Mylissa Fitzsimmons’ desire to be a film director manifested in a similar way to a lot of the women I have featured on this blog. It even slightly mirrors my own journey of discovering a love of film and a need to tell stories from behind the camera.
A daydreamer with a love for storytelling she was given a camera by her grandpa and soon discovered films were more than simply entertainment. “From there is was just something I knew I wanted to do even though I didn’t even think I could. By that I mean, that I didn’t know women could make movies” she said, “I thought that the only way to do films was to be an actress, so for a very brief time I thought that’s what my path was going to be. It wasn’t until my last year in school that my teacher encouraged me to be behind the camera. It just felt more natural and real to me. I still didn’t know if it was something I could do but I just knew I wanted to do that.”
Although there was a strong desire to be behind a movie camera Mylissa ended up working as a photographer for many years before transitioning into documentary work and then starting a family. “It wasn’t till just these last few years I even started making short narrative films. Which I’m glad I did, my age and life experiences have made me a better filmmaker.” Now Mylissa is tackling her first feature, Everything in the End, which provides new challenges but also new excitement. “I took my time experimenting in shorts so that when it came time to make a feature I knew exactly what I wanted…The most daunting part for me is just waiting.” she said, “I can be impatient when it comes to making films. I tend to have little money and little time so I always am rushing. But with this feature I’ve been forced to slow down with pre-production, because we still have a small budget and less time. So I’m trying not to get anxious about waiting, when all I want to do is make a film.”
The films story follows Hugo, still healing from the death of his mother, he travels to Iceland in hopes of fulfilling his mother’s wish for him to have an adventurous life. After arriving Hugo, along with the rest of world, discovers that the earth will cease to exist in a matter of days. Unable to get home he finds himself in a small village where he encounters the people he will spend his final days with.
Filming in an international location sounds daunting to me so I was curious to know why Iceland in particular was picked for the set of the story. “I’ve been back and forth to Iceland a lot in the past few years and last year I took part in the Reykjavik Talent Lab. I knew the first trip there I wanted to shoot something there.” Mylissa explained, “While I was there I had thought to myself, if I was ever going to be stranded somewhere it would be in Iceland because I knew that the kindness of strangers would take care of me…When thinking about the world in general and whether or not it would slip into this mass chaos of dystopia, I really wanted to find place where there most likely wouldn’t be this madness.“
The film also boasts a 50/50 gender split crew, which despite what others in the industry might say has never seemed to be a difficulty for Mylissa. “I have always worked this way and it has never been hard for me to find gender parity on set,” she said. “Any time I can get any collaboration from someone who has a different opinion or point of view is a benefit to me in helping make a better film and become a better storyteller / filmmaker.”
Although the independent film scene provides much more opportunity to make films the next step is where things become more difficult. Entering festivals and trying to get distribution are where projects find their audience. I asked Mylissa about her distribution plan once the film was finished. “Along with a festival run we’ll also focus on having a stronger international presence and a possible tour with the film around colleges and private screenings. From there find our way onto streaming platforms with hopefully a small theatrical run.”
With less than a week to go on the indiegogo campaign and just over 50% of the funds raised Mylissa and the rest of crew could use some more support to get this incredible story told. For a more in depth look into the film and it’s cast and crew check out the campaign page below.