Morrisa Maltz, Artist and Filmmaker
by Jesy Odio
On the Genesis of Ingrid
I was just visiting Dallas. I was interviewing another subject and making small videos. The AirBnb where I was staying mentioned she knew an outsider artist, hermit in the woods, a friend of a friend. The thing is that the more you talk about your project, the more you develop and explore. It was just this girl that gave me the phone number of someone who knew Ingrid. I got her address and went up to visit her. When I met Ingrid, I realized she had the potential to give me a full feature film. Her story is that compelling.
Shooting in the Woods With Ingrid
I visited her three times on my own and I video’d a little bit. She was smart enough to to figure out what I was doing and she played along. “I think we should make a movie about you”, I told her. She liked me as first and we got along as friends. I made a short video to show investors; these were people that Ingrid knew back when she was a socialite in Dallas.
“I don’t want a movie made about me.” She didn’t know me, and it’s hard to gain people’s trust if you don’t know them. Filmmaking is based on trust. She liked me but she didn’t know me. This was an important lesson.
She lives four hours away from Dallas deep in the woods. We planned a three day shoot where it was just exploratory. The more we went back, the smaller the team got which I think made it better. Ingrid would lose our trust and it was like starting all over again. We were editing as we were shooting. But the last week was the strongest. It took her a year and a half to get comfortable. And now it’s a friendship.
Not until she saw the movie, was Ingrid like, "This is amazing, I love you.” You can totally make a movie. If you have an idea that you’re passionate about, people will get excited and will want to help you. Trust that gut instinct and follow it. It’s definitely possible to make a movie with only three people. It’s hard for people to believe that it can get done. It doesn’t have to be huge crews and lots of money.
It’s always helpful to know what your next project is before the other one is finished. Creating things is such a weird thing. I was very nervous and wondering why am I doing this again. I must be crazy. Don’t concentrate on those thoughts. Just keep going and not sit and question too much. I had wanted to make a road trip project about a girl but I needed to get older in order to do it. I wasn’t there yet. I had to grow out of the phase, and I was too much the girl. Not until I was in South Dakota, I felt like I could finally do it. So much of the story needed to be about America. I knew I needed to stay in South Dakota in the summer even if it means being there all alone. Suddenly it felt right. This is where it should be. When you leave Los Angeles, you realize there are so many people out there super excited about making films, where people don’t know about filmmaking. It’s good to get out of the bubble.
The people there are really good people who support the arts, true artists who are doing it for the love of it. They really try to create the right environment, fostering, taking care of the filmmakers. The whole experience in Park City is totally chaotic and nightmarish. Slamdance is the best place for the type of work I do.
It’s not necessarily always fun and it can be stressful. Sometimes I didn’t even want to do it anymore. But in the end, you end up collecting people along the way and it becomes everybody’s film and everyone is proud of it. It’s worth it and just keep going and keeping that in mind. It’s not super fun. Shooting is crazy and awful. But it’s worth it. Find your Ingrid and follow her. Be passionate and other people will be passionate and that's how you make it happen.
Ingrid premieres at Slamdance on January 20th at the Gallery, Treasure Mountain Inn. Purchase tickets here.