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Interview with Kelly Reno: Mojave Philosophy

I recently had an opportunity to interview with Kelly Reno, writer for the superb short film “Mojave Philosophy”. Mojave Philosophy was entered into the Doorpost Film Project and was pre-selected out of thousands of short film submissions.

This film is about a truck stop waitress who discovers the road to redemption in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Its messages not only touch the viewers’ in a way we all can relate, but the messages also bring much inspiration and hope.

The web site to see the film, Mojave Philosophy is www.thedoorpost.com/redemption/mojavephilosophy

Please join us at the philosophy forum at the link to your right to share your thoughts on this short film. I look forward to your input!

Below is the interview with Kelly Reno, a talented writer from Los Angeles. Her personal web site is www.KellyReno.com and she can be contacted by email at Renorose@aol.com


Q: Kelly, what inspires you as a writer?

Definitely people. I’ve always been a people watcher and have found that everyone has a fascinating story. I always strike up conversations with strangers and am never disappointed. My curiosity about others is never-ending.


Q: What’s the inspiration behind the short film Mojave Philosophy?

We made the film for The Doorpost Film Project and we had our choice of several topics to choose from. There was joy, forgiveness, freedom, humility or redemption. The script is a little bit of everything, but we entered Mojave Philosophy under the category of redemption because it’s the story of a truck-stop waitress who finds self-redemption in the middle of the desert.

As a writer, I often go out into the desert when I’m working and I always pass through the city of Mojave on my way back to Los Angeles. One day I was driving through the back streets of Mojave and noticed an abandoned fishing boat in a junk yard. It was striking, this broken down boat against the backdrop of the Mojave Desert and it was sad. It probably used to belong to some happy family. But now it was rusted and broken and it made me wonder what happened to its owners. I began to look around and started noticing other things – things that travelers had left behind; broken down cars, scattered clothing, stray dogs and tumbleweeds. There was this hitchhiker holding a cardboard sign that read: anywhere but here. It was heartbreaking, but it made me think about the people who live there; how they dig in their roots and carve out a life for themselves in that kind of environment. Looking at it from that angle, the story for Mojave Philosophy came to life.

When I gave the script for Mojave Philosophy to the Producer, Sandy Hockenbery and Director, Tom Wozny, they both said it gave them chills. We all knew that this was the story we wanted to tell. It had what we now call the “chill factor”.


Q: What exactly is the “Mojave Philosophy”, and what specific messages would you like to convey to your viewers?

The message of Mojave Philosophy is that no matter what situation you find yourself in, you can always turn things around and find happiness. We’ve all made mistakes and seen hard times where it seems like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But those hard times become part of our fabric and make us who we are.

I’ve been studying philosophy for a long time and wanted to create a film that makes philosophy accessible to everyone. I believe that the end product of studying philosophy should be a person who can form new ideas and new philosophy.


Q: Tell us about the production process of Mojave Philosophy. Were there any memorable moments that were meaningful to you?

Yes. We shot the film on location in the City of Mojave and it was very windy outside that day. So we had our actress, Tina Springham do the narration back in one of our hotel rooms. She didn’t need to read the script, she just spoke the lines straight from the heart. At one point, she stopped and started crying and that was the same moment I felt a tear rolling down my own cheek. Then I noticed that the director, the producer and one of the photographers were all choked up too. It was like something out of a Nicholas Sparks novel.

We had a funny moment too. There’s a scene in the film where a tumbleweed rolls across the screen in front of the actress and it took forever to shoot. Although it was windy that day, the tumbleweed just went wherever it wanted to. The whole crew was chasing it around and setting it free over and over again until we finally got the perfect shot. I guess that’s why they’re called tumbleweeds.


Q: Do you see this short film becoming something bigger?

This film was entered into the Doorpost Film Project short film contest and was pre-selected out of thousands of short film submissions. I’m happy to announce that the viewers and judges voted our film into the top ten, moving our team into round two of the competition. We just received a $30,000 grant to make another short film on the subject of hope and will be competing for the contest’s grand prize of $100,000 this August! We’re really thrilled that we’ve come this far and that people are connecting with our film.


Q: Are you planning any other movies or projects that you would like us to know about?

Yes. I’m writing a new script right now for The Doorpost Film Project’s final round. The story is on the subject of hope. Assuming this new script has the “chill factor” that the producer and director are looking for, it’s the one we’ll go with. Our next project will be shot next month for the final round of the Doorpost Film Project.

The web site to see the film, Mojave Philosophy is www.thedoorpost.com/redemption/mojavephilosophy

Please join us at the philosophy forum to share your thoughts on this short film. I look forward to your input!

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