Filmmaker’s Name and Title: Shayna Connelly (Director/Writer)
Film Name: Gardening at Night
Length of film: 12 minutes
Genre: Supernatural drama
In 50 words or less, what’s this film about?
Gardening at Night is about waiting for news that’s inevitable, but unwelcome. It chronicles what the main character experiences while waiting for news that her oldest friend has died. Time, space and memory become all bendy and weird when she is in limbo.
What inspired you to make this film?
In 2012 my lifelong friend Anne died of leukemia. The night she passed away I went out to garden after I could no longer sit still waiting for the phone to ring with the news. The only light I had was from the motion detector lights, which kept switching off. I wrote the script several months later and got in touch with the band REM to see if I could get the rights to their song 'Gardening At Night' for the film. Through a friend I was able to get the script to the band and they agreed to allow me to use the song. When I went to make the deal with their the record company, I was told the title of my film could not be the title of their song. I protested, saying that the only action in the film was gardening at night and this was based on autobiography, not the song. They conceded and allowed me to use it. During editing it was clear that the song's pace was too fast and the effect was too jarring in the end credits. Instead I chose a recording of the real Anne telling what she was grateful for during her hospital stay. The original sound recording was too compressed to use, so I transcribed it and had the actress playing Anne in the film recite it.
Name your Top 3 Films of All Time:
The Conversation (Coppola)
This question is nearly impossible to answer!
What’s your connection to Mississippi? (If you don’t have one, why did you apply to a Mississippi festival?)
I’ve never been to Mississippi, but as a lifelong Robert Johnson fan, I couldn’t resist. In all seriousness, Crossroads Film Festival has an excellent reputation and I’m thrilled to be screening here.
Anything else you want the audience to know about your film:
Despite the somber subject matter, making the film was a joyful experience and the crew laughed a lot while making it. I know my friend Anne would approve. We shot for 4 days in my house and the neighborhood pool. I had to send my family to a hotel for 2 nights so we could shoot from dusk until dawn.