OKC native makes directorial debut with 'White Girl'
Elizabeth Wood, writer and director of "White Girl," is bringing her film back to her native Oklahoma this weekend.
The film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, will show at AMC Quail Springs, 2501 W Memorial Road, starting Friday.
Wood said it's full circle of a sort to return to Quail Springs, as she noted that, growing up, she "saw some films that were very influential for me there. ... I think it's so cool that they're programming diverse and independent film."
Wood went to high school at Classen School of Advanced Studies before heading to New York for college, arriving shortly before 2001's 9/11 attacks.
Her film is a loose re-creation of some of her college-era experiences, in which a white girl from Oklahoma City moves to the Ridgewood area of Queens and gets involved with a Puerto Rican drug dealer. That cross-cultural, star-crossed romance is at the heart of "White Girl," which asks its audience to consider a lot of implications about power and privilege in modern America.
"While the main character is making quite wild decisions, I'm not judging her and I don't think she's ‘bad,' ” Wood said. "I want to hear what people think it is I'm trying to say. If anything, I want people to have conversations."
She said male and female audience members in screenings have had different reactions to some of the film's sexual encounters.
"When are you taking advantage of someone?" Wood said. "When are you aware that you're doing something wrong? Where is that fine line? It's complicated."
Questions of gender and race relations seem particularly timely, but Wood says some of these issues have always been around.
"The story in a way to me feels timeless," she said. "It's kind of a 'Romeo and Juliet' story, kind of a tragic doomed love story, and these dynamics, these power and gender dynamics, seem like they've been around as long as time. Could they change? I don't know."
Wood said it was important for her to reflect a female point of view in her film even if it made some people uncomfortable.
"It's important to me to tell stories where women get to take the same kind of adventures that men do," Wood said.
One way she might put a female hero through adventures could be in an action film.
Internet reports have indicated Wood has met with Marvel Entertainment about the upcoming “Captain Marvel” film.
“I guess anything's a possibility. … I certainly do not have the job yet, how's that?” Wood said.
Nonetheless, Wood's star is on the rise after her Sundance debut, and she hopes her film might inspire future filmmakers.
"I hope that someone else goes to check out the film, someone from Oklahoma, and realizes they can tell any story they want to," she said.