6 QUESTIONS for Chris White and Emily Reach White, Co-Writers/Directors, GET BETTER.
What is your connection to the South?
We currently live in Greenville, South Carolina…and have been Southerners by geography for most of our lives. We shot GET BETTER during the fall of 2011 in the Western North Carolina mountains which, by the end of the shoot, felt like our emotional/spiritual home. Plus, we’re both “indie cinema” iconoclasts…which seems very Southern of us.
Where did you get your inspiration for this work?
GET BETTER was based on certain aspects of Emily’s relationship with her father Russell Reach, who suffered and died from Lyme disease. Still, it’s less a film about physical illness, more about how emotional suffering can make people insular, disconnected, afraid…an idea both of us have struggled with.
How did you start making films?
Chris started making films as a kid, inspired by Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies. His first feature-length film (NIGHT DIVINE) was shot in 1994. When he and Emily married in 2010, they also started writing and producing together. Since that time, they have produced two features (TAKEN IN and GET BETTER) and dozens of shorts.
Did anything interesting or funny happen on set during the shooting?
A month before we started shooting the film, the actor who plays the father, Robert Linder, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He (and we) were determined to make the film anyway. So we shot the film during at Robert’s house, during his first week of radiation treatment, immediately following a successful brain surgery. (We are happy to report that Robert is an 18 month survivor, and doing really well.)
What do you look forward to the most during Indie Grits?
Because GET BETTER is neither cynical nor sentimental, it often comes across as more enigmatic that it actually is. Festival audiences aren’t primed for this kind of story told in this fashion, so I think we’re most looking forward to sitting in the theater with our audience, experiencing the film with them…and the discussion that will follow.
Why should someone see your film?
GET BETTER deals with illness and loss differently that any film you’ve ever seen. The narrative unwinds patiently, almost clumsily, but the emotional payoff that the film earns, seemingly without trying, is startling.