|"The Heat" filmmaker Chris Eversole talks about Hurricane Sandy's role in making the film, watching Heather interact with her daughter and her spirit of perseverance.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being an independent filmmaker?
Seeing a project come to fruition after many months of development and then seeing that project means a lot to the subject.
Which filmmakers inspired you to get behind the lens?
James Longley, Derek Cianfrance, Spielberg.
Could you list three films that all independent film supporters should take the time to see?
"Iraq in Fragments" by James Longley. This film breaks the mold of documentary filmmaking not only in its narrative execution but in the immense depth with which Longley reveals his subjects. "Blue Valentine" by Derek Cianfrance. This fiction film feels more real than a documentary and uncovers the layers of a relationship that most people would rather avoid. It’s an incredibly honest film. "The Hurt Locker" by Kathryn Bigelow. A modern war story that dives into the addiction of war and its distant effects on family back home.
What do you hope the audience comes away with after seeing your film?
I hope the audience comes away inspired and feeling like they were told a good story. Heather is a great example of what can be done when you decide not to give up on yourself even if others have given up on you.
What would this film have looked like if Hurricane Sandy had not impacted New York City as greatly as it did?
This film probably would not have happened if Hurricane Sandy didn’t have the impact that it did. When a tragedy strikes, stories of hope and renewal often sprout up through the rubble like defiant flowers. That said, Heather’s personal story would remain unchanged. She would still be the fighter she was and is regardless of any obstacles that fell on her path.
Did you find yourself emotionally engaged with Heather and her determination to overcome the adversities you documented in the film?
My emotional engagement with Heather was paramount in the making of this film. It’s what compelled me to hop on a plane from Kansas City to NYC to document her struggle. The depth of her strength reminded me of my mother and I thought that kind of strength should be shared with others.
Which scenes were the most rewarding to film?
I really enjoyed filming Heather train with Devon. She gives every second of training all the effort she can muster and her facial expressions resonated with that fatigue. It’s hard not to feel rewarded when you see someone put in all that effort and it pays off for them.