Ellie

Film of the Week

Desperate measures are taken to escape a violent world concealed within an isolated cottage. 

Ellie screened at NFFTY 2016 in the Edge of Your Seat category. 

ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:

Morgana McKenzie is an award-winning filmmaker, creating her own short films and working as a cinematographer and colorist for other filmmakers. Morgana’s films have screened internationally at over 100 festivals and won over 30 awards. Morgana’s latest short film “Ellie” screened at over 25 festivals and won 14 awards including the Gerturde Löwengren Award for Best Fiction film from TIFF Next Wave Jump Cuts. Morgana was awarded Best Director Under 25 at the 2015 Ottawa Independent Video Awards, and Best Emerging Female Filmmaker award at NFFTY 2014 in Seattle.

Morgana's film "GIFTS" screened at NFFTY 2014, and was awarded NFFTY's first Best Emerging Female Filmmaker award, and a scholarship to The Prodigy Camp. Her narrative music video "We All Go the Same" screened at NFFTY 2015.

Morgana shooting test footage for an upcoming film. 

Morgana shooting test footage for an upcoming film. 

A Brief Interview with Morgana:

Why did you decide to make this film?

After receiving a scholarship from NFFTY in 2014 to attend The Prodigy Camp, I wrote Ellie as my camp film. Camp was an awesome experience, but ultimately shooting Ellie ended up being too complex to complete within the camp’s three hour shooting window. That incomplete 2014 version of Ellie was a learning experience, and I put the project on hold. Nearly a year later I was able to revisit the idea of making Ellie again, but back in Canada. I funded through Kickstarter and raised more than my target, worked with a professional casting director to hire union actors, and found a great location in Quebec to rent. The fact that I had to put the film on hold for a year ended up working to my advantage. With Ellie I wanted to create something in the style of a classic suspense film, where violence happens off camera and information isn’t immediately clear. Putting the film on hold allowed me time to stay true to these goals, and develop Ellie the way I saw best.

What was your favorite part about making it?

The most memorable moments for me came from the shoot days. Ellie was shot over one week in a cabin, with crew and actors staying on location. This made for a very intimate working environment where everyone became close quick. It made for better shoots, but it also gave me lasting friendships that I didn’t anticipate making. I was able to fly out my friend and fellow filmmaker Max Retik to work on lighting. We met at NFFTY and became friends, but being able to work together during that week was really wonderful. With Max and the rest of the cast and crew, the shoot became very relaxed and smooth, and one of the best I’ve had so far.

What are you working on now?

I am in the final stages of post production on a music video for the song “Atlas World” by London group Liu Bei. It is a narrative music video that follows a young child through a beautifully nightmarish journey, as the song itself is a contrast of beauty, wonder, and darkness. To achieve the look I wanted, I managed to get permits to shoot in some unique local heritage sites including caves, ruins, and bogs. But that meant long and challenging shoots, in tight spaces or outdoors in the rain, often in thigh-high water for hours at a time. The upside is I have some really interesting visuals that I’m excited to share when the music video is released in a month or two!

Find Morgana Online: 

Website: http://morganamckenzie.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/morganafilms/
Instagram: @MorganaFilms -- https://www.instagram.com/morganafilms/
Twitter: @MorganaFilms -- https://twitter.com/MorganaFilms