Presbyterian College kicks off school year’s Southern Circuit with Sadie


by Brandon Elledge Business Manager

Last Thursday, Presbyterian College began its seventh year of participation in the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, showcasing the film Sadie, written and directed by Megan Griffiths and produced by Lacey Leavitt.

The film stars Sophia Mitri Schloss as Sadie, a 13-year-old girl whose father has been away in the military for years. Constantly receiving and writing letters to him, she idolizes her father and is eager for his return. When Cyrus, a new face in the trailer park, engages in an intimate relationship with Sadie’s mother, Rae, Sadie detests the newfound love and views Cyrus as an enemy who is destroying her family. As Cyrus and Rae’s relationship becomes stronger, Sadie’s resentment for Cyrus increases in parallel. Eventually, she brings her frustration to an end by deciding to murder Cyrus, crumbling up painkillers in a milkshake and presenting it to him, who pleasingly takes it. Later that night, Cyrus is found dead, and police investigators rule the incident as a self-inflicted drug overdose. Sadie, while her mother is tormented over Cyrus’s death, thinks that she has saved her family and secured their future, but when she discovers that her father will not be living with them when he comes home, she breaks down, realizing that things will not be as she planned. “I’m sorry,” she exclaims miserably to her mother. At this moment in the film, the two of them are outside on their swing; as she apologizes, not yet admitting her crime to her mother, the camera slowly zooms out and reveals the city on the horizon, bringing the film to its end and leaving the audience to contemplate Sadie’s seemingly sorrow future.

Sadie centers on the theme of child naivety: Sadie is often blind to the long-term consequences of her actions and really has no sympathy for her victims. For example, she steals a bully’s phone and sends a bomb threat to their school, resulting in the bully’s suspension; later on, she defends her friend, Francis, by discreetly threatening the bully with a gun at school. Although these examples appear to be acts of justice, they are nonetheless extremely unreasonable and will more than likely have a permanent effect. She then poisons Cyrus because she perceives him as breaking up her already dysfunctional family. Cyrus, although not an ideal father figure, tries numerous times to build a relationship with Sadie, even though these attempts were very weak. Certainly, his slaying was not justified, and in the end it did not even save Sadie’s family: her father, when he returns from service, will be separated from her and her mother.

Through dramatic extremes and a somber atmosphere, Sadie investigates the deprivation of military families and the struggles they face to maintain functionality. It also takes its audience into the naive minds of children, revealing how far kids will go to achieve something they deeply desire. Viewers are influenced to think twice about their actions and consider the feelings and lives of peers and acquaintances, especially those with a loved one in the Armed Forces.

Writer and Director Megan Griffiths of Seattle has directed numerous films which have premiered at festivals such as the Toronto National Film Festival, South by Southwest, and Sundance Film Festival. These films include Lucky Them (TIFF 2013), Eden (SXSW 2012), and The Off Hours (Sundance 2011). She has worked with actors and actresses such as Johnny Depp (Lucky Them, Pirates of the Caribbean), Tony Hale (Sadie, Arrested Development), and Toni Collete (Lucky Them, The Sixth Sense).

Award-winning producer Lacey Leavitt, also from Seattle, co-founded and is currently CEO of Electric Dream Factory, a film content studio dedicated to innovations in virtual and augmented reality. She has worked with Megan Griffiths on Sadie, The Off Hours, and Lucky Them along with many other filmmakers as well. She is an alumnus of the University of Washington and has also attended the Sundance Creative Producing Program.

Southern Circuit Films, a branch of the Atlanta-based company “South Arts”, delivers independent films to numerous communities across the south, visiting Presbyterian College monthly in Neville Hall’s Khune auditorium. It will return to PC on October 18 to showcase T Cooper’s Man Made, a film that explores the lives and social struggles of transgender male bodybuilders.