As a filmmaking couple, we have been involved in the emerging Portland film scene for a number of years before joining forces to make our first feature film CITY BABY. The movie came to fruition because we wanted the opportunity to showcase our developing skillsets – David to direct a feature and Cora to play a dynamic leading role in one. We’d each come to the conclusion that in order for that to happen we needed to create a new story, something that we both could be passionate about and commit to creating.
Inspired by the local music scene and youth culture we felt compelled to write a contemporary coming-of-age script. Originally we titled the script ‘The Salad Days’ – an idiomatic expression referring to ones youth and the whimsical characteristics that come hand in hand. The story follows two women, best friends, with contrasting ideologies that ultimately grow apart in their separate journeys of growing up. The characters in our script were drawn from the debaucherous first summer we spent together of late nights and parties – reflecting on ourselves and those around us. We lived for the moment and instantaneous pleasures trumped – entire relationships, trends and identities could happen in the lifespan of a tsetse fly. Followed by, of course, the inevitable moment when everything changes – the rains of fall roll in, the lights are turned on, and the hangovers start lasting all day.
After a long winter of scriptwriting and despite many experienced people advising us against it, we were determined to put our movie into production. We enlisted the help of nearly every single person we knew and by sheer willpower of a collective, we were able to pull it off. Choosing familiar locations and scenarios we wanted to showcase our Portland. We choose locations that we frequented – the Sandy River, Burnside bridge, friends bars, apartments and houses. We asked our neighbors to be producers and our friends to lend their skills and assets – from acting to catering to loaning vehicles – to make this ambitious endeavor to become a reality. As it could only be done on the cheap, CITY BABY was made on many, many favors and continues to be a collective process and learning experience.
This is our first feature film and in some ways an autobiographical ode to Portland, perhaps a goodbye letter to our own Salad Days.
- David F. Morgan & Cora Benesh