Actress

New York, United States | Film Feature

Documentary

Robert Greene

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When Brandy decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world shes carefully created crumbles around her. Actress is both a present tense portrait of a dying relationship and an exploration of a complicated woman, performing the role of herself, as she faces the desires that exist outside.

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The Story

When I originally came up with the idea to start filming my next door neighbor Brandy Burre, it wasnʼt to document the dissolution of a marriage or to create the nonfiction/melodrama hybrid that we ended up with. I was a huge fan of The Wire, so it was very cool for me to put the camera on my friend who had been on that show. But mostly I had been thinking (and writing published essays) about the role of performance in documentary and I thought it would be an interesting experiment to make a documentary about a person that, as an actor, couldnʼt help but perform when the camera was on her.

My previous films Kati With An I and Fake It So Real had touched on this idea of performance in nonfiction, but this was entirely different. I write and talk a lot about pushing the documentary form past the boring stuff we normally see, so exploring the way people perform their social identities through a metaphorical examination of how an actor canʼt stop performing even if she wanted to was really exciting to me.

The original idea was to call the film Mother As Actress, because I knew my friend Brandy wasnʼt happy in her domestic roles. I thought we could do things like see her perform her wife/mother routines over and over again and that would reveal something about the condition of wildly creative types like Brandy when they become caged housewives. I also knew that Brandy was considering a run at getting back into acting, so I thought there was enough of a narrative hook to pick up the camera and press record.

But with documentaries, magic can sometimes happen. And just like with Kati With An I, this “magic” was a heartbreaking turn of events that transformed my act of filming into an actively dramatic process of telling the story of a woman on the verge. It turns out Brandyʼs alienation was much deeper than I could have imagined and she had some secrets that she wanted to tell. Iʼll never know for sure if my filming provoked anything inside her, but Brandy needed to make a change in her life and we set off on a year long journey together. Actress is the complex fruit of that unbelievably complicated time in both of our lives.

About halfway through filming, we started watching John Cassavetes films together and talking about how he and collaborators like Gena Rowlands would make these intimate, powerful films basically in their own homes. We found deep inspiration in that. Our houses are 20 feet apart. This process has been unbelievably tricky. Her partner Tim has been uniquely supportive of our project through an unbelievably difficult time. It is with pride and pain and hesitation that I can say I truly believe that there will never be another movie quite like what we pulled off. I hope Iʼm lucky enough to find an audience that feels the same. 

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DCP and Final Color Correction

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Final deliverables for our distributor - Colorist: Final Color Correction, DCP, Final Sound Mix

About This Team

ROBERT GREENE is a filmmaker and writer. He was named one of the 10 filmmakers to watch in 2014, by The Independent. Robert received the 2014 Vanguard Artist Award from the San Francisco DocFest. Robert's most recent film is the critically-acclaimed ACTRESS. His last film, FAKE IT SO REAL, was named one of the 15 best films of 2012 by Richard Brody of The New Yorker and one of the best documentaries of the year by Roger Ebert. His previous documentary, KATI WITH AN I, was nominated for a Gotham Award for "Best Film Not Playing At A Theater Near You" in 2010 and was released in April 2011 to great reviews. Robert's first feature OWNING THE WEATHER was released in 2009 after screening at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen Robert has produced and edited over a dozen award-winning documentaries, including Amanda Rose Wilder's APPROACHING THE ELEPHANT. He has edited films as diverse as Alex Ross Perry's Sundance-premiering LISTEN UP PHILIP, and Douglas Tirola's SXSW-premiering HEY BARTENDER, while contributing editing to many more films, including CHRISTMAS, AGAIN (Poekel), LENNY COOKE (Safdie bros.), HELLWARE (Bilandic) and THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA (Oreck). Robert has written movie reviews and essays on documentary film for outlets such as Sight & Sound, Filmmaker Magazine, Hammer to Nail, Nonfics, Press Play and Criticwire. His first book, PRESENT TENSE: NOTES ON AMERICAN NONFICTION CINEMA 1998-2013 will be coming in February, 2015. He programmed a special " cinematic nonfiction" competition at the 2014 Little Rock Film Festival and a week long seminar of films at Hampshire College in July 2014. He was Post-Production Supervisor from 2002 to 2012 for 4th Row Films. In January 2015, he will help lead the new Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri.

 

DOUGLAS TIROLA has directed three and produced five documentary films in the past five years, including the award winning movies HBO’s AN OMAR BROADWAY FILM and  ALL IN – THE POKER MOVIE. An Omar Broadway Film was Douglas’ first documentary as a director and is about a gang member who sneaks a video camera into prison where he is serving time with hopes of exposing the terrible conditions. It premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival where it was acquired by HBO. All In – The Poker Movie explores the worldwide poker phenomenon.  It received the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at CineVegas and played theatrically across the country before premiering on Showtime. His other films include: Kati with an IMaking the Boys, and Fake It So Real all NY Times Critics Picks.

His latest film, HEY BARTENDER tells the story of the bartender in the era of the craft cocktail.  The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival before opening in theaters nationwide.  It premiered this summer on Showtime and Netflix. 

Douglas also created and served as Executive Producer of MTV’s hit series THE X EFFECT.  He has worked as a screenwriter for Paramount, Universal, Fox, Warner Brothers, Sony, and New Line.  Earlier in his career he worked on films with directors Woody Allen, Robert Benton, Penny Marshall - his first job in the film business was a production assistant on the movie When Harry Met Sally.

As President of 4th Row Films, Douglas has created a company that utilizes accailmed independent filmmakers to create branding and marketing films. 4th Row Films has produced award-winning content for over 100 brands and their agencies including Absolut, American Express, Avon, Coca-Cola, Ford, Guinness, Hersheys, IBM, McDonalds, and the NFL. 

Douglas‘s next feature with 4th Row Films is a documentary about the magazine and entertainment company, National Lampoon.

Douglas is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he majored in Philosophy and he has a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry and Fiction from Columbia University in New York City.  He is represented William Morris Endeavor. 

 

SUSAN BEDUSA is currently Senior Vice President of Production & Development at 4th Row Films where she sets up development and distribution deals with various networks and studios, and collaborates with writers and directors on new ideas for TV and film, working with them from development thru distribution. 

 

Over the past 6 years, Susan has produced 7 feature-length documentaries.  An Omar Broadway Film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and was acquired by HBO Documentary Films.  Making the Boys was released by First Run Features and received unanimously positive reviews including a New York Times Critic’s Pick.  Kati with an I premiered at the DOC NYC Film Festival and was a nominee for the prestigious IFP Gotham Awards.  All In – The Poker Movie won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Cinevegas Film Festival and premiered on Showtime Networks in Summer 2013.  Hey Bartender premiered at SXSW and was then released by Showtime Networks in Summer 2014.  It is now available on Netflix and iTunes.

 

Most recently, Susan optioned the rights to the story and archive of the National Lampoon, which will be turned into a feature documentary directed by 4th Row Films President, Douglas Tirola.  She is also in production on a film about a former heavy metal rockstar turned classical composer. 

 

Susan is a graduate of Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI where she earned degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing. 

 

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