On The Scene: Rooftop Films Hosts ‘White Girl’ Special Screening

Last Thursday, Rooftop Films hosted a sold out screening of Elizabeth Wood’s “White Girl.” A graduate of Columbia’s Film School, the narrative marks her directorial debut and premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.

Scheduled to be released in theaters’ September 2nd, White Girl takes place in the inter city streets of Brooklyn. The story follows the life of a college girl name Leah (Morgan Saylor) who lives a risky life full of sex, drugs and partying. She falls in love with her Puerto Rican drug dealer neighbor, Blue played by Brian Marc. The two start selling to her affluent white colleagues and make a profit. Their success comes to an abrupt halt when Blue is arrested and Leah’s left with a large sum of his cocaine.

Check out our excessive Q&A with the cast and crew.

Question: Tell us about the origin of this film and how it came to be?

Elizabeth: This is based on a true story, not a bio-pic per say.

Question: Talk about shooting in the area, your personal story is not far from here?

Elizabeth: It’s amazing we shoot all on the block based on the true story. The deli that they met is the romantic deli where it all began. It was back before there was even white people here.

Question: Tell us about how you got the cast? Morgan, how did you get involved in this? It’s a pretty juicy role. It’s controversial in a lot of ways, it you have any reservations about it?

Morgan: Um, I was very scared of it. No, actually I got the script from my agent. I got an e-mail, “Here’s a project called ‘White Girl,’” and I was immediately intrigued. The script felt raw, unlike any other script I read about young people. As a young actress, most roles are for girlfriends, or daughters or a high school comedy which are all great but this really was interesting and somewhat different. I went in for Elizabeth 2 and half years ago now. I had an audition and we played around a bit. A few months later I came on to officially play the role.

Question: Brian, how did you get involved in the project?

Brian: I make music in a group, I’m in a group called Denitia and Sene. I got an e-mail, “Hey, we would like you to come read for this part”. Two weird things happened, I was doing well with music and I was hiding the fact I wanted to get involved in acting. I was googling theater classes and one day I got this e-mail from a casting director saying they were recommended to me and see if I’d read for this part Blue. My best friend who is a rapper is named Blue and I said is this weird? And someone said “you just got offered this movie script, think about that important thing” and so I started reading it; I came up and auditioned and luckily it worked out.

Question: Talk about the process of the project, was there any deadlines?

ELizabeth: We shot in 4 weeks. When you have such a short shot every day is really full, we don’t really have time to f*** around. Working really hard to make each scene special.

Brain: Elizabeth was really focused in making it really realistic. Making the part on scene is the real reason why I wanted the part so bad. I thought, I’m going to probably the only one in the movie that has done any of this -I’m from Brooklyn. It was one of those things she cracked the wipe every day but was also open to asking me if it felt alright and how does this look. It’s nice to see the accolades finally coming her way. She made it a purpose to make it real.

The Knockturnal: Christine Vachon produced the film. Did you send her the script? How did she get involved and what was her level of commitment?

Elizabeth: My first meeting I had with her I was 7 and ½ months pregnant and I felt uncomfortable, I thought she was going to say “you’re pregnant, you can’t make a film.” She didn’t even acknowledge I was pregnant and she was like it’s a cool film, let’s make it. She’s incredible and thank God for her.

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