Known for films including Eden and The Off Hours, writer/director Megan Griffiths is back at SXSW this year with a family drama titled Sadie. The film centers on Sadie, a young girl (played by breakout star Sophia Mitri Schloss) who struggles with the absence of her military father. As her mother (Melanie Lynskey) begins dating another man (John Gallagher Jr.), Sadie takes matters into her own hands to tank the relationship.

“I started writing this in 2009. It was sort of written in response to the fact that we had been at war for so long, since basically 9/11. I was thinking about the fact that a whole generation of kids had grown up while we were at war, and they were all learning that how you solve problems is through violence,” the director explained, sitting down at Deadline’s festival studio with stars Schloss, Lynskey, Gallagher Jr. and Tony Hale. “We reinforce that message in a lot of ways throughout our society, so it just kind of struck me that it was an interesting topic I was invested enough in to dig in and create these characters.”

For Griffith, the project didn’t require much in the way of research—only enough to fill in the gaps. “My best friend was a military brat, and a lot of people on my mother’s side of the family are military,” Griffiths said.

Along with Mitri Schloss, Gallagher Jr. chimed in to address his attraction to Griffith’s project, sharing his long-held desire to work with Lynskey and his passion for the director’s prior films. “Megan has this amazing way of telling sympathetic stories without judgment, or without begging,” the actor remarked. “It was really a very lucky moment where a great script by people that I wanted to work with fell into my lap.”

“I think Sadie’s super smart and she knows what she’s doing, but she doesn’t know what she can do, if you know what I mean,” Schloss added of the character who gives the film its name. “She knows what she wants to have happen, but she doesn’t know that her acts can have direct effects on her life and everything that’s happening. So she’s a really interesting character to play.”

For more from the Sadie crew, click above.

The Deadline Studio at SXSW 2018 is presented by MoviePass.