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SXSW Women Directors: Meet Leah Meyerhoff
by Melissa Silverstein

In making her feature debut, director Leah Meyerhoff went back home -- literally. I Believe in Unicorns was partly filmed in the house Meyerhoff grew up and where her mother still lives, since the latter, who plays a version of herself in the film, is housebound by a chronic disease. I Believe in Unicorns explores the mother-daughter role reversal Meyerhoff experienced as a child and a teen -- that of caring for her ill mother -- while offering an "alternative role model" for teen girls in her resourceful, willful protagonist.

What made you write this story?

I Believe in Unicorns is a deeply personal story that incorporates elements of my own life and adolescent relationships. When I was growing up, I rarely found a relatable female protagonist on screen. In writing the script, I strove to create a character who incorporated the nuances of adolescence and the challenges of developing an identity amidst the pressures of external influences. For my debut feature, I hoped to make a film that an adolescent version of myself would have wanted -- or even needed -- to see. To that end, I hope that audiences who see I Believe in Unicorns will find something on-screen that parallels and enforces their own experiences, hopefully finding an alternative role model in Davina as an authentic, intelligent, creative young woman.

Read the full interview here