Director Michael Sneed’s feature film “Crystal” was a big winner at the Royal Starr Film Festival this year.
Not only was it awarded the “Best Narrative Feature” by a judging committee at the Royal Starr Film Festival., its star, 12 year old Trinity Rose Miller received “Best Actress in a Feature Film.”- Not bad considering that this was Trinity’s very first role. The movie is being marketed this week at The American Film Market, one of the industry’s top gatherings, in Santa Monica, CA.
Sneed allowed MMM2.0 this interview and these details behind this story.
Congratulations I understand are in order as your feature Crystal was selected at the Royal Starr Film Festival as best narrative. Congratulations! Was this a People’s Choice Award, did you have any prior notice that you were nominated? How did you find out?
Actually this wasn’t the People Choice award but was awarded by the Judging Committee. We also won Best Actress in a Feature which went to Trinity Rose Miller. Totally deserved it too.
How were you notified that you, Trinity and your movie had won?
There was no official announcement but after the screening one of the committee asked if I was attending the award ceremony. So I thought maybe I should go. We only found out about the awards at the ceremony on Sunday. Before we got out of the building the news was posted on Facebook et cetera and spread quickly of course.
Describe the screening of Crystal. How well was this screening attended? When it was announced that you had won, what was every one’s reaction?
The screening was truly great. We sold out the big theatre at Emagine Royal Oak. No one had seen the film yet, so the anticipation was tremendous. The best part for me was, I felt like the crowd was totally into the film. As for the production….. it looked really good projected and the sound was very good also.
When it was announced that you had won, what was every one’s reaction? For those who may not have seen “Crystal’ offer us a synopsis of the movie? Starting with the genre.
For this who haven’t seen Crystal….it’s a coming of age drama about a 10 year old girl from Kansas who lives in a terrible environment of drug users and dealers. The story come to a head when she is about to be sold to a man in another country by her uncle. She narrowly escapes to Michigan and her uncle pursues. Eventually she has to make a choice between breaking a promise to her dead mother and saving herself or keeping the promise and saving her new friends.
What was your inspiration for this story line?
My inspiration for the story….hmm. well I like stories with strong female characters and I seem to be drawn to the age when a child is forced to reckon with the real world. Unfortunately too many children don’t get to be children long enough these days. Crystal is a perfect example of a very intelligent girl who has been an adult sense about age 7.
Was this a script that you had written by yourself? Or did you have help?
I wrote the script entirely by myself. I did have it vetted throughout the series of versions though.
The star of this production was a wonderful young actress. How did you find her for this role? How many others did you audition for this part?
Yes, Trinity Rose Miller who played Crystal was wonderful. And it was her first role! We did an extensive audition process and auditioned a lot of girls and had several callbacks. It was very difficult because the actresses were so young and the story’s world is very dark. We had to find a tough strong character that still had glimpses of the child sneaking through. We were lucky to find Trinity and certainly made the right choice.
Who else appears in this production?
The film has a great cast throughout. Mostly all from Michigan too. The only nonlocal is Jason London (‘Dazed and Confused”, “Broken Vessels’) who is a Hollywood talent. I can’t mention everyone here, but it was also the screen debut for Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin who played Kelly so wonderfully. The chemistry between her hand Trinity had to be just right.
How long did it take to produce the movie?
I started on the script about 4 years ago. After many revisions we went for it.The Preproduction was about 3 months June – September 2016. We shot 23.5 days in Sept- December 2016. And then post production took till October 2017.
Now that your film has won, what plans do you have for the marketing of the film? Have you lined up distribution?
Marketing. The films brand new so we’re just starting the process of seeking distribution. We have an agency representing the film at the American Film Market and beyond so we’re hoping for the best for all the people who worked so hard endgame so much of their talent and time.
On what else are you presently working?
What else are we working on?I have a new feature script that borders on science fiction but is really more like science fact. We plan to shoot a couple of TV pilots this in thinnest few months as well. And…….. I’ve started writing the sequel to ‘Crystal’ which should shoot in spring of 2019.
For more on Michael Sneed
For more on Crystal