Megan Griffiths is a writer-director working in film and television. Her feature credits include “Sadie,” “The Night Stalker,” “Lucky Them,” “Eden,” and “The Off Hours.” She has directed shows for HBO, EPIX, TNT, Hulu, USA, Fox, Netflix, and Amazon. Her producing credits include “Your Sister’s Sister,” directed by the late Lynn Shelton.
“I’ll Show You Mine” is making its world premiere at Seattle International Film Festival April 16.
W&H: Describe the film for us in your own words.
MG: “I’ll Show You Mine” is about a conversation that happens over the course of one weekend between two characters, Priya and Nic. Priya is a feminist memoir author whose well of personal revelations has run dry. In hopes of mining some new territory, she has invited Nic, her nephew by marriage, to her home to interview him about his past as a successful model who drew a lot of attention for his sexual exploits with people across the gender spectrum.
Priya and Nic have long shared a bond, so they have an ease together which is soon tested as they wade into more and more sensitive topics. Over the course of this increasingly intense weekend they push and break boundaries, and dig deeper into themselves than either of them could have anticipated.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
MG: I loved the characters — they felt layered and interesting and like people I wanted to know better. The script was also really engrossing and took me places I didn’t expect to go.
It felt like a perfect film for this time.
W&H: What do you want people to think about after they watch the film?
MG: I think the film has something to say about personal acceptance and the freedom that can come from that. I’d like to think that watching the journey of these two characters might spark the audience to think about the ways in which they might not be being kind enough to themselves, or treating themselves with enough care.
W&H: What was the biggest challenge in making the film?
MG: I think finding the right people to play these two characters. Since Nic and Priya are the only characters in the film, they both must really draw you in, and there have to be layers to discover over the course of the film.
Given all that, I’m so grateful we found Poorna Jagannathan and Casey Thomas Brown. Both are such strong actors, but they also are such interesting humans. Poorna has an intelligence and natural curiosity that really comes through in Priya and allows the audience to learn with her. Casey is so charming and loveable, but also such a fine actor who was able to navigate some of the more complex elements of Nic.
They both make every moment so true and grounded. It took us about nine months to find them and line up schedules, but it was completely worth the wait.
W&H: How did you get your film funded? Share some insights into how you got the film made.
MG: After producer Lacey Leavitt and I initially received the script from our three writers, Tiffany Louquet, Elizabeth Searle, and David Shields, we shared it with Mel Eslyn at Duplass Brothers Productions. Mel totally loved and understood this project and she championed it to Mark and Jay Duplass, who fell in love with it as well and have supported us every step of the way.
Ashley Edouard from Duplass Brothers Productions became the final integral piece to our producing team, and we were off and running.
W&H: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
MG: If I have a religion, it’s empathy. I think it’s so important to examine the world from other perspectives. Directing film and television allows me to do this through a huge variety of characters and stories. I never leave a project without having learned something and grown in some small — or sometimes large — way, and I hope the same is true of the audience’s experience watching anything I direct.
W&H: What’s the best and worst advice you’ve received?
MG: I think the worst advice was to hold out for some perfect studio opportunity after early success in this industry. In this business it’s easy to allow other people to dictate your path, and based on this advice a lot of talented people lose years waiting for other people to allow them to work.
Conversely, the best advice was to stop waiting for permission and just find ways to tell your stories and get your work out there. Watching Lynn Shelton get her Spirit Award in 2009 and using the opportunity to empower people to go make their films was a really pivotal moment for me and I think many other filmmakers.
W&H: What advice do you have for other women directors?
MG: Build a body of work that speaks for itself, always appreciate and make the best of every opportunity, invite and integrate feedback, and be able to accept a compliment graciously.
W&H: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.
MG: There are far too many to list, but since this film was so influenced by Lynn Shelton’s early work I will talk a bit about “Your Sister’s Sister.” As a co-producer, I saw firsthand the safe bubble that was created for not only actors Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Emily Blunt, but for all of us who were there behind the camera.
That bubble allowed everyone to bring our best to the table and resulted in an intimacy and vulnerability that made its way into every aspect of the final film. Film sets can be stressful and chaotic places, but that film set was an oasis. I have tried to carry on that tradition of creating a space which is protective and focused, but still manages to be fun and loose and allow people to shine.
W&H: How are you adjusting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you keeping creative, and if so, how?
MG: Before the pandemic, I had been steadily building my television resume. When everything shut down, all the TV work I’d lined up for 2020 was pushed, pushed, and eventually evaporated. In that same time period, May 2020, came the devastating news that Lynn had passed away. As a way of coping with my grief and honoring Lynn’s memory, I threw myself into creating a tribute piece for her with Mel Eslyn and the Duplass brothers.
After that, I turned my attention to something that I had drifted from for a few years and started developing feature work. This ultimately resulted in both “I’ll Show You Mine” and my other upcoming feature, “Year of the Fox,” which I’m just finishing now.
W&H: The film industry has a long history of underrepresenting people of color onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — negative stereotypes. What actions do you think need to be taken to make it more inclusive?
MG: Certainly pulling in more voices from underrepresented corners and elevating those stories is a great first step, and one that seems to be happening slowly but surely, and is bolstered by audiences that are ravenous for these new perspectives.
But I think those of us who aren’t from communities of color — or the disability community or LGBTQ+ communities — also have a responsibility to have awareness around the stereotypes we may be creating or reinforcing in our own stories, and to take every opportunity to learn and grow our own understanding and reflect that in our work.