Murdoch (left) with First Assistant Director Neil Wallace.

Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch readies the second half of his two-part passion project, God Help the Girl.

God Help the Girl is the Jean-Luc-Godard-by-way-of-John-Hughes story of Eve, a young songwriter recovering from an illness and coming into her own over the course of a dreamlike summer in Glasgow, Scotland. The film was written and produced by Stuart Murdoch, the frontman for indie-pop band Belle & Sebastian, who released the film’s music as a 14-song album of the same name in 2009. Despite the time lapse, the musician insists the record was never intended to be a stand-alone project.

“The music and film idea came almost hand in hand,” he says, emphasizing that God Help the Girl is a film with music in it — not a traditional musical. “A couple of years before the album was released, I had the first draft for the script down.”

A scene from God Help the Girl.
With the help of producer Barry Mendel (This Is 40) and $100,000 raised via crowd-funding website Kickstarter, Murdoch had the necessary tools to tease his vision out of his head and onto the screen. As his creation took on a life of its own, the first-time moviemaker discovered the jump from writing a three-minute pop song to a full-length feature film came with less of a learning curve than he had anticipated.

“As soon as I wrote the first song for the project, I knew [Eve] was going to be a fun character to have around,” Murdoch recalls. “I just let my characters be languid and do what they would always have done if I let them wander out of their songs. Turns out that was mostly eating, sleeping and thinking about music.”

The film has been invited to premiere at this year’s major film festivals, including Cannes and the Toronto International Film Festival. With his debut film finished, would Murdoch return to the medium for future projects?

“Of course,” he says emphatically. “I have stepped into a living, breathing, artistic world, and the possibilities are too heavenly to resist.”