Note: This interview ran as part of our coverage of the 2013 Hamptons International Film Festival. The film, which won the Views From Long Island competition at HIFF 2013, will open in theaters and debut on VOD on August 8, 2014.
In The Maid’s Room, Drina, a young immigrant from Colombia, is hired by the Crawford family as a live-in maid for their weekend house in East Hampton. When the Crawfords’ son Brandon comes home from college one weekend, something horrible occurs, and Drina unwittingly becomes the only person outside the family to know. But before her conscience gets the best of her, the Crawfords have something to say about it.
Annabella Sciorra, Philip Ettinger, and Paula Garcés star in Michael Walker’s haunting psychological thriller, which explores the complex relationships between truth and justice, hubris and power, wealth and fear.
Please describe THE MAID’S ROOM in your own words.
Michael Walker: The Maid’s Room is a psychological thriller about a maid who gets a job for a family in the Hamptons and becomes the only witness to a crime that the family wants to cover up.
As the writer/director, what inspired you to tell this particular story?
MW: Mostly I was shocked by the hatred against immigrants that was being created and stirred up by politicians, and the effects that was having on people.
Can you tell us a little about shooting your film in our own backyard? Why did you select the Hamptons as your film’s setting?
MW: I chose the Hamptons because it is a beautiful and unique place, a place where the higher levels of wealth and power could be looked at in a realistic setting. There was a contrast between the beauty of their surroundings and the horror of the film that I thought was important.
Shooting the film in the Hamptons was amazing because I live here, or in Bellport, which is very close. My kids came to the set. I knew the locations I wanted. I had a lot of friends who helped out. The Village was very helpful. It was a great experience.
What do you want audiences to take away from your film?
MW: In the end, The Maid’s Room has a very simple moral message, but it has a lot of ideas and should give an audience a lot to think about. It’s a tragedy and a dark film, but it’s not depressing, and there’s a lot of fun and suspense in it.
Do you have one piece of advice for aspiring filmmakers?
MW: Stop shooting everything handheld.
What are you most looking forward to at the 2013 Hamptons International Film Festival?
MW: I’m looking forward to showing the film to an audience who lives where the film takes place.
The Maid’s Room opens in theaters and debuts on VOD on August 8, 2014.
Writer/director Michael Walker made his feature filmmaking debut with the Lions Gate release Chasing Sleep, starring Jeff Daniels, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. A graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Film Program, Michael also studied at the Stella Adler Conservatory for Acting in Los Angeles. His second feature, Price Check, starring Parker Posey, premiered at Sundance in 2012, and was distributed by IFC Films. He currently lives in New York.