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Samantha is a schoolteacher lost in the netherworld of her late 20's - no longer young but not yet middle aged. She leaves her long-time boyfriend, who she's been living with in a "brother and sister" relationship for quite some time. Wanting change and searching for an elusive happiness, Samantha strikes out on her own. But she quickly finds the regeneration she seeks can be far from romantic. From the classrooms filled with smiling children, to the crowded bars of Los Angeles, Samantha goes looking for life; its fun, its love, its passion, and its meaning. This is a film about what she found.
In 1998, Stephanie Bennett and I were working on a scene together for a class we were taking at Playhouse West in Los Angeles. The scene was from John Guare's Landscape of the Body. In the scene a detective interrogates a woman who's been accused of murdering her own child. One night I wanted to surprise Stephanie on a way to rehearse the scene, which was proving to be increasingly difficult. I decided to really interrogate Stephanie, who was going through a particularly rough time in her personal life, on the details of her current difficulties. That night I laid into her with questions about her behavior, challenging her, accusing her and pulling no punches. It turned out to be an incredibly thrilling and cathartic experience for the both of us. It was especially grueling for Stephanie, but she went with it. I was so excited with the results that, although it wasn't until months later that we even discussed making a film, I immediately saw the potential in such an exercise.
In early 1999 Stephanie and I began audio recordings in order to document the intricacies of her real life drama. These audio interviews turned into video interviews which led to Stephanie and I penning a short script and then to an outline mixed with scenes for a feature.
What was exciting for me about this process of exploring Stephanie's life so thoroughly to find her story, was that her story, in many ways, crossed over into my story. And if that were true, could this be a universal story. Couldn't we all relate to being in a relationship that had grown stale? To wonder if we were settling with our current mate. To then break up with them and start over with romantic ideals about who we would meet, what we could do. Only to find that this ideal was just that, only an ideal. That reality can be very harsh in comparison to our fantasies and dreams. I mean I'd been through that circle before... "Hadn't everyone?"
Knowing we wanted to shoot digitally and once we had the outline ready we called on Geoffrey Pepos, who had composed the music and done the sound design for my first directorial effort, a short entitled THE LONELYS. Having little money we needed someone who could wear many hats and Geoff happened to be a talented videographer and editor as well as an accomplished musician and composer. With Geoff we were able to fill in the remaining gaps, and he completed the filmmaking team.
Next was casting. Knowing that we planned to improvise much of the dialogue, it was crucial that there be no "holes" in the casting in order to really blur the line between documentary and fiction. We cast actors both I and, especially, Stephanie were already familiar and comfortable with. In some cases we were able to cast people who were simply playing themselves and the true relationship they had with Stephanie in life. Obviously elements were fictionalized yet, where possible, we did this. This brought a wonderful sense of depth and specificity to the scenes. Also it's a testament to our process and the actors that you'd be hard pressed to guess who was "real" and who wasn't.
We also worked fast. Lighting was used only when absolutely necessary. Actors knew the situation and then we just rolled. The words "action" and "cut" were not heard very often. It was really more like "Okay whenever you're ready, go ahead." And we usually wouldn't stop until the actors naturally did. We also shot with two cameras (Canon XL-1's) simultaneously. Geoff was camera "A" and I was camera "B." This allowed us to capture the scene often in one long take. It was a benefit to the actors to be working this quickly and they had the freedom to do anything. Later on in the process, once we had the bulk of the footage and knew what we needed, we did more planned shots.
Having an unfinished script the idea became that we would shoot the outline, edit, then decide where the story would go next. This is where the beauty of shooting in digital really stood out. Both Geoff and I owned the cameras we shot with. The crew was Geoff and I. Organizing more shoots was not a major undertaking and we often took this process for granted, winding up with over one-hundred hours of footage. This was a somewhat overwhelming amount and obviously difficult to edit. Nothing was pre-cut or pre-planned. It was shot like a documentary complete with interviews of all the characters. It was truly like a giant jigsaw puzzle and gave me a newfound respect for the task of a documentary filmmaker.
But after more than eight months of editing nights and weekends, as all three of us had full-time day jobs, we had what we had set out to find. From the beginning I wanted this film to really blur the line between documentary and narrative film. That it be a true exploration of a life. So that it wasn't so much the filmmakers imposing themselves on a story, but a story imposing itself on the filmmakers.
Born in New York City to Cuban exiles, Henry was raised in Miami, Florida. Henry received a BA degree in Psychology with a minor in Theater from the University of Montana. After graduation, Henry worked for two years in the mental health field in Missoula, Montana. In Los Angeles, Henry studied acting for three years at Playhouse West, School and Repertory Theater. In 1999 Henry wrote and directed his short film, "THE LONELYS", based on his experiences working in the mental health field. The film won Best Film awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Method Fest Film Festival, and New YorkÕs Urban World Film Festival. In 2000, Henry directed and co-wrote his first feature film, "SOME BODY". "SOME BODY" was selected as an official entry in the dramatic competition at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Henry is the author of four screenplays: "CRIME AND PUNISHMENT", "THE LONELYS" (feature length), "SOME BODY" (with Stephanie Bennett), and "THE WILD" (with Luke Heyerman).
Born and raised in Texas, Stephanie majored in Theater at Southwest Texas State University, with an emphasis on acting and directing. Upon graduation, Stephanie Moved to New York City and performed in Off-Broadway and Off-Off Broadway productions. In 1994, Stephanie moved to Los Angeles and begin studying acting with Robert Carnegie and Jeff Goldblum at Playhouse West School and Repertory Theater. While there, she met Henry Barrial, and they began writing and improvising towards "SOME BODY", Stephanie's first feature film. She currently teaches elementary school for the Los Angeles Unified School District in order to support her creative habits.
Geoffrey Pepos, Producer, Director of Photography, Composer, Editor
Peter Broderick is President of Next Wave Films, a company of the Independent Film Channel, which supplies finishing funds and other vital support to emerging filmmakers from the U.S. and abroad. Next Wave also produces digitally-shot features through its production arm - Agenda 2000. Next Wave's features include Blood Guts Bullets & Octane, Envy, Following, The Hi-Line, Manic (2001 Sundance Film Festival), Some Body (2001 Sundance Film Festival) and The Trouble with Men and Women, as well as the documentaries Southern Comfort (2001 Sundance Film Festival), Sound and Fury, Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, Fighter, and Paper Chasers. He has given presentations on digital feature production at Toronto, Sundance, Cannes, Rotterdam, and other festivals, and has taught courses at UCLA on independent production. He wrote a catalytic series articles for Filmmaker magazine that stimulated many filmmakers to make ultra-low budget features, and has also written for Scientific American, Sight and Sound, and Moviemaker. Broderick is a long-time board member of the Independent Feature Project/West. He first worked with Terrence Malick on Days of Heaven, and then ran his production company, Hickory Street.
Mark Stolaroff is the Director of Post Production and Finance for Next Wave Films, a company of The Independent Film Channel that provides finishing funds and other vital support to exceptional, low-budget feature films. Stolaroff has supervised the post production and delivery of the company's first five features, Blood, Guts, Bullets & Octane, Following, Envy, Fighter, Keep The River On Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale, and Some Body, and has helped secure distribution for these films, as well as The Hi-Line, Sound & Fury and Southern Comfort (2001 Sundance Film Festival). He is currently overseeing the production and post-production of Manic (2001 Sundance Film Festival), Paper Chasers, and The Trouble With Men & Women, the first three features financed by Next Wave's digital production arm, Agenda 2000. With his expertise in digital filmmaking, he has co-written recent articles for Scientific American, Filmmaker, and Sight & Sound; has taught classes at the Maine Film Workshop, the UCLA Extension, and The Learning Annex; and has spoken on the subject at numerous film festivals. He is currently the Series Moderator for IFP/West's 2001 Digital Filmmaking Series and is also on the Advisory Board for the U.S. Comedy Arts Film Festival. Before joining Next Wave, Stolaroff was the Unit Production Manager on the Academy Award winning short film My Mother Dreams The Satan's Disciples in New York.
|Billy||BILLY RAY GALLION|
|Tony T.||TOM VITORINO|
|Bobby||SEAN MICHAEL ALLEN|
|Billy's Friend||LIAM LOCKHART|
|Leann's Date||LYNDON JOHNSON|
|Bobby's New Girl||FALEENA HOPKINS|
|Sam's Mom||KAYE MOORE|
|Sam's Aunt||TERRY CHISHOLM|
|Sam's Uncle||JOHN CHISHOLM|
|Sam's Dog||DOBEY TIMBER|