Ballard producer Susan LaSalle joins forces with writer, director Michael Cross in “Second Nature,” a film exploring gender roles and politics
Imagine a world where roles are reversed – when it comes to gender behavior and politics.
That’s what filmmaker Michael Cross did in his screenplay for “Second Nature.”
“I had this idea of flipping the entire world to where women were acting like men and vice versa,” he said. “I wanted to see what it’s really like to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see how people might react.”
His resulting script follows the story of a man and woman competing in a mayoral race, when a little magic intervenes and gender roles go topsy turvy.
“Second Nature” – with its now timely theme -- was eight years in the making and had its world premiere at the Napa Valley Film Festival this year.
The film debuts in Seattle at the Ark Lodge Cinemas, 4816 Rainier Ave S. on Friday, Sept. 8 through Thursday, Sept. 14.
The cast features Collette Wolfe, Sam Huntington, Carollani Sandberg ,Carolyn Cox and Riley Shanahan.
For Cross, who grew up in Ellensburg and now resides in Greenlake, seeing his film realized and now showing in his own backyard is a dream come true.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to share this movie that’s been stuck in my head for the last eight years,” he said.
A love for film struck Cross at an early age. He started making movies with a home video camera at age 7.
By high school, he was enlisting friends to make feature length films – and writing his own screenplays. He moved to Los Angeles for film school, having a leg up because he was already familiar with production.
“I was sort of self-taught,” he said. “I made a lot of terrible short films growing up. I made a lot of hard mistakes. But that’s the best way to learn – just to do it.”
Now he’s back in Seattle and running his own production company Cross Films.
His childhood passion for filmmaking is still evident – and that’s what appealed to Ballard film producer Susan LaSalle.
“I never get involved in a project unless someone is passionate about the subject,” she said. “You really need to focus on the story that you’re passionate about – and this was the one for Michael. He really believed in the story, and you just can’t say no to that.”
LaSalle is a strong believer in the power of film. She earned her degree in documentary film at Evergreen State College.
Her first project with the nonprofit now called Corporate Accountability International, “Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment,” won an Oscar.
More importantly, LaSalle said, a year after the film received the award, GE dropped out of the nuclear weapons business.
“That was my launch into filmmaking, and it was really inspirational,” she said. “I realized that film really does change minds and hearts – and can change the world.”
Cross said that even though “Second Nature” is a comedy, his goal is to spark serious conversations about gender roles.
“It’s been proven that countries with healthier gender equality are more prosperous,” he said. “I wish we could get more women in office. What I hoped for this film is that it would be a wildly approachable look at the gender gap. Why is there still this persistent bias.”
For show times and tickets, visit http://arklodgecinemas.com.
For more information about Michael Cross, visit www.crossfilms.com.