“My Days of Mercy
is a screenwriter and director whose previous works include “Princess
” and “Surrogate
.” Her films have garnered critical acclaim and won her the Grand Prix at the 2015 Kiev International Film Festival, Best Feature at the Jerusalem Film Festival 2014, and Best Debut Feature at the Raindance Film Festival. “My Days of Mercy
” is her first English-language film.
“My Days of Mercy
” will premiere at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival on September 15.
W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.
Ts: The movie tells the story of Lucy (Ellen Page
), a young woman who has spent the last eight years protesting the death penalty outside state penitentiaries. Her father, an inmate on death row, was convicted of killing her mother, but he has consistently maintained his innocence.
Lucy’s world shakes when she meets and falls in love with Mercy
), a capital punishment supporter. Their strong connection enables them to face and acknowledge their own hidden truths and transforms them both.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
Ts: I was immediately struck by Lucy’s obsession with the truth and her uncompromising quest to bring it to light. I was also deeply moved by the unique and charged love story between two female characters.
I wanted to explore the beautiful dynamic between Lucy and Mercy
, which I believe is an expression of the transformative, healing power of love.
W&H: What do you want people to think about when they are leaving the theater?
Ts: I want them to feel that they’re not alone and that there’s always a chance to change, to grow, and to love.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
Ts: It was challenging to portray a delicate and fragile love story that’s unfolding in such a tense and morbid environment. Expressing the deep level of intimacy between the characters is a private and vulnerable process, which is sometimes hard to create on set.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
Ts: I am very fortunate to have Great Point Media and Killer Films
produce this movie.
W&H: What does it mean for you to have your film play at the Toronto International Film Festival?
Ts: Having the movie come to light after so many months of work by so many talented people is always the most overwhelming, cathartic moment. Screening the premiere at Tiff is a great honor, and I wish it gives pride and joy to all the people that were involved in the film’s creation.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
Ts: The worst advice I’ve ever receiver is to compromise. But perhaps it’s also the best advice. Or at least, to learn how to prioritize.
W&H: What advice do you have for other female directors?
Ts: The most important thing is to choose the right story, because it’s a long journey. The idea should really speak to you and you must be the only one who can tell it.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
Ts: “Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” by Chantal Akerman
. She created her own cinematic language and a new way of storytelling. She completely deserted the masculine narrative and created an independent, fresh, and brave one of her own.
W&H: There have been significant conversations over the last couple of years about increasing the amount of opportunities for women directors yet the numbers have not increased. Are you optimistic about the possibilities for change? Share any thoughts you might have on this topic.
Ts: The best shows today, both on television and in the theaters, are led by women. We see critical acclaim and commercial success for shows like “Transparent,” “I Love Dick
,” “Top of the Lake
,” “Girls,” “Wonder Woman,” and many more. So, I think there is every reason to be optimistic.
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— “My Days of Mercy
” was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.