Laurie Weltz’s debut feature film, Wrestling with Alligators, premiered at Sundance, where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize. The film was released theatrically, on video and aired on Starz, Sundance and Showtime. Her second feature film, About Scout, based on her award winning script, has recently been released both theatrically and on VOD and DVD. The film stars India Ennenga, Ellen Burstyn, Danny Glover, Jane Seymour, Nikki Reed and James Frecheville. She is currently in development with Nous Entertainment on her third feature, The Night Swimmer. Laurie has written two other award winning optioned screenplays and has worked as a director and editor for hundreds of television shows, music videos, documentaries and branded content. She is a graduate of NYU Grad Film School, and her award winning thesis film aired on USA television. She is the programming coordinator for the Film Fatales, has served as a judge for several film fests, and runs a panel series called Women in Focus. Her projects have been recipients of numerous awards, as well as participants in IFP Emerging Filmmakers, IFP No Borders, a finalist for NYWIFT’s Ravenal Grant, and Stowe Story Lab’s PAGE Screenwriting Fellow.
What do I do best?
I like to think that I am a generous person, and I don’t necessarily mean monetarily, but with my time, my friendship, my willingness to help others. I have been pretty lucky in life, and so I try to give back and share that with others, both filmmakers and friends.
What makes me the best version of myself?
I have a fairly unconventional and quirky outlook on life and the world, which influences my artistic choices, in what I hope is a good way. I remember in college when the weirdest, most outlandish person that I knew told me that I was the weirdest person he knew, which really threw me for a loop, as I had always considered myself rather normal and shy. But that was also a wake-up call to use this “weirdness” in a good and artistic way, and to share my different views of things with others. Which maybe wasn’t what he meant at all, maybe he was just trying to tell me I was batshit crazy, in which case I apologize to anyone who has ever seen one of my films.
What are my aspirations?
I have so many stories that I’d love to make into films, many of which are bigger budget than women are usually able to get greenlit. My hope would be to be able to make these films and to keep working at what I love for the rest of my life.
My Biggest Success?
My daughter is by far the most amazing person that I know, I am so proud of her, and like to think I was somewhat responsible for the way she turned out. Also one of the happiest, proudest moments of my life was when I found out that my first film got into Sundance, I walked around for days with the biggest smile on my face.
My Most Challenging Moment?
I’m not sure that there are any particularly challenging moments, but one of my biggest challenges in general is overcoming the difficulty I have promoting myself, which I think is a challenge that many women suffer from. I would so prefer to let my work speak for me, than to have to go out and sell myself constantly, but I know that success in the film business is based on being able to sell yourself.
I have always loved this quote by Francis Bacon, “It’s all so meaningless, we may as well be extraordinary.” I try to always have that in the back of my mind. My other favorite quote is one that has really helped me to stay motivated for the last ten years, which is “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Any woman who has dared to be unconventional and to take control of her own destiny is always an inspiration to me. I love adventurous women like Beryl Markham, who was so fearless and lived life to the fullest. I also really love and admire the brilliant intellect, interesting analytical world view, and writing of both Joan Didion and Margaret Awtood. They each have such beautiful unique voices. I have read everything they have both written many, many times and am not surprised, even though they have been writing for decades, that they are both suddenly in the cultural zeitgeist. I would love to be able to make films based on their work.
My Favorite Places/Destinations?
I am happiest when I am in a foreign country, particularly tropical places, the more exotic the better. My mind always runs rampant with ideas when I am in one of those places. I also love to be both on the water and underwater, put me on a boat or snorkeling on a reef, and I am in heaven, there is nothing more peaceful than that. Some of my favorite places are Egypt, Vietnam, Cuba, Cambodia, Central America, the Caribbean, Hawaii.
My Favorite Products/Objects?
The only objects that I care about in this world are ones that I have inherited from my family or that have been given to me as presents by my daughter. I couldn’t care less if robbers broke into my house and stole most of my worldly possessions, as long as they didn’t take those things. I attach almost supernatural powers to these objects, and when something happens to them I am devastated.
My Current Passions?
I am always surprised by how beautiful the world can be, despite our attempts to destroy it, so I just love being outside exploring the world.