Little Miss Sunshine Belonging

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Hello, my name is Valerie Faris, and I am one of the co-directors (along with Jonathan Dayton) of the film, 'Little Miss Sunshine'. When making this film, my co-director and I heavily aimed to portray the different ways we as human beings search to find our place in the world. We focused on the conception of building relationships and trust within the concept of a family. We wanted to convey the concept that when it comes to family, its never too late to re-connect and belong.

Our film follows an extended family on their journey from New Mexico to California, as young daughter Olive prepares to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

In the beginning of the film, each member of the family feels isolated from one another, a series of montage shots as the opening scene, of each of the characters alone and going about their daily routine, conveys the initial distance while introducing each of the characters. We aimed to emphasise the members as individuals, to portray their lack of connection to each other.

To demonstrate the varying attitudes and emotions felt by each of the characters as they were forced to come together, and to reinforce the discomfort and awkwardness of feeling isolated, we dressed Dwayne, Frank and Grandpa predominately in black, white and grey. We did this deliberately to strengthen their lack of enthusiasm about being on the trip and, most importantly, being together, to highlight their sense of division and detachment from the rest of the family. Dwayne writes on his pad, “I hate everyone” underlying “everyone”, in order to strengthen the idea that Dwayne doesn't want to belong to his family, reinforcing that his desire to join the airforce really symbolises his yearning to escape.

To juxtapose this, we dressed little Olive in bright red throughout the film, in order to portray her naivety and her ignorance of her families problems. She is too young to be able to judge the other members of the family, and therefore...
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