Actress-turned-writer-director Megan Park never expected to be a filmmaker, let alone an award-winning one. Nevertheless, when her directorial debut, The Fallout, premiered at South By Southwest in 2021, it took home the festival's Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award, as well as the first-ever Brightcove Illumination Award in honor of a filmmaker on the rise.
Her coming-of-age drama, about high schoolers (played by Jenna Ortega, Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch and Will Ropp) navigating their trauma in the aftermath of a school shooting, is making its way to HBO Max, where it will be streaming starting Jan. 27. "It feels like it's finally going out in the world," Park tells A.frame, "which is scary – but also really exciting."
Park can cite an extensive list of movies that helped shape her as a filmmaker – like The Florida Project, Newness, Patti Cake$, Eighth Grade and Obvious Child – but below, she shares with us the five movies that most inspired her as a filmmaker.
Directed by Melanie Laurent
Breathe is definitely the No. 1 film that has influenced me as a filmmaker. I was stunned by the pacing of that film when I initially saw it. I think – with a lot of French cinema – I've noticed that they're not afraid to – this is a dumb joke but – literally leave room to breathe. Like, [allow] air in the scenes. There is something about the pacing of that film that forever stuck with me, and I still use it as a visual reference all the time. I think it's so beautiful. And talk about choosing actors who embody the characters so well. That film is a perfect example of that and so beautifully executed.
Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
I actually saw Mustang because of Shailene [Woodley]. She was on the jury at a film festival, and she was like, "Megan, you have to see this movie." So, we watched it together. And it is such a beautiful story. There is something about casting completely unknown actors who had never done anything and children who were so gifted that is so inspiring to me. And again, these beautiful kind of silhouette-y moments. That film really captures the quiet moments that you don't normally see that can actually be more defining than the traditional moment. Like, it's not just about the weddings, it's not about the birthdays, it's not about these big milestones we see all the time. It can be these little things in the world that rock you to your core. And that film had so many of those beautiful, explosive moments in such a subtle way.
Directed by Sofia Coppola
If you watch the music video [I directed for the band Elohim], "Hallucinating," you'll be like, "Oh, Megan's obsessed with Somewhere!" I love everything Sofia Coppola does, but there's a common theme in the movies on this list. I think they all are very quiet movies, if that's the right word to describe them. I remember watching the opening scene of that movie with the car [going] around the racetrack, that goes on for so long, and I was instantly hooked. Or the figure skating scene of Elle Fanning, where you're getting to see all the raw messy in-betweens and the stuff that you'd normally cut away from. Loved that she wasn't afraid to lose peoples' attention. And again, it's so beautifully shot, and [it offers] such a unique perspective on an often-told story – which is something that's always interesting and exciting to me.
Directed by Céline Sciamma
The casting is what's most inspiring to me about Tomboy, especially the sibling relationships. There's [a set of] sisters in the movie, and it's so real and so authentic that I just couldn't look away. I really couldn't. So many of the moments with the sisters stick out to me and inspire me. I hope that I can one day create something that is as beautiful as that film.
Directed by Lena Dunham
When I told this list to my mom, she was like, "I'm not surprised you said Tiny Furniture. When that movie came out, you did not shut up about it for, like, a year." And she's right. There was a rawness and a uniqueness to the voice of that film. And that's totally my generation – I'm literally the same age as Lena [Dunham] – so it really spoke to me and that moment in my life. There was an authenticity – she used her family – it was shot in her house. And her voice, from the first second of that movie, is so specific and so clear. She really allows room to breathe in that movie, and is really unafraid to be messy – which I love!