Tackling Depression: A Conversation with Ella Greenwood For Her Directorial Debut FAULTY ROOTS
Two teens with different genetic conditions are forced to form a friendship.
Lola, a young girl with depression, is told by her mother to do something productive during the long holidays. She suggests spending some time with Zack, a childhood friend who Lola hasn’t seen in ages and though reluctant to accept at first, Lola finally agrees to get her mother off her case. The two teens each have genetic conditions which affect their lives in different ways and as they spend more time together, they start to grow fonder of each other, though Lola hates to admit it to her mother.
In this interview, Rising Star Ella Greenwood answers some Frequently Asked questions about Faulty Roots…
Where did the idea and themes behind the movie Faulty Roots stem from and what was the writing
process like for you?
The idea came from me wanting to tell a story about something important, and mental health is a topic that I’ve
always felt very strongly about. I also knew that I didn’t want it to just be about mental health, I wanted it to be about
friendship and the importance of having someone being there for you. I wrote it in one go and actually didn’t change
much from the first draft other than a few spelling mistakes.
You wrote, directed, and produced the film – What was the most challenging part?
Directing was definitely the hardest as I was trying to make sure the production as a whole was still running
smoothly, that the other cast members were happy and prepared and that I did my character justice. Luckily I had
two amazing associate directors Abigail Vaughan and Lorna Reid throughout the duration of the shoot so they
really helped me out.
Have you always wanted to be a film maker?
I knew that I always wanted to be involved with films but I never knew exactly how. I’ve loved acting for a long time and that’s always been my main focus, but I wanted to be an Art Director before, then a writer, now a producer, I just love filmmaking!
You sourced the film through crowdfunding, what do you think was the key to the successful outpouring of funds that were received in order to film?
Social media played a big part, people were kind enough to retweet or just to promote the film and this helped us
reach an even wider audience. Mental health is a topic that a lot of people feel strongly about as well, so they
wanted to support the project which I’m so grateful for. I also contacted producers to help and now have some
amazing people on board.
The film focuses on depression in teens, how did you make sure the film portrayed this authentically?
I think by deciding to write the film, it’s hopefully helped to portray this, as I think if you want it to be from a
teenager’s perspective then you have to have a teenager write it and so I did. I have struggled with mental health
problems in the past and so I was able to write and direct from my own experience. I wanted to demonstrate just
some of the ways that a mental illness can affect everyday life, your mood, your relationships. I tried to demonstrate
how some phrases and things can really not help and how other things such as just listening can.
How did working on this project really push your boundaries as a filmmaker?
It meant that I could get involved with various aspects of the whole production, not just acting. It pushed me as I
wanted it to deal with such an important topic in the right way so hopefully I have succeeded with that.
How was it seeing the other actors perform something that you wrote?
Sarah Eastwood who plays Susan and Sani Thabo who plays Zack are both incredible actors! It was so thrilling seeing them perform my work. I had worked with Sarah before and so we didn’t rehearse prior to shooting and with
Sani, I remember at the rehearsal barely changing anything about his performance, he just was Zack straight away,
so they both brought the characters to life in such an amazing way.
FAULTY ROOTS IS COMING SOON
About Ella Greenwood
Ella Greenwood is a filmmaker born and raised in London, England. Faulty Roots is her first- time writing, directing and producing a film. She started working on the film after finishing her A-Levels in the summer of 2019, and the film was shot in December that year.