subject matter with a female lead financed – I think we all know that it’s not easy. In addition to that, our lead – Olivia – got pregnant so we pushed the shoot – but I wouldn’t say that was a challenge, it was a blessing for so many reasons that were way bigger than any movie. The most unique challenge we had was that I was diagnosed with Stage II Squamous Cell Carcinoma a few months before we were going to shoot the film. In April 2014, we ended up getting financed while I was laid up in bed with a feeding tube, from the radiation and chemo. It all worked out though; I found out I was in remission in June 2014, only a few weeks before we went into hard prep. We began shooting on August 15th and I was strong enough by that point to also DP and operate the camera.

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

I hope people realize how lucky they are. And if they’ve ever been there, I hope they realize they are not alone.

Any films inspire you?

“Paris, Texas,” “The Professional,” “Punch-Drunk-Love,” “Badlands,” “True Romance,” “The Passenger,” “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Contempt,” “The Shining,” “A Woman Under the Influence,” “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” are some of my favorite films.

What’s next?

I’m shooting an exciting HBO project with Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter and Mick Jagger that’s currently untitled about rock and roll in New York in the 70s, and setting up another feature to direct.

What cameras did you shoot on?

Arri Alexa with Arri Master Anamorphic lenses.

Did you crowdfund?
If so, via what platform. If not, why?

No. That’s a wonderful way to get documentaries funded. While it works well for many people, crowd funding to make a narrative feature isn’t for me. I would rather find a financier who is interested in coming onboard. I’m not super comfortable asking other people who probably also live paycheck to paycheck to help pay for my movie.

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

I did, I went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the days when we only shot Super16mm or 35mm and we cut on Steenbecks. After walking to school every day, three miles in the snow.

READ MORE: Meet the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival Filmmakers

Indiewire 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 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

READ MORE: 8 Female Cinematographers You Should Know About

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