Director Amy Seimetz knows a bit about Florida in summertime. The Saint Petersburg native understands the humidity and heat that tourists escape by coming to the Sunshine State only in the winter time. So why did she opt to film her movie Sun Don’t Shine in Florida in July? We spoke to her, as well as producer Kim Sherman, at the Filmmaker’s Lounge Wednesday and tried to find out. Turns out, she was as interested in interviewing us to gauge our thoughts on Florida.
Tell us why you felt this film should be made?
Amy Seimetz: It is based on a re-occuring nightmare that I have. I grew up in Saint Petersburg, Florida, so all of my nightmares have a swampy, watery theme.
I understand. I grew up in Central Florida.
Do you have the same thing that I have? A friend thought this was shocking. At a really young age, I thought I was going to get kidnapped and that I would also end up in a ditch.
Well, that’s not an all-Florida thing, but that’s ok.
I just thought that’s how I will end up. Also, do you find Florida to be really violent?
It has a really horrible crime rate. I sound so old. It has a horrible crime rate. You don’t want to raise your kids here. But like, it’s really violent. The heat, I feel like, makes people insane. It’s really oppressive and sticky and atmospheric. That’s a big part of this movie too. The characters are on the road in a car with no A/C in the middle of summer. Beyond that, we’re keeping the plot kind of under wraps. But it is a crime story. There is danger and suspense and high stakes.
How long did it take to film?
Kim Sherman: We did a week in May. It started as a test but we really liked what we saw. We gave another two weeks in July last year.
Amy: Yes. In July. In Florida.
And you grew up here. How did that happen?
I did it on purpose. I made that happen. I wanted them to be really sweaty. And they were. And if they weren’t sweaty enough, we made them look sweaty with water.
Why was it that important to have that visual feeling of heat?
Really, the heat is really comforting when you can go to the beach and relax and you are in a swimsuit and you have some sort of vehicle of relief like the ocean and air conditioning, but when you have to be in a car with no A/C or you have to work outside or you have to be outside in and out all day in Florida, it is incredibly agitating and really uncomfortable. It is just oppressive, the heat and sweat. It is impossible to feel comfortable in your skin. These are two people who are in an extremely high stress situation who are not thinking straight who are extremely agitated, and Florida plays a big part in that.
The film screens today at 6pm.