— Via AustinFusionMagazine.com



Kelli Horan knows what scares you—or least what scares most people.

“[People are afraid of] the unknown,” says the Austin-based filmmaker, who is working on post-production of her film “Wind and Rain,” which she wrote and directed. “That’s why people are afraid of death. That’s why horror movies are about people dying.”

Upon hearing an initial synopsis of “Wind and Rain,” one might assume it fits into the horror genre. Inspired by an old folk song, the film explores the story of two sisters who get tangled in a love triangle, resulting in the older sister murdering the younger, who returns to haunt her through a violin made out of a rib cage. Despite these elements, Horan says she wouldn’t exactly call it a horror movie.

Kelli Horne“I think of it more as a ghost story,” she says. “The cool thing is that it’s about their relationship. Even though there’s a love triangle, it’s about them, and not about the guy…I think that makes it different.”

Horan not only made a point of focusing the film on two female characters but also hired a mostly female crew, which is atypical of most films. It was especially important to her to work with a female cinematographer in order to have a female perspective on the way it was shot.

Though Horan’s first priority was doing what was best for the film, she’s happy to be able to give opportunities to other women in the film industry, who often struggle to be taken seriously. Horan would like to see the industry not only hire more women but also to be more open in general.

“So many film festivals now are invitation-only,” she says. “They don’t want to screen other movies. They already know who’s going to be in it. And for film festivals, that seems to defeat the purpose.”

Though she has her qualms with the industry in general, Horan is happy to be filmmaking in Austin, which she thinks is unique among film cities.

“Austin is big enough to get noticed and get you noticed, but not big enough that the city’s head is up its own ass,” Horan says. “I feel really lucky to be where they are so many talented people. The cast we got was phenomenal, and they were really easy to work with. And that’s the thing, everyone here is so laid back and wants to be creative with each other, but they’re also really motivated.”

Horan moved to Austin about four years ago from Tuscon, Ariz. She and her husband, filmmaker Lex Lybrand, wanted a change and were attracted to Austin’s relatively thriving job market. Between their day jobs and their filmmaking ambitions, the couple seems to have found niches for themselves in Austin. The film they both collaborated on “Summer League,” which came out earlier this year—but though Horan and Lybrand have maintained a loving relationship since high school, working together isn’t exactly easy.

Kelli Horne“We work terribly together,” Horan says. “‘Summer League’ was so difficult because I wrote it, and I gave it to him to direct, then I helped produce it. I had to stay away from the action because seeing someone else direct your stuff is really difficult, and we also just butt heads like none other on set.”

Fortunately, the two filmmakers don’t butt heads too often, choosing instead to give each other ideas and help with technical aspects of filmmaking, like scheduling shoots at varying locations.

Though Horan and Lybrand love Austin, they may eventually move on to a new adventure.

“We’re kind of nomadic in general,” says Horan, “[but] this is great for now. I think a lot of people approach Austin as a transition place…I think a lot of people come here trying to make that connection and find that stepping stone, and that’s not a bad thing.”

As for her own fears, Horan isn’t phased by much, but she does have one unusual phobia.

“This is going to sound really weird, but [I’m creeped out by] fish scales—how they overlap. That really creeps me out,” Horan says.

Written by Jeana Bertoldi (jeanabertoldi@me.com)
Images by Emree Weaver (emreeweaver@gmail.com)