Recently, I met artist/actress India Salvor Menuez
, 21, and writer/director Elizabeth Wood
, 32, at the Killer Films
office in New York City, where the movie White Girl
was first born. “Christine had been my idol for many years,” says Wood, the film’s creator, of her first meeting with legendary producer, Christine Vachon. “I saw Kids
when I was 13, and it turned me into the person who made this movie.” Vachon and Killer films backed not only Kids
, but Boys Don’t Cry
, and more recently Still Alice
is now in post-production, which means Wood’s been busy editing footage. Meanwhile, Menuez, who plays Katie in the film, is in post-production on her own project, a fantasy film called Technology
. The two first met backstage at a Cibo Matto
concert. It was Catfish
's Henry Joost and Rel Schulman, partners of Supermarche, White Girl
’s other executive producers, that first suggested Menuez for a role. The story is tricky territory as it's based on Wood’s real-life experience. “I moved to the hood, fell in love with a drug dealer, and when he went to jail, I made it my life's mission to get him out,” she says of being an Oklahoma native who found her way to New York.
"Did you?" I ask.
India’s character, Katie, is the best friend of Leah (Wood) and is played by Homeland
actress, Morgan Saylor. Musician Brian "Sene" Marc from Denitia and Sene
plays the role of the drug dealer, Blue.
I ask India how it was to work with Wood. “Inspiring because, one: there's not enough female directors in general and two: she's a female director who is so strong and wrote the screenplay from her own life experiences," she tells me. "I’ve been on set and seen a female director get stepped all over my male DP or AD. Everyone has a strong opinion when you hire good people, but at the end of the day, Elizabeth wasn’t afraid to clarify her vision.”
Wood returns the compliment by saying, "India is really fun to work with. She’s so natural and will do just about anything.