NZIFF 2021 – Amanda Peter Chats with Michelle Savill, Director of Millie Lies Low
After missing her flight to a prestigious internship, an anxiety-ridden architecture grad fakes being in New York while lying low in her home town scrounging for another ticket.
Illustrating how a small misstep can significantly alter the trajectory of a life, New Zealand comedy-drama Millie Lies Low sees a young professional turn to social media duplicity to save face after missing her flight to success.
Already soaking in anxiety, Millie’s day becomes a complete disaster when a moment of panic causes her to miss her flight from Wellington to New York, where she is due to start an internship at a prestigious architecture firm. With no money for another ticket and too ashamed to face the disappointing truth, Millie decides the best course of action is to fool everyone into thinking she’s living her best life in NYC.
Going to ground in her hometown, Millie gets by on her wits and Instagram trickery, convincing family, friends and followers that she’s halfway across the globe while concocting increasingly desperate schemes to get the money for another flight. Deception is no easy feat, let alone deceiving your own whānau, but maybe she can pull it off. After all, “fake it ‘til you make it” they say… so what’s the price to pay for a little white lie?
Many elements of Millie’s life are pulled from award-winning short film writer/director Michelle Savill’s own biography, from her Filipino- Kiwi background to a real-life missed flight that becomes the impetus for the story. With a cast of local talent, including Ana Scotney (Cousins) in the titular role alongside the great Rachel House (Hunt for the Wilderpeople), Savill’s feature debut is a sharp character-driven tale of finding your place in the world. — Adrian Hatwell, Eleonora Mignacca