Celine Held and Logan George on their impressive short Caroline Directing couple went from shorts to feature in only three years.
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Celine Held and Logan George on their impressive short Caroline

Directing couple went from shorts to feature in only three years.

American directors Logan George and Celine Held are in love with filmmaking and with each other. After meeting in 2010 at New York University, now they have been inseperable. They’ve been collaborating professionally for almost 3 years now, made 6 shorts together as co-writers / directors, and are about to embark on their first feature. They enjoy working together and have no plans to stop. Therefore, today this married couple tells CineSud Magazine their private secrets, remembers the most interesting moments of work and shares their impressions of the Cannes Film Festival.


02 oktober 2018

Caroline

Logan and Celine’s award-winning film Caroline deals with a mother-daughter relationship: it’s the story of a five year-old girl who lives in the tunnels under New York City with her mother. The directors say that they just wanted to explore a short film where children are the leads rather than accessories to an adult story. Furthermore, the young couple tells CineSud Magazine about their future plans: “We go into production with our feature this fall, based on our short Caroline.”

Working with children

The three children playing the main roles in Caroline are siblings. Logan and Celine had lived with the family for little over a month before they started the production of the film so that they could really get to know them and develop a good relationship with them. The interesting fact about one of the directors of Caroline, Celine, is that she combined directing and acting in this project. She plays the mother in the film. The young couple of filmmakers says: “By doing this, we were able to craft the short film honestly based on how much we knew the children.” Although from the first sight working with children might seem to be complicated, it is not true. Logan and Celine remember: “They were not naughty at all – they are extremely lovely children. What is more, thanks to being engaged in the process of shooting, the oldest girl Caroline wants to be an actress now!”

The base of the film

Caroline is based on three real stories of mothers in the USA who were arrested, put on probation, had their children placed in foster care, and paid huge fines for leaving their children in the car while they were in a job interview, or, in one case, taking a university exam. “Kids in Cars” laws differ between states in the USA, but it is often in the news here. Children are almost always taken away from their single mothers after such incidents, on the grounds that it can be fatal. What about the end of the film, Caroline’s family is unlikely to leave the parking place successfully without any problems. The police are already on their way, therefore this is probably the last hug Caroline and her mother will share for a while. The situation when mom leaves her small children alone in a very hot car can be a prerequisite in order to deprive her of parental rights or at least it can make trouble with custody bodies.

Mother’s mistakes

The directors think that children need to have time and space to be children, as sometimes children are forced to take part into these parental roles due to their family having a low income or being in an absent parent situation. It can often rob the little ones of their childhood, making them grow up much faster. Caroline (the main character) is still a little girl, however, unfortunately this role has been forced on her in the film. Logan and Celine were interested in the ‘grey’ perception of the situation: in not portraying any character as black or white, right or wrong. The mother leaves her children thinking that her friend will be there shortly, so that she can potentially get a job that will make their living situation much better. These talented filmmakers think: “Mistakes are made by both the mother and the good samaritans in Caroline. However, we genuinely consider that the mother loves her children, and is trying to improve herself and the financial situation of her family through attending this job interview.”

Humanity in people

With Caroline Logan and Celine wanted to show that everyone is human. It would be easy to read some news articles about an event like this and decide that the mother is an embodiment of the evil, or maybe you could see the mother as being attacked by a mob. Directors comment: “Crowd mentality plays a huge role, along with the desperation of both parties, plus the heat, but we think it’s more important to see the humanity in each person, rather than just a hero or villain, as no one can be perfect.”

Connection between the mother and children

Despite the fact that the film is entirely devoted to the ‘children’s’-topic, it has some violent actions that are done by the little ones. For instance, the last scene of the movie when Caroline bites the woman from the crowd. All of this has a completely logical explanation. According to Logan and Celine, family runs deep. Caroline, like most 6 year-olds, will protect her mother till the end of the earth. It symbolizes that the girl loves her mom no matter what she has done.

Impressions from the Cannes Film Festival

For Logan and Celine it was such an incredible honour to be the part of the world-known festival of Cannes 2018. Obviously, the spouses were extremely surprised at having been chosen to the Official Selection, although their short films had already received a warm reception of the audience all over the world. They have won a great number of awards at Seattle International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Shortfest, Aspen Shortsfest, South by Southwest and it’s not the end of the list. What about Cannes, Logan and Celine remember: “We loved getting to see the really amazing work in the Official Competition, and meeting the other filmmakers and the programmers. Really great people there.” What is more, attending a festival of such scale can be useful for the future projects of the couple of talented filmmakers (even for their financing), as now their names are written in the history of the Cannes Film Festival.

Over de gastspreker: Sofia Piven

Sofia Piven is currently studying Journalism and International Relations at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.

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