Cape Town - Max Minghella (The Handmaid's Tale) makes his directorial debut with the indie drama Teen Spirit.
For the writer-director, it was a challenge to find someone who could act, sing, dance and speak two languages.
That was until actress Elle Fanning heard about the upcoming project. At the time the 21-year-old was looking for a film in which she could act and sing in. She sent Max a video of herself performing and the rest, as they say, is history.
In Teen Spirit, Elle plays Violet, a shy teenager who dreams of escaping her small town and pursuing her passion for singing. With the help of an unlikely mentor (Zlatko Buric), she enters a local singing competition that will test her integrity, talent and ambition.
The Maleficent actress spent months preparing for the role and worked closely with executive music producer Marius de Vries, performing all the singing live.
In an exclusive interview at TIFF, Max said, "Elle really understood and connected with this role in a meaningful way. Her understanding of the script but also the frames of reference with what the film might look or feel like."
Speaking about working with Max, Elle said that they were on the same page with everything.
"There was a documentary called Girl Model that I had seen. I really imagined the movie looking that way when I read the script. I told him [Max] that and it was some inspiration for him when he wrote the script."
Teen Spirit releases in SA cinemas on Friday, 27 September.
Compiled by Leandra Engelbrecht.