'My True Fairytale' embraces grief through a mystical story inspired by real life
April 22, 2021
My True Fairytale rides the balance between horrific and hopeful, mythical and magical, and learning how to save yourself when it matters most. The film could be described as a suspenseful thriller as much as a drama with a lesson.
Filmmaker D. Mitry set out to make the film after a tragic accident took his daughter’s life. His protagonist in the film, Angie Goodwin (Emma Kennedy), disappears after a car accident; or, as she succinctly puts it, “after a wrong turn in life.” Mitry says he started working on a script for the film almost immediately after the accident that so deeply affected his own life.
“Something inside of me told me you have to tell this story, but in a different type of way. I took a different, unconventional approach; instead of directly thinking she’s gone, instead I was thinking she’s still here. And by writing this movie I built that invisible bridge to connect with her.”
It’s clear Mitry had his daughter at the forefront of his mind throughout the process. Angie almost immediately gets to work saving the world, mysteriously appearing in her friends' lives. Sometimes she appears as herself at the edge of a pond when her friend is out for a run, or sometimes she speaks to those who need her via a stuffed animal, but Angie is most present when she visits her father in Los Angeles. It’s here she feels she has the most unfinished business and her father welcomes her, not questioning her disappearance, her injuries, or what exactly happened. Instead of contacting the authorities (who are on a hunt for Angie as she is still listed as a missing person in her small town), he just lets her exist. It’s a lovely notion, but it also might trigger viewers to immediately be of the mind that Angie is indeed already dead, existing in the human plane as a ghost or simply in the memories of those who knew her best.
Either way, Angie’s presence is still more than welcome in the lives of those she touched as fellow teenagers deal with typical struggles of trying to get their parents to understand them. Angie helps her friend who has gone through a string of misdemeanors reconnect with his father. She helps an interracial young couple finally stand up to their parents in the name of love. Perhaps most importantly, she and her estranged father finally seem to understand each other.
Mitry stated each role was influenced by his own daughter’s real-life friends. They helped name each character and he spent time learning about his daughter’s life through her friends after she was gone. When asked if Angie saves these people (as seemed to be her dying wish) Mitry replied: “I think ultimately they saved themselves, but with Angie’s guidance.”
Perhaps one of the most interesting things about Angie’s world is who can see her and who cannot. Mitry’s rules of the world include that, “those people who are open to receiving her messages were able to connect with her. Ultimately, the idea of Angie is that she is accessible to everybody, but it takes a joint effort on both sides," he said.
"Angie exists on a side that we know in everyday life to what some people call beyond the pale.”
But Angie’s ‘beyond the pale’ and accessibility is perhaps the loveliest part of the film. Being reminded that perhaps if one is just open enough, love can always be accessed when needed most.
This idea was also Mitry’s ultimate goal with My True Fairytale.
“I want people to realize the incredible and omnipotent power of love, and see it as a superpower they have, no matter how bad things get," he said.
"Love, as phony as it sounds, will save the day at the end. Love will save the day. I want them also to realize that they already live in the fairytale, but only they can make that fairytale come true and with that superpower of love ... I’m the living witness of that.”
My True Fairytale premiered on VOD and in theaters on April 9.
Written by: Lindsay StidhamLindsay holds an MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. She has overseen two scripts from script to screen as a writer/ producer. SPOONER, starring Matthew Lillard (SLAMDANCE), and DOUCHEBAG (SUNDANCE) both released theatrically. Most recently Lindsay sold PLAY NICE starring Mary Lynn Rajskub. The series was distributed on Hulu. Recent directing endeavors include the Walla Walla premiering (and best screenplay nominated) TIL DEATH DO US PART, and the music video for Bible Belt’s Tomorrow All Today. Lindsay is currently working on an interactive romcom for the production company Effin' Funny, and a feature film script for Smarty Pants Pictures. Lindsay also currently works as an Adjunct Screenwriting Faculty member at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. You can follow her work here: https://lindsaystidham.onfabrik.com/