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in Filmmaking
on Feb 23, 2009

One of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Ry Russo-Young’s New Frontiers selection You Won’t Miss Me, co-written by and starring Stella Schnabel. I’ve got a short conversation between Russo-Young and Lance Edmands, who cut the trailer with her, to run in our upcoming SXSW online coverage, but there’s one thing the director says in the interview that I want to quote here. As she discusses the intimacy she tries to create on-set with her actors, she says, “Well, I try to create an environment on set where people aren’t thinking about the film as a finished product. That’s the last thing I want them to think about.”

That quote sums up for me one of the things I like most about the film. With You Won’t Miss Me, Russo-Young has created a free-wheeling, lyrical but sometimes jarring depiction of a few months in the life of a character who is navigating her own chaotic and often inchoate emotional straits. The film has a deceptively casual feel as it avoids obvious plot points and melodramatic narrative contrivances. By its conclusion, however, it feels full — an honest portrait of character we haven’t quite seen on screen before at a very specific moment in her life. That feeling is a product of Russo-Young’s method, that avoidance of “finished product” thinking. She shot the film on multiple formats with in a series of short, tiny-crewed shoots over many months, and this loose-limbed process, one that evolved the story and character together over time, gives the film its own unique and personal footprint.

We’ll have more about the film in the months ahead, but, for now, here’s the trailer.

YOU WONT MISS ME trailer from Ry Russo-Young on Vimeo.

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