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AFI Women Directors: Meet Michelle Morgan

Women and Hollywood By Kerensa Cadenas | Women and Hollywood November 8, 2013 at 9:30AM

Michelle Morgan is sick of being just a screenwriter, even though she writes scripts for major studios. Her short film K.I.T. is playing at AFI
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K.I.T.
K.I.T.

Michelle Morgan is sick of being just a screenwriter, even though she writes scripts for major studios. Most recently, her screenplay Imogene was brought to life by the talents of Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening. K.I.T. is Morgan's directorial debut, and she really wants you to like it. So if you don't, please just lie and say you do. Thanks. (Sundance)

K.I.T. is playing AFI as a part of the Shorts Program.

Women and Hollywood: Please give us your description of the film playing at AFI.

Michelle Morgan: K.I.T. is a short film which explores the relationship between a neurotic woman and the checkout girl at her neighborhood market. Or more specifically, whether or not they should try to be friends in the real world.

WaH: What drew you to this story?

MM: Our society puts so much emphasis on being "nice" and I think that kind of messes with our natural instincts. Sometimes being nice isn't being nice. It's just irritating. That's why I was drawn to this idea of a person desperately trying to be nice and having no clue how annoying she was.

WaH: What was the biggest challenge?

MM: Directing yourself can be easier in some ways, because you don't have to explain what you want to someone else. But it's a challenge in a lot of other ways. The key to it is trust. That was the biggest challenge for me, I think. Trusting myself as a performer, and learning to transition back and forth between performer and director.

WaH: What advice do you have for other female directors?

MM: Everyone is insecure when they get started. Don't think you have to feel super confident in all of your abilities to do this. A little bit of self-doubt can be helpful, I think. And don't be afraid to say exactly what you want, ask for help, and admit when you don't know something.

WaH: What are the biggest challenges and or opportunities for the future with the changing distribution mechanisms for films?

MM: I think it's such an exciting time for independent film, especially, because the endgame doesn't have to be X amount of theaters. I see audiences that are hungry for something a little more homegrown, something interesting and now they have so many more ways to get their fix. It helps put the emphasis back on why you're making a film in the first place, I think. There's less fear when you don't have to be worried about offending the masses.

WaH: Name your favorite women directed film and why.

MM: Lost in Translation - Sofia Coppola. She's just so great at capturing a feeling. I love Marie Antoinette as well. The way she layers the lighting, the music, the costumes...I love getting lost in the world she creates. I really love when the world that's been created is on equal footing with the characters. 

I'm also a big fan of Amy Heckerling. Fast Times at Ridgemont High is such an absolute perfect specimen of life at that time, in that place. She's able to make things funny, warm, ridiculous and amazingly true all at once

This article is related to: AFI Film Festival, Women Directors, Michelle Morgan, K.I.T.


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