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Tribeca 2015 Women Directors: Meet Melanie Shaw – ‘Shut Up and Drive’

Tribeca 2015 Women Directors: Meet Melanie Shaw - 'Shut Up and Drive'

Melanie Shaw was born and raised in Los Angeles. Her short films have been featured in the LA Film Festival, NYU’s New Visions and Voices (2010 Best Director), and more. In 2011, Shaw directed a feature film with the theater/film group The Collectin called “Running Wild.” (Tribeca Film Festival

Shut Up and Drive” will premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival on April 16. 

W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.

MS: It’s a road-trip film about two girls traveling from LA to New Orleans to visit one of their best friends and the other one’s boyfriend and how they get to know each other through this experience. 

W&H: What drew you to this story?

MS: Two of my friends, Zoe Worth and Kelsey McNamee, came to me with the story for this film. I wanted to take on this project because I thought it was a great opportunity to collaborate and make a film about female friendship. This collaboration broadened to include Sarah Sutherland. We used improv to develop the scenes, and ultimately this became a great way get to know one another, just as the characters did in the film.

W&H:What was the biggest challenge in making the film?

MS: I usually work with the same people on my projects and there is a shorthand that comes with familiarity. My challenge on this film was learning to communicate and work with new personalities.

W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theatre?

MS: I don’t know if there is one specific thing I want people to think. There are so many different audiences; I want people to relate to it and take something away from it. Maybe it will even teach me something new.

W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?

MS: My advice for other female directors is that you should stay true to yourself. Like what you like and make what you want to make.

W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.

MS: This film was financed by a company called StarStream Entertainment. StarStream provided the materials we needed to make the film.

W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why. 

MS: I love Jane Campion, Nancy Meyers and Nora Ephron. But as far as female filmmakers go, Elaine May is my favorite. The work she and Mike Nichols did together is some of the most innovative and is really funny. The performances are great and her films are amazing. I would recommend “Mikey and Nicky.”

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