Cannes Short Film Corner - Abby Undone

Abby Undone unfolds in fragmented moments, revealing an intimate portrait of a lonely and desperate woman struggling with self-destructive compulsions.

Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Jill Awbrey

Main photo: Jill Awbrey and John Faughnan star in "Abby Undone".

 

Congratulations!

Thank you so much!

Why did you make your film?

There’s a certain delicacy to my iron will. Acting was always the thing I loved most. It still is. But after years of rejection in Los Angeles, my hopes were crushed and my heart was broken. I was sort of stepping back from acting and had just moved to New York when I joined some friends at the Sundance Film Festival. While there, I saw Katie Aselton talk about making "The Freebie", which she wrote, directed, and starred in. Hearing about her experience is what inspired me to write a film that I could direct and act in. So I immersed myself entirely in making a feature film. But making a feature film with next to no budget and no previous experience or training as a filmmaker was just as challenging as you might imagine. And ultimately the feature film I set out to create fell short of my high expectations. Ever determined, I re-envisioned the film and created an intimate and personal short film... "Abby Undone". 

Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?

"Abby Undone" is an intimate, performance driven film. My co-star in the film, John Faughnan, is just amazingly talented. He's absolutely an actor that filmmakers and audiences should get to know.

How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

Connection. Intimacy. Validity. These are the things that drive me. Though Abby's story is completely fictional, there are certainly elements from my life that are entangled within her story. In making this film, I wanted to explore the loneliness that Abby feels because no one ever sees her scars.

Jill Awbrey as Abby in a scene from "Abby Undone".

Jill Awbrey as Abby in a scene from "Abby Undone".

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?

"Abby Undone" originally started out as a feature length script. I wrote the script by blending a structured outline with extensive improvisational rehearsals. Turning that project into a short film was definitely a challenge! The end result is a broken, fragmented story... "undone".

What type of feedback have you received so far?

The film touches on the issue of self-harm, so much of the response so far has been related to that.

Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?

Because the film touches on the issue of self-harm, much of the response so far has been related to that. I've had people come up to me to ask questions about some of the things their daughter or their girlfriend are doing because of what they saw in the film. It's heartbreaking to hear how much they want to help, but self-harm is such a complicated issue to work through. But this is important to remember: Your scars are someone else's signs of hope. 

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?

The visibility is everything. It's taken me a long time to learn that you really do just have to put yourself out there as much as possible. I'm still developing my voice as a filmmaker. But having the opportunity to have that voice heard... that just means everything.

Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?

I would love to take this film to festivals and share it with more people... so film festival directors/programmers are at the top of the list.

Jill Awbrey and John Faughnan rehearse a scene while shooting "Abby Undone".

Jill Awbrey and John Faughnan rehearse a scene while shooting "Abby Undone".

What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?

I'd love for people to see the depth of truth in the performances and in the characters.

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

Can the scars we hide ever really heal?

Would you like to add anything else?

"Abby Undone" was shot in a small studio apartment in New York's West Village with two actors and a four person crew. The scenes were filmed as long single shots. As the actors moved freely around the studio apartment, the cinematographer could choose which character to follow. This informal style of shooting helped preserve the raw and intimate feeling of the film.

What are the key creatives developing or working on now?

Jill Awbrey is currently in pre-production on her next film “Jocelyn”, which she wrote and will produce, direct, and star in. Shooting begins in June.

 

Interview: May 2017

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We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us?  More info: Carmela

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Abby Undone

"Abby Undone" unfolds in fragmented moments, revealing an intimate portrait of a lonely and desperate woman struggling with self-destructive compulsions.

Length:  7 minutes

Director:  Jill Awbrey

Producer:  Jill Awbrey

Writer:  Jill Awbrey

About the writer, director and producer:

Jill Awbrey is an actress, writer, producer, and director. She wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the short film “Abby Undone” which will be a part of the Cannes Court Metrage Short Film Corner this May 2017. She also co-starred as Jessica in “Waiting For The Sun” which premiered at the Cleveland International Film Festival in 2016. Additional credits include the role of Melissa in the short film “Soulmates” and Shanice in the first episode of the webseries “Shiny Baby Goats”. Jill is currently in pre-production on her next film “Jocelyn”, which she wrote and will produce, direct, and star in. For more information: www.JillAwbrey.com

Key cast:  Jill Awbrey & John Faughnan

Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Film Festival Directors/Programmers, Producers, Journalists

Instagram:  @jillawbrey

Other:  www.JillAwbrey.com    www.AbbyUndone.com 

Funders:  independently funded

Where can I see it in the next month?  nothing is set yet... but it will be available online later this year...