SXSW Video Interview: Grieving and Giving Back in ‘Motherland’


So far as SXSW we’ve got to watch some incredible films, a few crappy ones, and we’ve gotten to speak with some talented filmmakers about the process behind their projects. During all of the noise and chaos that’s descended on FSR’s home base, I got a rare few hours by myself at the office while the crew was either napping, catching another round of flicks, or wandering around the office complex looking for his spirit animal. It’s a long story.

During that few hours, I tossed in a screener for Motherland, and within about ten minutes I was glad that I got to watch it alone. Because I was crying. Also because the other staff writers – and especially Neil – punish any signs of weakness with intense hazing and mockery.

The movie focuses on six women, five of whom have lost a child and one who has lost a brother – as they travel to South Africa in order to volunteer. It’s an examination of the grieving process, the intense devastation of loss, and a psuedo-experiment into what happens when you place those who understand personal loss in an environment where children die every day. Crying is allowed.

I got a chance to talk to the director/producer/editor of the film, Jennifer Steinman who had a lot to say about the difficulties of organizing such an emotional project and the aspirations she has for it. Of course, we had this deep conversation in the lobby of the Hilton here in beautiful downtown Austin (because it has the best muzak and because we like to keep things professionally unprofessional).

Check it out:

For more of the best damn coverage of the 2009 SXSW Film Festival, check out our SXSW ’09 Homepage.

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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