12 items from 2014
Exploitative-sounding subject is given warmth and credibility by Robin Weigert's lead performance
Robin Weigert excels in this uneven (and somewhat unconvincing) tale of bored lesbian housewife Abby, who decides to turns to sex work with paying (female) customers in the New York loft she's renovating, more out of frustrated desire than financial need. While the subject matter sounds exploitative, the tone is anything but; writer-director Stacie Passon is primarily interested in Abby's emotional development, taking more of a lead from Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right than Buñuel's Belle de Jour. Much of the narrative may not ring true, but Weigert's performance is warm and engaging, lending not just heart, but much needed credibility.
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- Mark Kermode, Observer film critic
“I wanted to start with an intensely personal story”, says Stacie Passon, a talented filmmaker presenting her debut feature feature film Concussion. And personal it certainly is, as a poignant, intimate exploration of a middle-aged woman’s lust for something new, something exciting, to remove her from the tedium of a middle class suburbia.
When speaking to the director, Passon speaks candidly about the project, and what inspired her to tackle such themes. She also tells us how she can relate to the lead role, and her joy working with the actress Robin Wiegert. She also talks about her portrayal of lesbian sex in the movie, and compares it to the contentious display in Blue is the Warmest Colour, claiming that female directors perhaps have more licence in such an area.
What inspired you to make Concussion?
There was a certain, ‘what the heck am I doing with life?’ feeling about it, »
- Stefan Pape
Director: Stacie Passon.
Running Time: 93 minutes.
Synopsis: Abby Ableman (Abby Weigert) has become disillusioned with her wife and children. After suffering an accidental concussion at the hands of her son, she looks for a means of escape and becomes a prostitute for other women.
If Jaws is not really about a shark, then Concussion is not really about sex. It is a character study of a woman seeking more from her pleasant but unsatisfying life. Creatively treading water and barely touched by her wife, she seeks excitement outside of the family which draws her into becoming a sex worker.
This is not a film that vilifies prostitution, nor does it glamourise it. While she works the high-end, she is never seen parading around Pretty Woman style with designer bags and a grin you could hurl a discus into. Nor »
- John Sharp
Stacie Passon's tale of a bored, wealthy, gay woman in New York who sets herself up as a high-class sex worker is not entirely plausible, but it's well made in many respects
A refreshing indie antidote to mainstream depictions of lesbians, which neither implies that they really fancy men underneath it all (as in The Kids Are Alright), nor depicts lesbian sex in a way that makes male viewers feel like grubby voyeurs (Blue Is the Warmest Colour). Instead, it uses sexuality as a way into the self-deceptions and self-absorptions of moneyed Americans. It could almost be a remake of Buñuel's Belle De Jour. Robin Weigert (best known as Deadwood's Calamity Jane) plays a fortysomething mother whose female partner is a Manhattan workaholic. Channelling her sexual frustration into fitness workouts and interior decoration isn't enough, so (after receiving a blow to the head) Abby establishes herself as a high-class sex worker, »
- Steve Rose
When a film opens with David Bowie’s Oh! You Pretty Things, it has set itself up for greatness. Instantly intrigued and endeared to the project at hand, the next, and somewhat more challenging job for the filmmaker, is to then maintain that distinction, and director Stacie Passon does a more than commendable job, in what is an accomplished debut feature film.
Robin Weigert plays Abby, who finds herself rushed to hospital by her partner Kate (Julie Fain Lawrence) when her two kids accidentally throw a ball at her, cutting the side of her face open. It’s this act of clumsiness which proves to be the icing on the cake for the property developer, who longs for something new in her life, something licentious, to take her away from the tedium of this modern suburbia and the ring of Stepford Wives surrounding her. So when the opportunity arises to »
- Stefan Pape
★★★☆☆ Stacie Passon's debut film Concussion (2013) explores the modern ennui suffered by liberal cookie-cutter wives - with a twist that the female in question is a lesbian with her own partner and children. Beginning with a slightly satirical opening featuring a gaggle of middle-aged Stepford Wives doing a spinning class (as David Bowie's Oh! You Pretty Things plays over the opening credits), we enter a world of free-thinking, good-looking women, bemoaning their non-existent flabby thighs and ageing skin. One such woman is property developer and interior decorator Abby (Robin Weigert), who's no longer satisfied with her 2:4 lifestyle.
- CineVue UK
Top brass at the Independent Filmmaker Project (Ifp) have announced (12) 10 ten documentaries selected for the 2014 Independent Filmmaker Labs for first-time feature directors.
The creative teams of the selected films, chosen from a national pool of more than 200 submissions, are currently attending the first week’s sessions – The Time Warner Foundation Completion Labs – that run from May 12-16 in New York.
The Narrative Lab selections will be announced in June.
“With 80% of previous Lab projects debuted in festivals and released worldwide, the impact of the programme continues to be significant.”
The Labs were launched in 2005 as a three-day initiative for eight narrative projects and have evolved into a »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
Somewhat oddly, the GLAAD Media Awards split their awards across two ceremonies, three weeks apart, on opposite coasts. On Saturday, the second of these took place in New York, as a range of films, TV shows and media outlets were honored for commendable coverage of Lgbt issues. Included in the second ceremony were the two chief film awards. Best Picture Oscar nominee "Philomena" took the prize for best film in wide release, beating out the likes of "Blue is the Warmest Color" and three-time Oscar winner "Dallas Buyers Club." In the limited release section, I'm pleased to see that Stacie Passon's excellent but neglected lesbian drama "Concussion" was recognized. At the earlier ceremony, "Bridegroom" and "Call Me Kuchu" had tied for the documentary award, while "Behind the Candelabra," already lavishly rewarded, took the TV film/miniseries prize. On the TV front, Netflix's "Orange is the New Black" was named »
- Guy Lodge
Cinéast(e)s and Action! French & American Women Filmmakers with Deborah Kampmeier, Rebecca Zlotowski, Axelle Ropert, Stacie Passon, Julie Gayet, Isabelle Giordano, Ry Russo-Young, Katell Quillévéré and Justine Triet at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze On International Women’s Day at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, "not a filmmaker" Julie Gayet presented Cinéast(e)s: Women Filmmakers she made with Mathieu Busson. Directors interviewed include Agnès Varda, Mia Hansen-Løve, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Josiane Balasko, Julie Delpy, Lola Doillon, Sophie Letourneur, Lisa Azuelos, Rebecca Zlotowski, and Katell Quillévéré.
Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in New York filmmakers participating in the panel discussion moderated by Isabelle Giordano, executive director of uniFrance films, were Justine Triet, Axelle Ropert, Rebecca Zlotowski, Katell Quillévéré along with Us directors, Stacie Passon, Deborah Kampmeier, and Ry Russo-Young.
President of the French Institute Alliance Française Marie-Monique Steckel welcomed the participants. »
- Anne-Katrin Titze
Ahead of the Oscars tomorrow evening, the 29th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have taken place tonight, with Steve McQueen's drama 12 Years a Slave leading the field with five wins, including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay (John Ridley), Best Cinematography (Sean Bobbitt) and Best Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o).
In the other acting categories, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were named Best Male Lead and Best Supporting Male for their work in Dallas Buyers Club, while Cate Blanchett received the gong for Best Female Lead for Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine. Here's the full list of nominees, with the winners highlighted in red....
'12 Years a Slave'
Steve McQueen - '12 Years a »
- Gary Collinson
Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave pulled a five finger discount at the 2014 Indie Spirit Awards grabbing hardware in the Best Feature, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography categories. Apart from the larceny in the Best Doc category, the winners in the above mention category (excluding Bobbitt’s work) and the double win pairing of Leto and McConaughey along with Cate Blanchett’s perf win in Blue Jasmine will likely repeat itself less than 24 hours later at tomorrow’s Academy Awards celebrations obviously begging many to ponder the following: who needs the 86th Academy Awards when we have the Indie Spirit Awards? While today’s most pleasurable wins come from the truly indie kudos for Best First Feature (Ryan Coogler for Frutivale Station) the John Cassavetes award for Chad Hartigan’s This is Martin Bonner, and the Piaget Producers Award to Ain’t Them Bodies Saints »
- Eric Lavallee
The time of the year has come for aspiring independent filmmakers to give their careers the boost it needs. The Ifp's unique year-long mentorship program, which supports directors through some of the most crucial stages of the production process, is now accepting submissions for their Independent Filmmaker Labs. The program, designed to help filmmakers with the completion, marketing and distribution of their low-budget features (<$1 million), provides them with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch both their films and their careers through industry support and exposure. "Ifp Narrative Lab was an immersive year-long intensive that helped me focus my energy to what needed to be accomplished with our film," said director Stacie Passon, whose Ifp Lab film, "Concussion," went on to Sundance glory. "If you’re lucky enough to be a part of this lab, as we were, it will change your entire perspective of the filmmaking process, »
- Ziyad Saadi
12 items from 2014
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