Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Not Waving But Drowning (Film Festival) (Rhoades)

“Sheer, Naive Confidence” Drives Waitt’s First Film(s)

By Shirrel Rhoades

First-time director Devyn Waitt has made two movies. Well, more precisely, her first movie is actually two films.
“I wanted to make a short film, but I thought more people would see it as part of a bigger film,” she explains. “Not Waving But Drowning” is one of the selections being shown at the Key West Film Festival.
“The two stories have similar themes,” Devyn says. “By the time you get to the end of the first film I’ve lured you into the mood of the second.”
When asked to describe the film(s) she playfully mutters something about “drawing a butterfly and a ying yang.” But a better description would be coming-of-age stories.
Autobiographical? Not really. “There’s definitely a lot of pieces of me and my friends in it, but it’s largely a collage of observations.”
Devyn Waitt grew up in a small town near Tampa. She used to visit her relatives in Marathon and drive down to Key West. They would go boating at night, looking up at the stars. Out on the water, the stars looked like they were falling on top of you,” she remembers.
After completing a major in Film, she set off for New York. Motivated by “a lot of books I read when I was little,” she wanted to be “somewhere in the middle of chaos, where things are happening.”
But things weren’t happening.
After a dead-end job with a production company, Waitt realized that if she wanted to be a filmmaker she’d have to do it on her own.
So she announced to her friends, “I’m going to make this movie.” It was “a way of applying pressure to myself to actually do it. Holding myself accountable.”
Making “Not Waving But Drowning” took four years. “It was entirely consuming,” she sighs happily.
Despite her anxiety over the production, it was a good experience. The best part? “All the people I got to make the film with,” she says without hesitation.
“It was incredible, the amount of people who supported the movie. A community kinda grew around it.”
The secret of her success? “Sheer, naive confidence,” she laughs.

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