Kelly Walker [Interview]

Hello Folks! I am so very excited about this one! If you are a regular reader here, or simply returning from yesterday, you know how much I loved the film My Fiona, which we featured yesterday. Well, now we are so fortunate to be able to have the film’s brilliant writer & director here to grace our digital pages today! It’s Kelly Walker, Everyone!

I was completely unaware that My Fiona is actually Walker’s feature film directorial debut. It’s actually quite insane that it is, because it is so damn good! Kelly is also a performer, editor, all of the things! I dare say that Kelly Walker is the future of film and television. I’m not even kidding. Everyone NEEDS to see My Fiona. Read this interview, read what we talked about previously, and then just get it done. You will be thanking me later.

So, I am going to relinquish and further babbling, and let you all get to some wonderful words from the great Kelly Walker! Enjoy!

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What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it something you aspired to do since your youth, or did you happen to find yourself in this world one day?

Growing up in Australia, my Mom loved sharing films with me as I was growing up. I was probably too young to see the films I did (Gypsy and Flashdance at six years old? Questionable). I think that’s what got me into filmmaking at such a young age. I started making feature-length films with my best friend when we were 12 years old. These films were terrible, but our hearts were all in! We would write, direct, act, produce and edit one feature a year and then force everyone we knew to watch them. I think it was inevitable that I would go on to pursue filmmaking. Also, my aunt lived in Los Angeles and is a sitcom writer. So I think having that connection to the industry made it feel doable and not just a fantasy. I moved to Los Angeles when I was seventeen and the rest is history! 

What was your first paid gig in the world of entertainment? And were there any sort of lessons learned from this experience that still affects your work to date?

Good question! I didn’t have many money-making skills outside of filmmaking. I had worked at Subway for a hot minute in high school, but it didn’t last long because I was a slow sandwich maker. (Their words, not mine!) When I landed in LA, I jumped right into freelance video editing. I think it taught me to be super-efficient with my time since I was creating my own schedule. All those years of editing made me feel confident to jump into directing. The film lives and dies in the editing room and I think my biggest strength as a director is being able to reverse engineer the process. 

I absolutely LOVED your film My Fiona. It’s seriously one of the best films I have seen this year, by a long shot. Could you tell our readers a bit about this project? What made you want to bring this story to the world?

Thank you!!! The story is based on experiences from life. When I was 12 years old, my babysitter passed away from suicide. It left a real impact on my life and I developed a fear of people I love dying. And with each loved one’s death I’ve experienced, it’s made me realize that no grief is alike, and the journey is navigated at your own pace. I really wanted to liberate the stigma around grief and look at it from a judge-free perspective. 

Another aspect of the film is the exploration of sexual identity. I identify as bisexual, but it wasn’t until I was happily married to my husband that I started talking about it openly. Actually, it was through writing My Fiona that I really took ownership of this part of myself. I wanted to explore the idea that love can be circumstantial; it can be forever or for just a moment, and more importantly, it can be with anyone. Jane’s story showed me that the only identity that matters is the one we give ourselves, and we should celebrate our ownership over our identity. 

Lastly, My Fiona is a love letter to female friendships. The women in my life have been magical soul mates and also the source of intense heartbreak. Sometimes your friends know you more than you know yourself, and our identities can be wrapped up in those relationships. I think friendship is less explored on film, and I wanted to honor my ladies and my incredible love for them. 

I have several of my own takeaways from the film that I formulated in my own mind. But, I am curious to know what you believe viewers of My Fiona should (hopefully) take away from this incredibly emotional journey? Without spoiling too much, what should our readers be on the lookout for? And should tissues be readily available?

Grief is unwritten, and there’s no right or wrong way to experience loss. Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge others. You are never cured of grief, you learn to live alongside it. That may sound depressing, but I actually find it liberating. Humans are resilient, and we can survive just about anything. There’s nothing better in life than surprising yourself. 

I also raise questions about the problematic doctor/patient relationship regarding mental health in our country. I hope if the audience is interested in this aspect of the film, they’ll do their own research. Who knows, maybe when they or a loved one needs help, they’ll have a more informed perspective that in turn could save a life.

If you were handed the opportunity to create the biopic of any legendary figure in American history, who would it be?

Woah! You wanna hear something wild?! The two scripts I’m working on right now are Bio Pics!!! I have a feature about Audrey Hepburn and her marriage to Mel Ferrer. I am a HUGE Audrey fan, and I think there are elements of her story that haven’t been told, and I would love to put a voice to her experience. I am also developing a limited series called Vice Versa. It’s based on the hidden life of Edythe Eyde, a naive secretary in the 1940s. She covertly created the first-ever magazine for lesbians during a time of suspicion, communism and vice raids in America. I randomly stumbled upon Edythe’s story last year and have fallen completely in love with her writing, outlook on life, and what she did for the queer community. Her story is relatively unknown, and I feel this sense of responsibility to get her message out there! 

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Hehe. I think I just did above 🙂 You can follow me @girldownunda on Instagram or check out www.kellywalker.tv to stay up to date with all things filmmaking. 

What was the last thing that made you smile?

The little things in life fill me up with so much joy. My dogs’ tails wagging when I walk in the door. My husband squeezing my shoulder as he passes me in the hallway. The plants in my office, the crystals all over the house. Texts from friends that simply say – I love you. It’s been a rough year for all of us, and I think we need to make it a priority to look for the little wins and little joys. That’s what life is all about. 

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

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