A “totally 80s” teenager’s dreams are destroyed by a car wreck that leaves her in a coma for 19 years. After miraculously awakening at the age of 38, she struggles to fit into a world of Starbucks and cell phones, and attempts to win back the love of her life. This is the story of Leaving Limbo, a film that asks that deep question, what would you do if you lost nineteen years of your life? Leaving Limbo will be screening at the John Paul II International Film Festival on Thursday, April 10th, 2014 at 8:30PM at the Paragon Grove 13 theater in Coconut Grove, FL.
Director Sandy Boikian was able to sit down with us and answer a few questions regarding her film.
Frank(JP2IFF Co-Director): How would you pitch your movie to an audience?
Sandy(Director, Leaving Limbo): Not only does Leaving Limbo offer a fun and entertaining movie-going experience, but the concept will give you a lot to take away and ponder long after the film ends.
It’s a wake-up call. Perhaps you’ve found yourself merely existing in some sort of
a spiritual coma. It’s not too late to wake up and live the life you were created to live.
Frank: In your opinion, how does your film fit into the 2014 theme, INSPIRATION? This question applies to the film itself as well as its production process.
Sandy: Bad things happen that are out of our control. It seems so unfair. But God uses those situations, working through them and in them for the good of others as well as the victims. The film also deals with the pain of living with guilt and learning to let go of that pain and forgive yourself and others. It deals with surrendering to God and the restoration that follows the choice to surrender.
Frank: You had a solid cast, what was your casting process like?
Sandy: The casting process was both exciting and nerve-wracking. We are located just outside of Hollywood, so I had plenty of talent to draw from. Hundreds of actors auditioned. After a lot of prayer, callbacks, interviews, and more prayer, I called the actors I believed were meant to participate. As soon as each role was cast, the anxiety of making a mistake disappeared and I felt peace that the right choices had been made.
Frank: My favorite character in your film is Nurse Rosa. She took so much care of Monica when she was in a coma. Was her character inspired by someone in your life?
Sandy: Rosa actually came from a mixture of real-life people who are nurturing, quirky, and like to talk a lot. As an introvert I am drawn to outgoing personalities who take that pressure off of me.
Frank: Your lead, Mandy Brown, captured the essence of the 80’s through a Molly Ringwald performance. How did you direct her in her role?
Sandy: I met Mandy when she auditioned for “My Wonderful Coma,” the play that “Leaving Limbo” was based on. Many of the actresses who auditioned tried very hard to force the eighties vibe. Some even sounded like they were trying to be cute or funny, reading her like a Valley Girl.
Before Mandy auditioned, I just told her, “Look, this is who Monica is. Don’t make fun of her. Why would you make fun of yourself?”
When Mandy auditioned, the character of Monica flowed so naturally and organically from her that I barely even noticed the slang words or mannerisms. They were secondary, just part of who she was. Mandy was a delight to direct in the play and in the film. She was born to play Monica. And, as one of my casting assistants pointed out, “She had great HAIR for the role, too!”
Frank: What is your favorite scene in the film? Why?
Sandy: When Monica first comes home from the hospital, she is lost and devastated. Everything has changed so drastically, as if she woke up on another planet. Then she enters her bedroom and finds it exactly the way she left it. It’s her safe place. She smiles. She makes the decision to go get her life back. She goes about it all wrong – otherwise there wouldn’t be a story. But the fact that she takes initiative, in that moment, is what sets her journey in motion. It’s a good reminder to me that taking action is necessary to move forward in everything I have been called to do.