SIGN UP

Creating an account with Tribecafilm.com gives you access to more features and services, like our weekly newsletter and other special features just for the film community.

SIGN UP
NEWSARTICLE

Interview with Charisse Waugh

Based on a true story, Catfish follows a strong-willed African-American woman as she stands up to a powerful corporation on behalf of her small Mississippi town. She risks her family and her marriage, and ultimately spearheads one of the biggest workers strike in U.S. history. Catfish - the first screenplay by New York-based writer, Charisse Waugh who brought the project to our own Tribeca All Access program in 2006 – was just optioned by Alicia Keys' production company, Big Pita, Little Pita.

Tribeca: How long have you been working on this script?

Charisse Waugh: I had written an article on this story about ten years ago for a women’s magazine and I always thought it would make a great film, but I had never written a screenplay. So I just took a crack at it and, towards the end of 2005 -- when I found out about Tribeca All Access -- I finished it.

Tribeca: As part of the magazine article, did you go to Mississippi to interview these women?

Waugh: I originally went down to cover the conditions in the Mississippi jails, but this is the story that actually came out of it. I was being shown around by one of the lawyers from one of the families I was interviewing and he mentioned Catfish to me. When I heard about the strike that had taken place and that they had unionized three or four years before that, I just knew that was the story I needed to cover, so I just went and interviewed her.


TribecaWhat was your experience with Tribeca All Access?

Waugh: Writing this movie was so fun, and I really believed in the story, but I never thought it would happen so fast. Something that would have taken me years of knocking down doors, I was able to do in a month because of TAA. For those of us who are writers or filmmakers from under-represented communities, the access they have to the industry and the ability to connect you to established filmmakers is simply amazing. I had complete faith in the story and in the script itself, but it only happened this fast because of TAA.

Tribeca: What kind of writing do you usually do?

Waugh: During the day I’m a senior writer for a big non-profit and I’ve freelanced for many years. Right now I’m working on my third screenplay, so I’m still at it!

Tribeca: Are you a movie-lover?

Waugh: I love movies. I love the whole process: going to the theater, getting the horrible popcorn, finding a seat and then watching the lights go down. It’s a little corrupted now because of the previews and such, but I love it. I even enjoy not liking a movie!

» Read More About the Film

» Read More Interviews




CALL SHEET

What you need to know today

    RELATED STORIES