2020 is a year spent re-evaluating what’s important – jobs, living situations, and even relationships have been under scrutiny.
Tara Miele’s "Wander Darkly" takes that introspection and turns her characters’ lives into a surrealist fever dream of important moments that help them realize what really matters.
Inspired by a car crash that Miele and her husband were in seven years ago, the film explores how a traumatic event can make you realize how important certain people are to you.
"I was pretty concussed afterwards," said Miele. "We were at Thanksgiving at my parents about a month after the crash.
"My parents were fighting about the turkey and my kids were screaming and I was just overwhelmed by this enormous sense of gratitude for the fact that we were still living the messy little lives that we had. I really wanted to share that feeling."
"Wander Darkly" is part of this year’s SCAD Savannah Film Festival’s Wonder Women series, which celebrates filmmakers who are women and their achievements. While the film has already garnered quite a bit of buzz at other festivals, it’s presence at the SCAD Savannah Film Festival is almost like a homecoming.
"Savannah is like my favorite city."
"I wrote ‘Wander Darkly’ while my husband was shooting a show out in Georgia, so I took my kids out there. I wrote the whole first draft in Macon, Georgia, and then was in Savannah for a weekend trip."
All good films are personal for the writer, and as the writer and director Miele wanted to use this film to explore parallels in loss.
"We’d just lost a friend and family member in the time around that time. And I was sort of interested in how the psychosis of grief, as [Carl] Jung calls it, is so parallel to a concussed state and how maybe breaking up feels like a death sometimes."
Miele said she hopes those who watch this movie come away with a new appreciation for what they have now.
"I really hope people watch this with someone they love, or whoever you’re quarantined with. It’s like a ‘love the one you’re with’ kind of movie.
"It’s very much a movie that makes you appreciate the love in your life, I hope. I’m hoping that people watch it together and feel more connected than they did when they sat down."
Miele said the environment of this year has so many stuck in survival mode.
"The truth is you do need deep connections. The risk of connecting to other people is that you can lose them in your life, but it’s worth it. As much as you can, find ways to enjoy what you’ve got.
"Just finding gratitude and making sure you’re connecting with people in any way you can, even if it’s with a mask on your porch for a cup of tea."
This year, you can connect with Tara Miele virtually.
The SCAD Savannah Film Festival will live stream the directors’ Wonder Women panel on Tuesday, October 27, at 2 p.m. Then on Thursday, October 29, "Wander Darkly" live-streams at 8 p.m. There will be a Q&A with Miele and Sienna Miller after.
To buy tickets or for more information, go to filmfest.scad.edu.