Stella Meghie has a blind script deal at Warner Brothers, a pilot in development with John Wells Productions, a comedy optioned by BET and a deal to pen a feature script for VH1. Meghie is a Tribeca Film Institute fellow and Showtime’s Tony Cox Award recipient for her feature debut “Jean of the Joneses.” (Press materials)
“Jean of the Joneses” will premiere at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival on March 13 .
W&H: Please give us your description of the film playing.
SM: An unexpected death shakes up an outspoken Jamaican-American family — the Joneses. One of the youngest, Jean, falls for the paramedic who answers their call but the courtship has a few obstacles including a disorderly funeral.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
SM: I grew up in a very large, blunt family of women. I was born in Toronto but my family immigrated from Jamaica to Toronto and Brooklyn in the 70s. They were a big inspiration.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
SM: Our budget dictated a short production schedule and we had a pretty large cast. We took what we raised and just made it work.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
SM: I want the characters to resonate with them and their lives. I want people to feel like they enjoyed themselves.
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
SM: Don’t care what people are thinking about you if you have to say no, or if you have to ask for something you need to do your job properly.
W&H: What’s the biggest misconception about you and your work?
SM: That I’m not telling a universal story.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
SM: Telefilm Canada was first in with funding. We shot in Toronto and Brooklyn.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
SM: “Slums of Beverly Hills” by Tamara Jenkins is one of my favorites. I watched that film a lot when I was in school before I wrote “Jean of the Joneses.”