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Tribeca Takes: Melanie Schiele

Filmmakers take note: this woman knows how to use social media! The director of TFF 2010's award-winning short Delilah, Before is working on her follow-up, Rockaway, which she is funding via Kickstarter.

Rockaway: Melanie Schiele
Melanie Schiele


When Delilah, Before was awarded the Best Virtual Short prize at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival closing ceremony, my heart leapt. My mother was standing next to me and grasped my arm so tightly in all of the excitement that I had to gently nudge her that they were expecting me onstage to accept! When I made my way to the podium, I saw a packed room of applauding filmmakers who reminded me of how thankful I am to be a part of this artistic medium and community. It was my first hometown screening for a film I was particularly proud of, and after spending three years of intensive filmmaking studies in Singapore at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia, the Festival experience proved to be both an emotional homecoming and a pivotal moment in what I hope to be a challenging and fruitful career.
After the Festival, I had the distinct honor of graduating with my pioneering classmates back in Singapore; together, we had bravely broken new ground with the birth of NYU Tisch Asia. We’ve become such a tight-knit community that I strongly believe no matter what disparate corners of the world our film endeavors take us, we will always be united in the same mission: to make films that illustrate our unique voices and beckon people to listen.
Delilah, Before
Delilah, Before


Delilah, Before was an important and universal film in my eyes because it portrayed the delicate nature of mother-daughter relationships. I am fascinated by how we interact with the people we love. There are moments of deep satisfaction and joy that strengthen our bonds, but I feel that relationships show their truest colors and measure in times of grief, loss, and disconnect. It’s under these circumstances that we are tested and reveal our innate character. My current desire is to find a suitable home and distribution outlet for Delilah, Before, both in the U.S. and internationally. I have been in discussions with a Singaporean women’s mentoring facility to show the film as part of their youth curriculum, which focuses on rehabilitating young women who have been through abusive relationships, drug addiction, or teenage pregnancy, or are recovering from criminal offenses. The film also continues to travel on the festival circuit, and I was very fortunate to have it shown at the Traverse City Film Festival this year upon the invitation of Michael Moore.



As for what’s next, I am in preproduction on my follow-up film Rockaway, a narrative short about a teenager's struggle with sexual abuse and the loss of the only safe haven she has ever known. It will be shot in Rockaway, Queens, NY—an incredibly cinematic beachside community that was home to both my grandmother (for over 35 years) and many of my fondest childhood memories. The mission of Rockaway is to illustrate a flawed character who behaves in damaging ways both to herself and the world around her, but ultimately recognizes that she needs to change her attitude about the past before she makes choices for her future. My goal is to explore the unsteady terrain through which many young women navigate the transition from unprotected childhood to adulthood, contributing to discussions about grief and sexuality.


I am fundraising for the film Rockaway on Kickstarter, which has proven to be an excellent resource for young filmmakers. Not only is it a remarkable means to fundraise, but it is equally useful as a platform to build general awareness for a project for which one is passionate. I’ve been receiving generous donations from people I’ve never even met before—simply because they believe in the project—and that is enormously encouraging as I set forth to make the film later this year.


Ten Years From Now: Melanie Schiele Rockaway: Melanie Schiele
Ten Years From Now; Jordan Schiele


My brother and fellow NYU filmmaker, Jordan Schiele, will be the director of photography on Rockaway, and we are excited to create a visually dynamic film that will encompass the dissolving treasures of childhood, pastoral romance, and staggering isolation that reflect the emotional life of the characters. Jordan and I have collaborated on several short films prior to this, including his recently completed film Ten Years From Now—a beautiful film I was honored to produce in Shanghai about a complex relationship between lifelong friends.
Rockaway is a film about lost souls, both young and old, and it reaffirms my gratitude for the people who continually support me as I find my way in the film realm. Tribeca has already played a key role in my growth and I can’t wait to revisit the festival circuit with my next project, thanks to those who have stood behind me.


Learn more about Melanie Schiele.


Want to be a part of Rockaway? You can support the film here.


Supporting films on social media is a totally free way to become involved:
Rockaway on Facebook
 Delilah, Before on Facebook

Rockaway on Twitter

Delilah, Before on Twitter


Watch the trailer for Delilah, Before:



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