Poster of the film ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’. Photo courtesy of SCSU Film Department
The SCSU Film Department hosted another director virtually through the “Visiting Filmmakers Series” with director Desiree Akhavan who showed her film “The Miseducation of Cameron Post.” The film star Chloe Moretz as a young teen in 1993 who is sent to a conversion therapy camp after she is found out to have a secret relationship with her best friend.
The film was Akhavan’s second major feature film that won the Grand Jury Prize for US Drama at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018 and was highly praised by critics at its release nationwide in theaters.
Akhavan told the audience that the entire crew worked and lived together on the set of the film, which was an old German resort that she feels brought the crew together and improved their on-camera relationship.
“We would be shooting six days out of the week and then one day we would have off,” said Akhavan. “We would have this big bonfire and a dance party it gave everyone time to get to know each other, but it also gave the actors time to learn how to interact with the other [actors] there.”
In the original script of the film, Chloe Moretz was not thought of to play the lead role of Cameron Post. It actually turns out she wasn’t thought of being casted at all until later on in casting.
“I originally wanted an unknown actor to fit the role as Cameron, but [Chloe] came up on a sticky note passed to me and once I started to think about, I realized that [Chloe] could bring something new and different to the vison [of the film],” said Akhavan.
Akhavan continued talking about her vision for the film and the role as a director over the actors.
“There were a lot of times I felt satisfaction in what we sho,t but there were other times I felt like an idiot and wanted to reshoot or redo something,” said Akhavan. “[However] with the performances on screen [from the actors] as a director you will know when to step in to change something and when to let something happen.”
When it came time to shoot the awkward and at times uncomfortable scenes during the film, Akhavan told the audience that it was a challenging but yet important for herself and the viewers.
“I thought [when shooting] it is important for people to see some of the things that happened at these conversion camps and how anti-gay they were,” said Akhavan. “It was a weird time in life that made me sad, yet fascinated to talk about.”
A lot of research went into creating the creating the conversion therapy camp said Akhavan. There were many hours of watching, listening. and reading anti-gay propaganda that was released in the early 90s in order to properly fit the timeline the film took place in.
Towards the end of the of Q & A, Akhavan gave the audience advice about making a film that you want even if it means some people might not like it.
“It’s about using your voice and to not be afraid of what others think,” said Akhavan. “It is not always about the camera equipment you have, the actors that you have casted it’s about telling the story that you want to tell. If not a lot of people listen, it is okay to speak louder.”
Akhavan told the audience that she is working on a new show called “Hot Pink” that will be streaming on Amazon Prime near the end of this year.