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2017 SBIFF Movie Spotlight: “My Marilyn”

If you’ve seen “La La Land” then you’ll find some similarities in “My Marilyn,” scheduled to premiere at the 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The short film follows a young, impressionable girl who aspires to be the next big thing in Hollywood. And what a better icon to represent a classic Hollywood era than the legendary Marilyn Monroe? You’ll enjoy watching this film that cleverly shows us the dichotomy between the present time and an era gone-by that still dominates the idea many aspiring artists have of what Hollywood is.


A young, Marilyn Monroe-obsessed actress struggles with delusions of grandeur, identity, and her own naivete in Hollywood.

Q&A With Filmmaker/Director Marcus Mizelle

What inspired you to make this film and use Marilyn Monroe as such a central subject?

Meeting with writer/exec producer Andrew Kolo, who was looking for a Director/Producer to get the project going, was the beginning for myself. He loved my reel/past work and we just hit it off moment one. Once I read his initial script, I responded to the themes of persona, the allure of Hollywood etc. The icon that is Marilyn Monroe plus Hollywood itself are things I know many people respond to and that in itself was a motivating factor for me to begin developing the script into an engaging short film.

Instead of leaving this as a short film, why not go feature length?

We felt a short was a perfect way to tell this story- engaging enough while also not wearing out our welcome with the audience. A glimpse into a young, impressionable girls life- new to Hollywood from her small middle America bubble- to 1. A young girls love affair with Hollywood and older boyfriend Sonnet, and her resistance to her Mother’s concerns, 2. Her continued struggle with the two and 3. Her ultimate choice between the two. I felt this simple structure would make a nice, little short.

What were the challenges you and your cast and crew faced in the making of this film?

Shooting on Hollywood Boulevard with a 3-person crew (myself included) and with no way of controlling foot traffic/sounds etc. The solution was to just over-shoot and do as many takes as possible, which I then used to find the final scene in the edit. It worked, thankfully, though flexibility with the final result was a must.

Can you talk about the casting process for this film?

Finding the right Marilyn was obviously essential. I put up a casting call and narrowed about 300 submissions down to 100, then down to 50. We held auditions for those 50 and Courtney Morse (18 years old) became the clear choice by the end of the week, due to her age, look and delivery- all fit the character in a way we thought would be most effective.

What were your most memorable moments making this movie?

Working with writer/exec producer Andrew Kolo was mostly a joy because he supported the project financially and also trusted me and my creative decisions the whole way through. Great energy and positivity which goes a very long way in the process of making a film. As far as production, shooting on Hollywood Boulevard with Courtney Morse and her boyfriend, played by Spencer Gibb, who was also a lot of fun to work with.

What do you hope audiences take from your film after watching it?

That what always shines definitely ain’t gold. To not buy something at face value, and to maybe look a little deeper sometimes instead of believing what is said but not shown. Oh, and to listen to your Mother, no matter how annoying that might be!

What does it mean to you having the Santa Barbara International Film Festival accept and screen your film?

Everything. SBIFF is such an established, prestigious festival with substantial industry weight and the profile of our film, as well as all involved in the film, will only increase thanks to SBIFF choosing to screen My Marilyn.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes- Thank You! We’re very excited to finally share this film and hope viewers can take some significance away from it. We really appreciate you for taking the time to highlight our film!


Thursday, Feb. 9 – 8:40 p.m. – Metro 4 Theater, Room 3 Saturday, Feb. 11 – 5:40 p.m. – Metro 4 Theater, Room 3

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