When you combine a heartbreaking story, a fabulous young actress whose career is just beginning and a plot about a young girl’s environmental passion, what do you get? “Future Weather,” that’s what.
Written, produced and directed by Jenny Deller, the film focuses on 13-year-old Lauduree (Perla Haney-Jardine) who is learning to survive after her mother (Marin Ireland) abandons her to pursue a makeup career in L.A.
In between the chaos, Lauduree copes with the mess by remaining faithful to her one true love – the planet. She finds solace in her carbon sequestration experiment, which she hopes will one day solve global warming, and by joining her school’s science club. Laudree’s independence, her strong environmental stance and her fragility as a young girl who misses her mother, is quite extraordinary.
The film also stars the amazingly talented Amy Madigan as Lauduree’s grandma and the equally successful Lili Taylor as her science teacher.
Ecorazzi was lucky to speak with Deller about her new film and its environmental themes. Read ahead to learn more about “Future Weather.”
Ecorazzi: Why don’t you first discuss the inspiration behind the film? How did it come to be?
Jenny Deller: The seed image was one that came from a daydream I had when I was 13. I read a lot of young adult novels and I walked into the library one day and had this little daydream about a girl who opens her mailbox and finds a postcard from her mother. There was something both sad about it and romantic at the same time . . . When I started writing the script, that image stuck with me. I knew I wanted to tell a mother, daughter story. I knew abandonment was kind of the exciting incident . . . It wasn’t until a few weeks later, that the global warming element came in.
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted [Lauduree] to be interested in the outdoors and the environment. In the beginning, it kind of grew out of what I sensed was her way of taking refuge from a pretty chaotic home life. Then, my mother sent me this article about global warming that was like the needle on the record scratching. It was an absolutely terrifying article. I was aware of global warming, but I was not aware that things had gotten to such a crisis point. It was a very emotional experience for me and I started noticing the parallels between what I was experiencing and what my character was experiencing . . . It just made sense to pull it into the story.
Ecorazzi: The film has such a grand eco-focus, did you maintain a green set during production?
Deller: We tried to be as sustainable as we could on a low budget . . . I felt a lot of pressure for the environmental community to take this movie seriously we should really try to create a green set . . . We [Deller and another producer] just realized that we were going to have to tailor the plan to [something] we could actually execute and not make it something too intimidating to actually do. I think that actually became a really good guideline for us, because it also helped us to be able to say “you don’t have to be a multi-million dollar Hollywood movie to green your set.” We partnered with local [green] businesses . . . One of the things we were most proud of was eliminating plastic water bottles on set. We bought everybody in the crew a metal water bottle and we labeled everybody’s bottle . . . The other cool thing that we did is we partnered with a company called Philly Compost. They basically do compost pick-up all around Philadelphia [where “Future Weather” filmed] for businesses and residents. They provided us with bins, special bags and it was a great way for us to go that little bit extra.
Ecorazzi: Let’s talk about Lauduree. Is Perla as green as her character?
Deller: Perla does not work on scripts that don’t motivate her or interest her in some way. She was very drawn to the environmental message in the script and very interested in the science that Lauduree was interested in. It made it really easy to approach that part of the story with her.
Ecorazzi: Lauduree is a bright, strong, independent, young girl who never apologizes for her environmental passion. Did you purposely write her that way to serve as a role model for young girls and boys, especially those that love the planet?
Deller: Yeah. I felt like I had not really seen a representation of an environmentalist in a movie that felt authentic. It always felt very stereotyped and kind of negative. I just don’t think that’s accurate . . . I wanted to also show people that science is interesting and creative and requires imagination and to make that link between science and the environment.
Ecorazzi: Lastly, what’s one message you hope viewers take away from the film?
Deller: It’s about surviving change. That could be something on a grand scale like climate change and trying to face that unknown. It could be on a personal scale [like] moving to a new city or school or going through a divorce or whatever it is. Change is always scary and I think if people could come away with a sense of courage and hope and a sense that you don’t have to go through these things alone that we can find strength.
In addition to Haney-Jardine, Deller also revealed that Madigan, Taylor, Ireland and the rest of the crew found the film meaningful on an environmental scale. “They all have their own personal interests in the environment.”
“Future Weather” is currently available on DVD, being screened at select locations and available for streaming right on your computer. Click here for more information, and be sure to watch the trailer.