At 22, most people are broke, just truly dipping their toes into their field and up to their neck in loans. This was not the case for Quinn Shepherd, who just became the youngest female director to ever debut a feature film at the Tribeca Film Festival. She is also the leading role in the movie, entitled Blame.
A go-getter, Shepherd began writing the screenplay for Blame at just fifteen years of age. She forewent college after graduating from high school and, instead, used her college savings to fund the movie. Talk about putting all your eggs in one basket!
True to her go-getter nature, Shepherd tracked down Chris Messina, via his wife’s email, for one of the leading roles. She “had gotten it from a friend of a friend of a friend. He got my letter and he called me in three days.”
Shepherd plays the film’s protagonist, Abigail, who is close with her high school drama teacher, played by Messina. Blame is about a girl who doesn’t fit in and identifies with and fills her life with fictional characters. For Shepherd, this is a largely personal story. Not only is Abigail a reflection of herself but she also believes in the need for telling women’s stories. “As an actor, I read a lot of the scripts that are written for young women, and I can attest firsthand that we need better films being written about teenage girls,” Shepherd said. Her film even “pokes fun” at some of the stereotypes of women in movies. She “strives to bring honesty to these characters.”
Seeing as only four percent of the top 1000 films last year were directed by women, Shepherd has already broken through barriers. On top of this, the reception for Blame was positive. Tribeca co-founder Jane Rosenthal noted that the festival screened an early film of Damien Chazelle, the director of award-winning La La Land, which can perhaps serve as foreshadowing for Shepherd’s film career. She even received positive remarks from movie star Reese Witherspoon. She is a director, as well as an actress, and noted the importance of young women knowing that film festivals like Tribeca are an open space for them to showcase their work, too.
With all these positivities for Blame, we hope we can see more from Shepherd in the future!