Filmmaker’s Name and Title: Ursula Ellis, writer/director
Film Name: This is Not a Love Song
Length of film: 11 min
Genre: coming-of-age drama
In 50 words or less, what’s this film about?
In this expressionistic coming-of-age film, two self-alienated teenage girls with a Wikipedia-based understanding of punk rock music attend their first live show with some unexpected consequences.
What inspired you to make this film?
When my father deployed to Iraq in 2002, I sublimated my fear, anger, and frustration by listening to The Clash on my Walkman before going to sleep at night and coercing my mother to drop me and my nerdy friends off at local punk shows. Being a part of that energy and the very specific kind of condoned, group violence present at those shows made me feel like I belonged somewhere and like I was understood on a very primal, instinctual level. It was freedom, release, and something indescribably cool -- my version of paradise.
But as I grew older and began to reflect on my "time in the pit," so to speak, I came to wonder what it was exactly that made me feel so safe in such a loud, raucous, generally male-dominated environment. "This is Not a Love Song" is an exploration of female friendship within that specific context.
In your early teens, all that matters is what you like -- what bands, movies, books, etc. But there comes a point in every friendship built on shared interests when even the most kindred of spirits diverge and are pushed to the limits where both parties must decide what is more important -- the actual friendship or the idea of that friendship? Is it more important to be liked or to be fully yourself? These are the questions that I hope are raised with this film about two very vulnerable girls trying to understand themselves and each other through the context of a music genre that is at once supremely liberating and terribly confining.
Name your Top 3 Films of All Time:
The Kid with a Bike, Fish Tank, High Fidelity
What’s your connection to Mississippi? (If you don’t have one, why did you apply to a Mississippi festival?)
While I'm not from Mississippi, I did grow up in Alabama attending local festivals like the UNA George Lindsey Film Festival, and I love attending festivals in the South! The welcoming, supportive environment I find in the South is always encouraging.