Festivals - FCAD 2023 : Wayward : let’s talk with Jacquelyn Frohlich   

By Mulder, Deauville, Hôtel Barrière Le Royal , 07 september 2023

Jacquelyn Frohlich's directorial debut, Wayward" made its mark at the Deauville American Film Festival. The film explores the strained relationship between mother and daughter, Arlene and Cleo, as they embark on a journey from Idaho to California. The movie introduces tension between Arlene and Cleo, which deepens as they meet Orbison, a mysterious young woman. While promising, the film occasionally falters with artificial moments. However, the standout performances by Chloe Guidry and Jessica Sula keep the audience engaged. Wayward offers a captivating experience, despite some flaws, and hints at a bright future for Frohlich's filmmaking career. The Deauville screening presented a unique blend of emotions and genres, making it a promising start for this director's future projects.

Q :  What inspired you to create Wayward as your debut feature film ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : I'm really interested in the life of a child. I think it's very rarely explored or depicted in a beautiful way or an intimate way and so that was one of the reasons for my making Years film

Q :  Could you explain the significance of the title Wayward in the context of the film's narrative ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : that's a very good question we had a very hard time finding a title and Wayward in a way is about going the wrong way but other film is full of references that are things that appear to be one way and there then are another and so Wayward is about getting lost or going the wrong way but sometimes you need to get lost to find the right way home

Q :  How did the idea for the film's plot, involving a mother-daughter road trip and kidnapping, come about ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : I grew up in Colombia and there are lots of kidnappings there so I think it was part of my Consciousness so I wanted to tell a story an unlikely story that could put these characters in really high-stakes situation and force them to really finally connect with each other

Q :  What themes or messages were you trying to convey through the characters' experiences in the film ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : the most important thing in life is to to build to love and be loved and to belong

Q :   Can you discuss your approach to blending comedy, drama, and crime elements ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : thank you for saying that because I do think my film is funny.  I think it's just my voice my inner voice is both dark and funny and dangerous Life

Q : Could you elaborate on the character development in Wayward and how the characters evolve throughout the story ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : I mean I think that by meeting each other each of the characters develop enough so that they can especially the mother and Cleo Arlene and Cleo due to those circumstances and meeting Orbison they they are able to then come together and have a completely different relationship nice 

Q :  What challenges did you face in balancing the more comedic and serious moments in the film ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : I think that those elements I didn't quite try to balance them they just came out very naturally as part of the scenes that we were exploring and that we were filming so it happened very organically. I think Orbison's initial wish was to get money and she would try to sort of she found out that Arlene was carrying ten thousand dollars so she wanted that money but then afterwards she sees herself through this little girl and so she doesn't really want to return her in a way because she reminds her of herself

Q :  How did you approach capturing the American road trip experience visually ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : well we use the handheld camera partly because we wanted to put the viewer in the experience

Q : Can you discuss your directorial decisions regarding tone in the film ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : yes I want it very much to use the audience's expectations  against them so rather I knew that the audience was expecting us a kind of movie and I gave them a different one and I constantly every time the movie was going to actually switched so that it would give it more of a thriller element to it to it and you were constantly wondering 

Q :  Were there any particular films or directors that influenced your style while making Wayward ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : I'm a big fan of French films Michael Haneke I love it more I love Truffaut in 400 flows I think it's extraordinary just her visual language is just so incredible and specific I think that's the thing about French films that has really affected my work how specific it is nice

Q :  Can you explain the significance of the final scene in which the characters are compelled to tell the truth ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : I just think that at the end of this journey they recognize that by being honest with each other they can really be together in a different way 

Q :   What was your intention behind this narrative choice ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : to say a story that was true

Q :  How did you approach the use of handheld camerawork and cinematography to convey the emotions of the characters ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : I think that by putting the camera very close behind uh Cleo and only seeing the things that she saw and conversely the same with like women characters in other scenes where she was not in that she was not in we got to really be part of the experience rather than outside of it

Q : Were there any personal experiences or inspirations from your own life that influenced the film's story or characters ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : in order to tell any story you just have to be personal and I definitely understand what it is to be lonely as a child

Q :  What challenges and opportunities did you encounter transitioning from writing novels to directing films ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : when you're writing novels it's only you who's whose opinion matters when you're collaborating with other artists you have to learn how to work with other people but conversely your work also improves because you get to collaborate with other people constantly so it's like making this incredible part of usages you know

Q :  Are there any specific lessons or insights you gained during the making of Wayward that you'd like to share with aspiring filmmakers ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : Just go and make films no matter what the budget is gomake them I think you you learn the most doing it I would say I know a lot of friends who are you know still waiting for the perfect amount of money to come in so that they can make films and I think just go do it

Q : Finally, what can audiences expect from your future projects, and what direction do you hope to take in your filmmaking career ?

Jacquelyn Frohlich : yes I just hope to make more films that really depict The Human Experience in an honest and truthful way

An eleven-year-old girl, in constant conflict with her mother and in search of a stable life, takes to the road with her mother from Idaho to Los Angeles, where they settle. Along the way, they meet a charismatic young woman. The young girl quickly becomes attached to the stranger and develops a special relationship with her, blurring the boundaries between running away and kidnapping.

Written and directed by Jacquelyn Frohlich
Produced by Lane Cheek, Ian Michaels, Matthew Toronto
Starring Jess Weixler, Chloe Guidry, Jessica Sula, Rob Morrow, Will Brittian, Colleen Camp
Music: Matthew Kajcienski          
Director of photography: Ben Hardwicke
Editing : Ron Vignone     
Running time: 99 minutes

We would like to thanks Jacquelyn Frohlich for answering to our questions

Photos and video : Boris Colletier / Mulderville