Filmmakers Taylor Washington and Haley Erickson took their seats on the Lengthy Heart on the primary day of the South By Southwest Competition, anxiously awaiting the screening of their movie chosen for the Texas Shorts session. The lights pale, and “Name Me Mommy,” hit the massive display, making it the primary movie to play on the international pageant.
“There was our film — we obtained so used to watching it on our personal, enhancing it and getting it good.” Erickson mentioned. “You simply by no means know till you’re in an viewers, and so far as the reception goes, I used to be blown away.”
The screening marked their SXSW debut after seven years of partnership. After graduating from what he referred to as his dream radio-television-film program at UT in 2011, Washington ultimately moved to New York, however returned to Austin to shoot an occasion for Pandora. Drawn to Erickson, his area producer on the undertaking, they chatted at a celebration just a few days later and determined to strive a filmmaking partnership. Seven movies and 7 years later, they reached their greatest milestone but.
Dubbed a comedy, the directing duo mentioned “Name Me Mommy” acquired loads of laughter from their pageant viewers. However for only a 13-minute brief, the movie delves into severe subjects such because the fears of motherhood and passing alongside generational trauma. Within the comedy, a pregnant girl enlists a struggling actor to roleplay her daughter-to-be, highlighting the challenges of parenthood and the necessity for grace. The story proved to signify greater than a social commentary, Erickson mentioned.
“An enormous a part of this (movie) has been taking place within the backdrop of my private life. I misplaced my mother in September of final yr,” Erickson mentioned. “It’s been this wild journey making this movie after which enhancing it whereas I used to be going by this huge loss that has all the things to do with the story of the film.”
Along with directing, Erickson, who holds a grasp’s diploma in screenwriting from the College of Melbourne, co-stars within the movie. She mentioned that even by the lens of laughter, telling a narrative of motherhood felt well timed.
“We’re sitting in a state that’s taking away loads of decision-making for (moms), and I hope that our movie makes individuals snigger, however makes them take into consideration their relationship with their moms or their youngsters,” Erickson mentioned. “I additionally hope that our story is one among many who will get instructed in regards to the complexities of that relationship and why that call must be a alternative.”
Though the script-to-screen journey can take years, Erickson mentioned this undertaking moved shortly. After drafting the plot as a part of her grasp’s program in November 2021, she shared it with Washington, questioning if it sparked his creativity. Washington mentioned after feeling instantly drawn to the movie, he joined the undertaking, and the pair started taking pictures.
Washington, who stays in New York, and Erickson, primarily based in Austin, work for separate manufacturing firms, however mentioned they arrive collectively to inform necessary tales by laughter.
“We each obtained into this to broach powerful subjects, however (additionally) to make individuals assume and really feel,” Washington mentioned. “Comedy is the format, however the place’s the guts within the story? All the time heading in the direction of that’s the actual aim.”
The duo mentioned SXSW opened new doorways, together with the potential of turning “Name Me Mommy” into the subsequent merchandise on their bucket record — a full-length function.
“We’ve been overwhelmed and grateful for the optimistic outreach we’ve gotten,” Erickson mentioned. “The dream for filmmakers displaying at a pageant like that is to set your self up for future tasks. It actually makes me really feel fairly emotional, particularly on reflection.”