SXSW 2022 Women Directors: Meet Linda Goldstein Knowlton – “Split At The Root”


Linda Goldstein Knowlton is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker, working in documentary, scripted function movies, and tv. Her award-winning documentary “We Are The Radical Monarchs”  premiered at SXSW in 2019 and was launched on PBS in 2020. She produced the award-winning “Whale Rider” and “The Transport Information,” and for her directorial debut she co-directed “The World Based on Sesame Road,” which debuted on the 2006 Sundance Movie Competition and aired on PBS. Goldstein Knowlton directed and produced one of many six, Emmy-nominated documentaries for the “PBS MAKERS: Girls Who Make America” sequence, and produced the documentary “Code Black,” the premise for the CBS one-hour drama.

“Cut up at The Root” is screening on the 2022 SXSW Movie Competition, which is happening March 11-20. Discover extra data on the fest’s web site.

W&H: Describe the movie for us in your individual phrases. 

LGK: My intention with this movie is to inform an intimate, private story in addition to proving context as to why so many individuals really feel they don’t have any selection however to depart their properties and discover security within the U.S.

Our story is being instructed by girls on each side of the modern immigration fiasco.

W&H: What drew you to this story? 

LGK: Once I realized concerning the Zero Tolerance Coverage being put in place in 2018 I, like many, have been vibrating with rage.  And, like many, wanted to do one thing along with flood my representatives with calls about needing to place a cease to this merciless and inhuman coverage ASAP.

Effectively earlier than I realized concerning the badass girls of Immigrant Households Collectively, I signed as much as take part in an act of civil disobedience with the group By no means Once more Motion to close down the LA workplaces of The Geo Group, one of many two, main for-profit detention facilities utilized by ICE.  I had the flexibility and privilege to place my physique on the road, and I felt it was the least I might do; I used to be arrested with 20-plus others after efficiently shutting down the workplaces and including to the general public strain being placed on lawmakers.

Marti Noxon, who I’ve identified for 15-plus years and labored with on “Code Black,” met with the co-founders of IFT across the time of my arrest.  She noticed my submit on Instagram and known as me to say, “I feel I’ve your subsequent movie.  The co-founders of IFT and a number of other of the households they’re working with need their tales instructed in order that this ongoing story doesn’t get misplaced within the chaotic information cycles of the Trump administration.”  So right here we’re.

W&H: What would you like individuals to consider after they watch the movie? 

LGK: The story of households separated on the border made headlines for weeks in 2018, prompting widespread protest and a change in coverage. Nevertheless, the 1000’s of individuals impacted by Zero Tolerance are nonetheless struggling the emotional, authorized, and monetary results whereas pursuing asylum.

There are nonetheless over 303 dad and mom separated from their youngsters — and over 2,000 youngsters whose reunification standing can’t be accounted for. Even earlier than COVID, asylum-seekers got court docket dates in 2024, which have now been pushed into 2026. Whereas our story begins throughout — and due to — the Trump administration, the tales of the households that IFT helps are nonetheless unfolding as Biden tries to reunite households whereas straddling the third-rail of U.S. immigration coverage.

We hope the movie will interact individuals and to indicate that each individual might help to make change for an additional individual — and get loud. What might assist greater than to maintain the eye on the individuals our authorities flippantly created life-long trauma?

W&H: What was the most important problem in making the movie? 

LGK: COVID, fundraising (exacerbated by COVID), and capturing safely in COVID.

W&H: How did you get your movie funded? Share some insights into how you bought the movie made.

LGK: We have been so lucky to have true, deep assist from Marti and Chilly Iron Photos.  The remainder has been a mix of grants and fairness traders.

W&H: What impressed you to change into a filmmaker? 

LGK: It began with being an enormous reader from a younger age and loving tales and storytelling.  I had a bit of detour after I was pre-med in faculty however was introduced again to storytelling after I received what I believed was a random job to be Jean Firstenberg’s secretary — sure, this was pre-assistant days — at AFI in DC.

I began producing particular occasions for AFI and continued doing that after I moved to LA.  That course of immersed me into movie and filmmaking, which introduced me again to storytelling.

W&H: What’s one of the best and worst recommendation you’ve obtained?

LGK: Once I was producing scripted movies, a a lot older, male producer instructed me I needs to be a director as a result of I’m “bossy.”

W&H: What recommendation do you may have for different girls administrators?

LGK: Tremendous easy: put together, hear, handle individuals’s expectations, and talk these expectations clearly.

Be your self. Folks can inform if you’re being inauthentic and might make them really feel much less assured in doing their job.  Conversely, by being your true self, individuals will rise to satisfy you in your ardour and dedication to the movie.

W&H: Title your favourite woman-directed movie and why. 

LGK: In 2019 we had our world premiere of “We Are The Radical Monarchs” at SXSW, and answered this query with Niki Caro’s “Whale Rider.” It’s simply too arduous now to select only one movie, so I’ll say Sally Potter’s “Orlando,” Sarah Polley’s “Tales We Inform,” and Lynne Ramsay’s  “Morvern Callar,” which I coincidentally noticed with Niki Caro when it premiered at TIFF!

W&H: How are you adjusting to life in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you preserving artistic, and if that’s the case, how?  

LGK: Effectively, we began making this movie in 2019 and are nearly to ship the movie to SXSW, so undoubtedly preserving artistic!

W&H: The movie trade has a protracted historical past of underrepresenting individuals of shade onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — unfavourable stereotypes. What actions do you suppose must be taken to make it extra inclusive? 

LGK: I really feel like there needs to be a move chart in each government and agent’s workplace for with regards to giving a director their second movie: they’ve one other path to observe to see if they’re giving BIPOC filmmakers and white filmmakers equitable alternatives for a inexperienced gentle.  Can be good to have this for first-time filmmakers, too — in any other case how will there be alternatives to make that second movie?


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