“Sophie and the Rising Sun” Converges Southern Film and Literature

Feb 17, 2017 by Marketing on The Nickelodeon Blog

By: Sarah Nichols

Sophie and the Rising Sun focuses on the South’s complicated history with race relations, religion and patriotism and what it means to transcend these things and see the person underneath the labels. Although the South is full of beautiful, hospitable small towns, gossip and prejudices often made these places a double-edged sword. Sophie and the Rising Sun explores the intricacies of the South in this film with beautiful cinematography and a quiet but powerful story.

Although the film was low-budget, Director Maggie Greenwald explains that it was precisely this that allowed the story to shine in its minimalism.

“It’s about using specific rooms rather than the whole house, and figuring out what life is like in those rooms,” Greenwald said in an interview with Filmmaker Magazine. “When I made a $200,000 film, a lot of things were representation. The one car, the one leather jacket. I can’t build the town, I have to find a town.”

The film was set in the fictional town of Salty Creek, SC, and filmed in McClellanville, SC. For anyone who grew up in South Carolina or has spent a lot of time there, the film is unmistakably South Carolinian. As someone who grew up in Charleston, within the first few minutes of the film I felt immediately at home. Greenwald said the cast and crew drew a lot of inspiration from McClellanville, and they tried to get the town as involved with the filmmaking process as possible. They hired locals as production workers and extras, and every single location of the film was located in the town.

“It was as though the town was waiting for us to show up and film. Even the waterfront was relatively undeveloped and the shrimp boats in the harbor were over seventy-five years old,” Greenwald said. “It was like coming home to Salty Creek.”

Sophie and the Rising Sun, based on the novel by Southern writer Augusta Trobaugh, is an excellent convergence of film and Southern literature. The Nickelodeon will be screening the film in partnership with Deckle Edge to kick off the Deckle Edge Literary Festival on Sunday, Feb. 19 at noon.

Deckle Edge Literary Festival is in its second year celebrating regional literature where the South Carolina Book Festival, a project of the Humanities Council SC, left off. The festival, which officially runs from Feb. 24-27, will feature writer’s workshops, book signings, panels, presentations, readings, exhibits, activities for children and more activities for writers and readers of all ages. Kick off events for the festival will begin on Feb. 19, starting with our screening of Sophie and the Rising Sun.

Feb. 19, 1942, was the day that the executive order was signed that required internment of all Americans of Japanese ancestry. This year will be the 75th anniversary of this Day of Remembrance.

Click here for more information on our screening of Sophie and the Rising Sun.