Interview with Screenwriter/Producer Michelle L. Silva (THE DEAD DRIVER)

THE DEAD DRIVER, 18min,. USA, Fantasy/Drama
Directed by Rachel Jacob
Transporting the dearly departed to the funeral home for the past thirty-five years, 75-year-old Bernie has a shocking wakeup call as he transports his latest client, perhaps one he has been waiting for his entire life.

Get to know the Screenwriter / Producer Michelle L. Silva :

1. What motivated you to make this film?
The Dead Driver was inspired by my Nana, my mom’s mom, and subsequently, my mom’s death many years later. How does one explain the deepest loves of my life? Their love shaped everything about who I am.

Sitting with my Nana at the time of her death, I had an unexpected reaction. A loud guttural noise escaped my body, and I remember jutting my arms up into the air towards Heaven crying out her name. I raced to the bathroom and hurled into the toilet, my body trembling, and crying hysterically.

Subsequently, when my mom died several years later from an unknown virus, I felt a rage inside of me. My stepdad, brother and I were at my mom’s bedside when she took her last breath. When she died, it was the coldest day of my life.

When my Nana passed away at her home, a white van came to pick her body up and take her to the funeral home. As the van exited her driveway, I remember thinking that I would write a story about her death and what I imagined happening as the van drove away. Twenty-three years later, I sat down to write The Dead Driver, and wrote about her death in a way that I wish I would have handled her passing, and my mom’s.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The entire project took less than six-months.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Soulmates & Afterlife.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Our biggest obstacle was the driving sequence. We had several plans in place in case our first plan did not work. Luckily we filmed for an entire day at New Orleans’ local PBS station in front of the LED Wall. Our short film was the first to film in front of this technology with its installation completed just a day before we started principal photography. Our team was fortunate to spend the day filming in the comforts of a studio while depicting this nighttime scene.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was very pleased with the feedback of The Dead Driver, and happy that the audience understood the message of soulmates, reincarnation, and the heavenly scenes. This film is so deeply personal, and I wish that the audience could view the video I created explaining the journey and connection to this topic of death and the afterlife.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
At 55-years-old, I am a newbie to filmmaking. My production company Entertainment GOES is about 2.5 years-old, yet I’ve worked non-stop creating unique content with stories reflecting subjects that are dear to me. In college, I workshopped a manuscript that ignited such a buzz in me that I set my sights on moving to LA to work in Film & TV. I met my now husband, and life happened. I got married, we had a child, and I really didn’t have any goals except to be there for my family. When my daughter received “The Artist’s Way” from her acting coach, I picked up a copy for myself to read along with her. It changed my life and reintroduced all of the passions that were missing in my life. I haven’t stopped writing and producing since that day nearly three years ago.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Hands down! Forrest Gump. Grease. Titanic.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
L.A. Feedback Film Festival is so unique. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m thrilled with this platform and the ability to hear what your audience thought of The Dead Driver.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

10. What is your favorite meal?
Ha Ha! I love a nice piece of Salmon, rice and veges. Or, pizza!

11. What is next for you? A new film?
You can follow along as we prepare to start our first feature length film, Secrets on Bonnbel, a young-adult thriller.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: