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ScreenTalks Archive: Kasi Lemmons on Eve's Bayou

a still from kasi lemmons' Eve's Bayou
7 Aug 2017
32 min listen

In this ScreenTalks from 2018, Kasi Lemmons discusses her debut film, Eve's Bayou.

About Kasi Lemmons
Kasi Lemmons began her career playing supporting roles such as Jodie Foster’s roommate in 'Silence Of The Lambs' and Nicolas Cage’s victim in 'Vampire’s Kiss'. Frustrated by the limited opportunities available for black actresses in Hollywood, she started to write, using time between auditions to pen short stories and scenes for friends to perform in acting classes.

Her debut film - Eve’s Bayou - started out as a novel before Lemmons turned it into a script and a film which would be widely viewed as a classic of contemporary black cinema, and cited as an influence on films like 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' and Beyonce’s visual album 'Lemonade'. 

Eve's Bayou (1997)

A melodramatic coming of age tale, rich with Southern Gothic atmosphere, 'Eve’s Bayou' follows the wealthy Batiste family over a long, hot summer in the swamps of 1960s Louisiana. Centred around an astonishing performance from then ten year old Jurnee Smollett, the film has an incredible ensemble cast. As well as Samuel L Jackson’s role as the family’s promiscuous patriarch Lewis, legendary singer and actress Diahann Carroll makes a memorable appearance as voodoo practitioner Elzora.


photo of kasi lemmons

ScreenTalks Archive: Kasi Lemmons

In this ScreenTalks Archive, Lemmons discusses her debut film - Eve’s Bayou, widely viewed as a classic of contemporary black cinema, and cited as an influence on films like 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' and Beyonce’s visual album 'Lemonade'.



EEJ: Ellen E Jones 
ST: Interviewer / Speaker Unknown 
KL: Kasi Lemmons 

EEJ: Hello, and welcome to Barbican ScreenTalks. 

Every month we share conversations with some of the most prominent figures in cinema – recorded and preserved by the Barbican since the early nineties. So far in the series we’ve re-released in-depth discussions of films including The Falling, High Rise and The Wind That Shakes The Barley. 

In this ScreenTalk we turn to the visionary 1997 debut of a Hollywood actress turned writer and director. Kasi Lemmons began her career playing supporting roles such as Jodie Foster’s roommate in Silence Of The Lambs and Nicolas Cage’s victim in Vampire’s Kiss. 

Frustrated by the limited opportunities available for black actresses in Hollywood, she started to write, using time between auditions to pen short stories and scenes for friends to perform in acting classes. 

Her debut film - Eve’s Bayou - started out as a novel. Lemmons turned it into a script and, after a torturous four years trying to get the film made, finally got the green light thanks to the star power of Samuel L. Jackson. 

A melodramatic coming of age tale, rich with Southern Gothic atmosphere, Eve’s Bayou follows the wealthy Batiste family over a long, hot summer in the swamps of 1960s Louisiana. 

The film has an incredible ensemble cast, centering around an astonishing performance from then ten year old Jurnee Smollett. Samuel L Jackson plays the family’s promiscuous patriarch Lewis, and legendary singer and actress Diahann Carroll makes a memorable appearance as latter day voodoo queen, Elzora. 

Eve’s Bayou’s unusual perspective and subject matter proved a huge hit with audiences and it garnered awards worldwide, including the Independent Spirit prize for best first feature. Widely viewed as a classic of contemporary black cinema, the film has been cited as an influence on films like Beasts of the Southern Wild and Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade. 

In the twenty years since Eve’s Bayou was first released, Kasi Lemmons has gone on to make several more successful films and is currently attached to director the film adaptation of Zadie Smith's book, On Beauty. But now, back to 1998 and the conversation you're about to here. Lemmons discusses what it was like to make her first film, while also pregnant with her first baby and she reveals why she's not too concerned with her films having cross over appeal beyond an African American audience. 

I'm Ellen E Jones and this is Barbican ScreenTalks with Kasi Lemmons.

ST: Kasi, do you want to tell us how you actually developed this amazing project? 

KL: I was at a point in my career where I was very frustrated and even though I had a good career. I mean, I worked a lot, and for a woman, for an African American woman, I was fortunate. But I was at a point in my career where I felt that I needed an emotional, artistic release that I wasn't getting doing the roles that I was doing. You know, black girl best friend, black girl next door... And I never got that kind of, rush, of emotion that cathartic release and it started to depress me. So I started to take pilot season off. The pilot season is when you audition for all the new TV shows that are happening and I decided to take pilot season off, it goes on for about three months, and try and write this story that had been in my head for years. So I wrote Eve’s Bayou in those three months. It was April '92. 

ST: How much did it cost to make? 

KL: [pause] 

And then it's a very long process between writing the script and making the movie. It cost about $4 million in production. Or I stopped counting at $4million! 

ST: Sure. So how did you make the hook up with Samuel L Jackson? How did that come about? 

KL: I directed a short film called Doctor Hugo and Sam got his hands on, his managers got their hands on the script and the short film. And the short film has this very, it's kind of a piece of Eve’s Bayou, but it has its own integrity as a short film. Vondie Curtis-Hall, my husband, played the doctor and he's very sexy, this kinda charismatic role... and Sam saw that and he hadn't played that kind of role. He'd been playing like drug dealers and criminals and you know, he's very good at it but he had never gotten to play, you know, the sexy, charismatic, Clark Gable type of character. And so he really sought the material out and wanted to be that guy. So I got lucky, very lucky. 

ST: Moving into the film, how much of Kasi is actually in Eve’s Bayou

KL: I think that, a kind of three fold answer, I think that everybody is walking around, or maybe not everybody but at least anybody who has any desire to write is walking around with some, their great novel in their head. A great idea. Everyone has a great idea. And Eve’s Bayou was my novel, I thought one day I'll write this novel. So it's completely fiction. On the other hand, I think that when any writer writes about a family, some of their family is going to get in it. Some of their neighbour's families, some of their friend's family. And also, the way that your family gets in it, is not necessarily linear. There's a lot of me in Eve and there's also a lot of me in Mozelle. And really in all the women in the piece, I think it's completely, totally fictional and I like to be given credit for having the imagination but my sister says that I stole a couple of things from the way we talked to each other, the way we used language. She called me rabbit, she read me Shakespeare, always had to play the women's parts. You steal little bits of things. 

ST: Let's take the first question from the floor. 

EEJ: Hi, it’s Ellen – back again to help out with some difficult to hear our audience questions. What was the time period between taking your novel to film companies and the movie getting made? 

KL: Well, I started right after I wrote it. I wasn't going to show it to anybody. And actually my husband convinced me to show it to my acting agent because I didn't know who else to show it to. And he, showed it to the literary head of that agency, who became very very enamored with it. So that happened quickly and he started sending it out. But we sent it out for four years, and people passed on it. And we gave them another opportunity to pass on it the next year. So we would go to every company in Los Angeles at least twice in a period of four years

ST: I think that's an interesting question. Because it obviously brings us on to the question about how difficult is it to actually make films of this nature? Particularly in Hollywood. 

KL: I think it's difficult to make any film in Hollywood. People want, so badly, to say no. You have to, a producer said to me recently, you have to set up the 'yes'. And setting up the 'yes' is attaching major talent, you know, giving them reasons why it's a good idea. But Eve’s Bayou, you know, that was nobody's idea of a good idea! You know what I mean. It was a soft film, it was a period piece, it had a lot of women in it, the lead was ten. They thought I was crazy. And there were people that said, well, if you attach a major star, you know, maybe we'll do it at this company. If you got somebody like, well, Sam Jackson. And then, you know, the next year I got Sam and I went back to that company and they're like '' So even with Sam attached it wasn't easy, but it became a whole lot easier because I set up the 'yes'. I gave them a reason to make the movie. 

ST: But you also had very black subject matter, which shows the person in a different league, I mean do you feel that the success of Eve’s Bayou, the success of say Soul Food, has actually created a path for a different kind of movie to be made? 

KL: Oh, I definitely think so. It's a huge part of the fun, you know. A huge part of the joy is opening up the door. I mean, that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to show there's an audience. Because it takes Hollywood a very long time to believe that there's an audience for our different kinds of movies. So I definitely hope it helps. It's a lot of pressure, but we thought, well, if those films don't succeed, which might easily have happened, then you know, is the door going to close forever? And they're going to be able to say well, you know, Eve’s Bayou didn't make any money so we're therefore not going to green light whoever else is coming. 

ST: So, what did it gross in the end? KL: Domestically, 15, before video. 

ST: Excellent. 


ST: So the idea of these films actually providing a base for crossing over, do you think that may create some form of template for the future? How do you see the nature of the stories being told in the future

KL: Um... I think that the pressure doesn't have to be on us as African American filmmakers to make a film that crosses over. You know, my point was just to say, there's an African American audience that's dying to see something like this. You know, something different. 


That the fact that it crossed over was a miracle and a beautiful thing but I wouldn't put that weight on every film. I mean, there are many films that are perfectly wonderful that the African American audience loves, like Soul Food, that really didn't cross over but still made $40million or more. So, I mean, I would have been satisfied with just the African American audience. That it crossed over was a beautiful thing because everybody told me that it wouldn't. And I thought if I can make a human drama that anybody can create to...I'd written this script and I would take it to these companies and everybody would say, 'It's so beautiful but we can't make it here, who's the audience?' And after about the 100th meeting, I started thinking well, why aren't people like you the audience? Why wouldn't... So, 'No no no, the white audience just won't...won't go and see a movie like this!' And I thought, god that's such a negative statement. You know? But, I would have been happy with the African American audience and I'm very very happy it crossed over. 

ST: Excellent. Let's take another question. 

EEJ: Had you always intended to direct the film? Or did that happen as you went along? 

KL: You know, I went through several different phases of it. When I first wrote it I thought I'd direct it one day, when I'm older and smarter, you know. But I wasn't intending it to happen that fast. Then when it started happening fast, we set out looking for directors. And in the process of talking to directors and trying to find somebody to direct it, I mean, fortunately people weren't banging down my door to direct it, you know. But in the process of trying to talk about who we should to get to direct it, I started having a queasy feeling. That it was a very delicate piece of material that could be ruined extremely easily. And my producers were saying, you've got to find someone sexy - you know, what's a sexy idea for a director? And I woke up one day, and it was my birthday, and I thought, I mean the writer directing it is always kind of a sexy idea. It's a first time woman, who wrote the script and so I presented that to them. And they said, what are you crazy? But they didn't say it for very long. I had a wonderful producer and what he said was, we'll make a short film and we'll see if you can direct drama. I'd been to film school and I'd directed kind of docu dramas. He said let's do a short film together and see if you have the chops and so we did that short film, Doctor Hugo, which is how Sam got attached. 

EEJ: How did you find Jurnee Smollett, who plays Eve? 

KL: Jurnee was the last person that we cast. And it's interesting because we'd done 400 meetings and people would say how are you going to find the little girl? And I'd say, oh I'll find her, I know she's out there and I'll know her when I see her because she, I had a vision of this child, you know. And then in talking to children, and meeting children, wonderful little actors, you know, just sweet and precocious and cute. And I'd say, oh no, it won't work! And it became very serious to me but still I had faith that I would find her. And then I cast everybody else in the whole entire movie. I'm on location, two weeks from shooting and I don't have this lead! And finally I woke up one day and I lay on the floor in my little condominium, it's like, you have misled these people who are coming down to Louisiana, for no money, to the swamps, and you don't have the lead of your movie! You know? You're going to be killed! And, my casting director called me in Louisiana, and said can you fly back to LA, I've found this little girl. And I flew back and I'd had little girls reading every scene in the movie, when it's such an important part, they read every scene in the movie. Jurnee read two scenes and I sent her out of the room and I turned to everybody else and said, that's the kid. 

ST: But you in production it was your first film and also your first baby? How did you manage to juggle the two? 

KL: Well, an interesting thing happens over a period of four years of trying to make a movie, which is that you become determined to do it, you know. And the fact that I was pregnant was not going to stand in the way of making the movie. I mean, sure there were moments where I thought you must be crazy, but there was a moment in time that it was going to happen and I was going to be there, prepared. I mean, luck is being in the right place at the right time. Prepared, you know, when the moment happens. So I had a moment and I was going to run with it. And the moment happened to be just after I gave birth. So we managed! 

ST: Speaking of fate, the film actually delves quite heavily in the area of voodooism and so on. How much research, personal research went in to delving into those journeys and bringing it into the film? 

KL: A little bit, but you know, I almost researched it after I wrote it. I really wrote it and then I went back and researched it and was like, oh good! Some of the words of spells that Mozelle says Marie Laveau spells, she was a famous voodoo queen. So in that way I researched it but there was a whole lot of things that I didn't really research and then afterwards I found out were kind of authentic. You know. 

ST: For example? 

KL: Well, folklore about the town, for instance, I'd written a short story years before I wrote Eve’s Bayou, I wrote a short story about the town of Eve’s Bayou and how it started as a history lesson at the start of the movie, this Jean Paul Batiste feed this slave woman, Eve, because she saved his life with magic. She saved his life with her African magic and they had sixteen children and began this town. And I was in pre production and my production designer is in the back of the van and he says, 'Kasi, listen to this' and he's reading a book. And he reads me about this town, where the woman was freed for having saved the life of the mistress from cholera. And she and the master went on to have all these children that everybody claims to be descended from. It's in the Cane River Valley in Louisiana. And so that was, it was uncanny actually, it made me feel, not to be goofy about it, but it made me feel very deep and soulful connection to the place and the material. There was something that I feel I was tapping into. 

ST: That's great. let's take another question 

EEJ: The pace of the film is breathtaking. How did you achieve that? 

KL: The pace was really an interesting thing because movies in the United States are paced a certain way, or certain types of movies are paced in a certain type of way. But actually, the audience becomes desensitized, you become very used to seeing a certain type of edit. And a certain type of pace and it became in the process of making the film very important to me to let people move through space and I got in a lot of really horrible fights over the pace of the movie because I feel that I really want you to watch it. It want you, it means something to me for the little girl to walk out of the graveyard in the distance. It means something to be for her to walk into a dark house in silhouette - it's emotional for me. It was one of the biggest battles I fought for that pace. And I mean sure, some people say it's slow, but I feel that in the 70s we used to be able to watch that, and Europeans can watch that, why can't, in America why can't you make... And certain directors do it all the time, John Sayles, you know, his films are always always slow and they always have a certain pace. You know, why can't I do that because I'm an African American filmmaker? 

EEJ: What's the next project you're working on? 

KL: My next project is from a book called The Caveman's Valentine. And it's about a paranoid, homeless composer living in a cave in Wood Park at the edge of Manhattan and his delusions and he kind of inadvertently solves a murder mystery. And it's interesting how similar that it is to Eve’s Bayou. Everybody says, how is that similar? But it's an urban folk tale. It's still a folk tale. And it's very visual and it has breaks from reality and it stars Samuel L Jackson. 


ST: When does that go into production? 

KL: Hopefully we're going to go into production in the fall. 

ST: Wow. 

KL: Unless Sam takes another movie, which hopefully he won't! 

ST: Well, coming on to Sam Jackson, and Diahann Carroll, I mean, it must have been a mindblowing experience to direct both of them at the same time. 

KL: Yeah 

ST: How did you manage that? 

KL: I was very focused, I mean I knew what I wanted and so I tried not to be intimidated by my actors, you know. Different actors you talk to in different ways, you learn their personality and what they need and some people are really great the first take and some people get it on the seventh take. Some people like to be talked to and some people don't like to be talked to and so, everybody is different so I just try to learn their personalities and what would work for them. Diahann was somebody that I had been a huge fan of hers for a really long time. She's not that easy to approach. And everybody comes up to her, oh you were Julia! And she just, you can see her back stiffen. And she doesn't like that. But I went up to her and I said, Ms Carroll I'm a huge fan of yours and she said, 'yes'. And I said, I saw you do Agnes of God on Broadway. And she said, 'You did??' And it's just this whole different, it's a great reference, it was her favourite thing that she's ever done. And it just happened to be the perfect reference, you know. 'And do you want me to do your movie?' she'd get very excited. 

ST: But how did you manage to get her to play the role of Elzora? 

KL: Well, she liked the role when she read it. We got progressively freakier after she got on location. 


ST: Can you elaborate? 

KL: Well, there's some concern because she was so beautiful and everybody kept saying, she's so beautiful and I was like, yeah, well you let me hire Diahann Carroll! Don't you know what she looks like? But they were saying how are you going to make her scary? And so I thought about it, you know, and so one day I knocked on her dressing room door. 'Ms Carroll, I've got an idea' and I showed her some pictures of the Yoruba ritual makeup. And I said, this woman is not authentic. Elzora is not authentic but she borrows from authentic traditions. You know, she is a kind of a charlatan, you know. But, would it be fun for you, Miss Carroll? To put on this white face? And she said, let me think about it. And then she said OK and she went into makeup and they put it on her and she loved the way she looked and then the next day she put the dot in the centre of her head and I was like, 'Go on girl!' She wanted to put the dot on her face herself and she got way way into it. 

ST: Moving from adults to the children, the roles that they played were both complex and mature. Was there concern about what you were actually exposing them to? Were they able to understand? 

KL: Yeah, the great thing about making a movie is that you don't, the child does not have to be exposed to everything that the character is exposed to. You know. Because of the way you're able to cut. So Eve never saw, for instance, the carriage house. She never saw that. We'd say, OK, Sam and Lisa stand over here, that's your eyeline - act horrified. And if the child is a good actor. I mean, her mother had talked her through it, she knew what she was supposed to be seeing. She had an idea but she doesn't have to see it. Because then I'm going to turn around and shoot Sam and Lisa and so there are two different angles. And that's movie magic. So, you can protect them to a certain extent. I mean, they have to have an understanding, a basic understanding of what the script was about, and both of these children did and they both were comfortable with it. 

ST: Brilliant. What was the funniest moment on set

KL: Hmm... [laughter] I'm thinking. We had a lot of laughs with Branford Marsalis. He's just a great, it's like, would you like to walk through the swamp and pretend to be a ghost? He'd do anything incredibly good naturedly. And so, he was probably the funniest, lightest person on the set. And those were some fun moments. I mean, it's so stressful that I can't say I like... but I got some chuckles. But the party scene was pretty fun. The whole party scene was pretty fun. And fun can sometimes be in the very serious moments. Like King's Bar was very fun for me. As a director. You know what I mean, that's a very fun thing to direct, you know, Sam's death. 

ST: Let's take another question 

EEJ: How did you keep your focus and integrity while waiting for the film to be made? 

KL: I really believed that it would happen and I was ready to wait for the right people and the right time. And I'm probably not supposed to ever talk about this but there was actually somebody I turned down that was going to make the film because I thought that they were going to make it wrong. I'd rather put it in a drawer and never made it than make it the wrong way. 

ST: Who was that? 

KL: I can't say that! [laughter] A very, very reputable film company but they wanted a happy ending, they wanted a clean cut ending. They wanted some things that I didn't want to do because I'd written it a certain way and I believed in that. I don't know, I just had faith. 

ST: Someone at the back? 

EEJ: You're now making films with bigger budgets. Are you worried your success will mean the Hollywood system has more control over you? 

KL: Yeah, I've had to do a lot of soul searching about it. And what I decided was that I'm not going to do it the system way. I'm making my next film with a studio but I'm making it through Jersey Pictures which is this little company which Danny DeVito runs. They always do whatever they want to do and they have a certain way of doing things and very independent style. It's an insane film. I mean, it's just beautiful. And then talking beyond that film, I've started to just really make some choices. I mean, I get offered some very tempting things and I turned everything down and I decided that I was going to, you know, do it my way. And we'll see how long that lasts. 

EEJ: As an actor and director, did you consider acting in Eve’s Bayou yourself? 

KL: Yeah, there was a time when I did. There was a time when I did. But you know, four years is a long time to think about how much work it is. To put a movie together. And then I was pregnant, you know what I mean. And I just had the baby when I started, it was just too much. And I could never have been as wonderful as they were. I started auditioning actresses and the whole concept of having actors to say words and I thought well I can find these wonderfully beautiful fabulous women to do my movie. And so I wanted to watch, I wanted to sit back and watch. 

EEJ: Are you planning any collaborations with your husband? 

KL: We just wrote a script together. Yeah. My husband is Vondie Curtis-Hall who is a filmmaker and an actor and we just wrote a script together. 

ST: He directed Gridlock'd with Tupac and Tim Roth 

KL: Gridlock'd with Tupac and Tim Roth, yeah. 

ST: Let's take another question 

EEJ: The press don't always support black films, particularly in Britain. But were they supportive of your film in America?

 KL: I don't know that they would have been. We started to get a very scary feeling because we'd gotten turned down from some festivals, there were some people who were definitely not supportive of it. They called it 'overly ambitious'. It's like, what does that mean? I shouldn't have had the ambition to try and make it? So I started to be frightened and then a wonderful thing happened. We opened, we got three standing ovations, it was a huge hit. But the other thing that happened was Roger Ebert, saw it in Toronto and Roger Ebert is a very powerful American critic and he was the first person to say this is Oscar worthy, this is a movie that you have to see. He wrote it a love letter. A love letter review. And the press, you now, they follow. They follow a trend so he was the champion. He was my champion critic. And then the New York Times. So actually we had tremendous critical support. 

ST: What advice would you give for, you know, a budding writer or filmmaker in the UK in terms of realising their own vision? 

KL: I found film school tremendously important. Film school and making short films. I don't think I could have gotten to direct Eve’s Bayou if it hadn't been for my short film. That's one thing. And also the power is absolutely in the script. If you have a script that you own and you don't want to sell and it and you want to direct it and people are interested in the material they're going to have to buy you as a director at some point, you know. So hold on to your best script. Hold on to it for yourself. And put everything into it. Writing art should be painful and embarrassing and difficult. And you should bleed on the pages. You know? It should, it should have your blood in it. So I'd say just make it as good as you could possibly make it. 

ST: OK. Go ahead. 

EEJ: Of all the rewards or awards you've received for the movie, what's been the best accolade? 

KL: I mean, it's not so much the accolade. I mean, don''s a major accomplishment but the beautiful thing about it is finding so many people who have talent and finding the best of their talent and putting it on film, you know. And then, being the director, I kind of feel responsible for all of their talent. It's a great thing, you get to use other people's talent, you know. It's like Terence Blanchard's score is my score to Eve’s Bayou. And you get to take credit for other people's brilliance. Like my director of photography, she's wonderful and it's a very wonderful collaboration. And so I think my biggest reward was bringing out the best work. Everybody worked 150%, they gave, we had no money. And my best reward is having made a movie that everybody that worked on is very proud of. 

ST: Right at the back... 

EEJ: In cinema black men are often portrayed as unfaithful and bad fathers. Are depictions of male black characters a challenge for filmmakers? 

ST: So you're talking about the positive... 

KL: The positive, positive images... I feel that I don't feel that as an artist I can be hampered by having to portray a character a certain way, OK? I think it's an art killer. I mean, I think other people can make that but I call it propaganda or a commercial. I try and make a film that's honest to me. But I do understand the question. I thought that I would be successful with Louis Batiste if you understood him and related to him even though he was a flawed person. His sister Mozelle is also flawed, and in the same way, and she says it over and over, we're a lot the same, my brother and I. Most people to me are neither good nor bad. They're in that grey area of you know, being flawed and wanting to be better and wanting to do the right thing. And I think that Louis falls in that range. I mean, I think he's a very strong character. And it's a difficult question because I try not to think about it too much, because I feel it would, I don't want it to get into my head and affect my art. I just want to make true art and I want to be true to my characters, I want them to be people that i understand and that they reflect my experience in what I see around me. And there are many many different types of men. I mean, Grayraven to me is a wonderful character, the character my husband plays. He's a wonderful romantic, strong character. And the Caveman in the new film I'm doing with Sam Jackson is a wonderful, strong character. So I'm definitely interested in making films where that's not the black man's flaw but, on the other hand, I don't want it to poison my writing to the point where I'm making propaganda. I think propaganda can be a good thing and other people can do it but that's not what I feel I should do. [applause] 

ST: Final question...go ahead 

EEJ: Can you briefly give us the process for making a film? 

KL: [laughter] Basically, OK, there are three... There's pre production, there's production and there's post production. Pre production is where you plan the entire movie, you might draw the whole movie. In our case we did, we storyboarded the whole movie so we have a book of the way the movie looks. You make your shot list, you decide what you're going to shoot ahead of time. So you're prepared so if you only have 37 days to shoot... And we only had 37 days to shoot. But we had 14 weeks of pre-production, OK. So you plan for 14 weeks what you're going to shoot in 37 days. You shoot in 37 days and it's like a race. You're exhausted beyond belief. And it's like running a race. And then post-production is the longest part of the process. That can last 8 months. You know, where you go and you refind it and you find the movie and you put all the other elements together. The music, the sound, certain visual elements. Dissolves and stuff like that. And the editing process. 

ST: Last question 

EEJ: You mentioned that you were depressed before writing the novel. Did writing it help lift your depression? 

KL: Absolutely. It saved my life. I mean it really did. And I got it our. You know, I cried on the keys of my computer all the time. I acted all the parts in my head. It absolutely what the doctor ordered, it was what I needed. You know, I needed that as an artist. 

ST: Great. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for making this a really special evening. And on behalf of the audience, I'd like to wish you the best in whatever you do in the future. 

KL: Thank you, very much. [applause] 

EEJ: Thanks for listening to this Barbican ScreenTalk with Kasi Lemmons.

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