Selah and the Spades (NEXT)
Who: Tayarisha Poe, writer-director
Logline: Five factions run the underground life of the prestigious Haldwell boarding school, and at the head of the most powerful faction of them all—The Spades—sits Selah Summers. By turns charming and callous, she chooses whom to keep close and whom to cut loose, walking the fine line between being feared and loved.
The first spark of an idea for this movie came when: I was working a job in the media center of my alma mater and I started to wonder what life would be like for a black girl who did exactly what she wanted at all times with no concerns for the consequences.
An audience watching my film probably won’t know that: our entire approach to the look of the film is heavily influenced by when Rihanna says, “Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage?” in her song “Needed Me,” from her incomparable album ANTI.
The most interesting, weirdest, or most difficult location we shot at was: The Academy at Penguin Hall near Salem, MA, where we shot almost everything in the film. It was simultaneously odd, beautiful, eerie, and magical. It used to be a convent, then it was an ad agency, and now it’s a school for badass girls.
The biggest lesson I learned making this movie was: bug spray is fake. It doesn’t work.
When I heard we got into Sundance I: tried to call my parents but it was so cold out that my phone died.