An Interview with Carissa Lynelle – By Misty Layne

Carissa Lynelle is a writer and student at Moraine Valley Community College. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology she is currently in the CADC Drugs and Addictions program at Moraine Valley to pursue her career of becoming a certified drugs and addictions counselor. Lynelle is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for her independent low-budget film, “Edie”. The “Edie” film production team includes newcomer writer and producer, Carissa Lynelle as well as Director, Cinematographer/Editor and Producer, Mark Nadolski. The cast currently includes Carissa Lynelle to be played as Edie Sedgwick, Timothy Martin as Andy Warhol, Carrington Rowe as Ingrid Superstar, and Rhashad Washington. Lynelle is also currently in contact with Ryan Hill, nephew of Paul America, to possibly play Paul. Lynelle’s film was also featured as an Indie Wire Project of the Day. For more information about Lynelle or her current film project, visit Lynelle’s Facebook page or her Kickstarter campaign.

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ML: I’m a big fan of the hippie movement and counterculture, but growing up was more aware of and into people like John Lennon. You mention on your Kickstarter site that you decided to write a film about Edie Sedgwick after watching “Factory Girl”. Was that your first introduction to Edie or had you previously been a fan of hers?

CL: Yes, watching “Factory Girl,” was my first introduction to Edie, when I had watched it a few years ago, but I actually just started becoming interested in Edie about a year ago. I guess you could say it wasn’t love at first sight even though I still found her story to be quite fascinating back then.

ML: You also mention in your video on your Kickstarter site that this will be your first film. Have you always been interested in filmmaking or was this idea just the thing that has gotten you into the idea of filmmaking?

CL: Actually, my first major in college was filmmaking at Columbia College Chicago. However, I was hit with all of the basic classes that I had to take first, and somehow it just didn’t work out at Columbia, and I pursed a psychology degree instead at DePaul University. However, I have always been writing my own plays and stories since around the age of eight, and have always enjoyed writing. It has always been my favorite hobby.

ML: If I’m correct (and please correct me if I’m wrong!), you’ll also be playing Edie in the film. How does it feel to be able to portray a woman you feel such a connection with?

CL: Yes, I will be playing Edie in my film. It feels great! I have studied Edie for about a year now, and I feel through my studying her that it has actually made me pick up some of her quirky characteristics.

ML: Why Edie? Why not Marilyn or Audrey or Liz Taylor? They’re huge icons too so what specifically draws you more to Edie rather than other icons?

CL: This is a good question; actually, because about a year ago I was deciding on the character I wanted to write about. My first thought that came to mind was Marilyn Monroe as I had always been a big fan of her. However, I felt there were already a lot of movies made about her. So my next thought that came to mind was Edie. I remembered the movie “Factory Girl” and how interesting it had been, but I never really knew whom the real Edie Sedgwick was, besides Sienna Miller playing the part. Thus, I began researching Edie, and the more I researched her the more fascinated I became with her, and her life story. Not only was her life interesting when she appeared in the factory, but it was also very interesting before and after she was in the factory.

ML: What are your thoughts on Andy Warhol and his use of Edie as his muse?

CL: I’m undecided on this. In a way I think Andy may have used Edie for fame and for his own gain, but then again I’m not sure. I think for a short time they had a wonderful relationship with each other.

ML: You seem to also be very into the fashion of the 60s and 70s, at least from what I could gather from the video on your Kickstarter page – how big a part will the fashion play in your film? Will it simply be background or will it play more of an integral part?

CL: It will actually play a big part in the film as the characters and I in the film will be dressing in a similar style of what the characters wore in their time. I really want the film to look very 60’s too!

ML: You’ll also be using this film to touch on points that are similar to the 60s counterculture today. Can you tell us what some of those points will be and how you plan on incorporating them?

CL: Yes. I believe that the 60’s helped shape our culture today, with the hippy movement, and there recently has been a whole new genre of people today called hipsters. We will be filming in some of the hipster areas in Chicago, such as the neighborhood of Boystown in Lincoln Park. It is also a very gay friendly community and I plan on incorporating some aspects of the gay pride movement into my film as well. In the 60’s people were just coming out of the closet, and now more and more people are coming out, and I think that’s a great thing.

ML: What’s your absolute favorite thing about 60s/70s culture?

CL: My most favorite thing about the 60’s and 70’s culture is the fashion and freedom that went along with it. People started to rebel around this time, including Edie Sedgwick!

ML: What are your hopes for the future of your film?

CL: I’m planning on sending my film to many film festivals. It will first be a short, and if all goes well it will be made into a feature in the near future. I then hope for it to hit the theaters leaving a lasting impression on the whole 60’s and 70’s era, and of course for people to know the real Edie Sedgwick, as well as bring back the lost and forgotten characters from Andy Warhol’s factory such as Baby Jane Holzer, Viva, and Paul America. Interestingly, I’ve recently gotten into touch with Paul America’s nephew, Ryan Hill, and we are discussing meeting soon to talk about my movie. I am hoping Ryan will play his uncle, Paul, in it, as I want his legacy to carry on!

ML: What advice can you give first time filmmakers?

CL: Be brave, and don’t let anyone or anything keep you from pursuing your dream. There’s always going to be critiques out there that want you to fail, and who will criticize you, but you must never give up and let them win!