DEFEND JOHNNY - View the entire movie here!
Laura Jean Cronin, 206/323-0557
Princess and Buddha is a sexy tale of desire and betrayal as college professor, Victoria Neve, steps out of the comfort of her academic world and into the Seattle grunge music scene in pursuit of Billy Fields, a charming yet volatile young grunge girl with a sordid past. Set in the Seattle grunge era, Billy Fields embodies the conflicted grunge movement: carefree and self-destructive. When she meets the striking Victoria, she sees in her an opportunity to improve her life, and places her faith and dreams in this new relationship. Victoria, on the other hand, finds in Billy a world of passion and personal freedom that she has never experienced. The pair is swept up into a world of desire that effaces their differences in class and education. Soon, however, the pressures from Billys substance abuse past and Victorias upper-class mindset break into both of their fantasies. Billys love of life and living for the moment is overshadowed by her inner turmoil and haunting demons of the past. Victoria uses Billys past transgressions as a means of escape when she is faced with issues of commitment to Billy and the relationship they have formed. When Billy experiences the backlash of Victorias emotional openness she spirals into an abyss of drugs and crime. Victoria retreats into the familiarity of her career and a safe, yet passionless, relationship with an admiring colleague.
From Billys climatic arrest the story jumps forward two years when Billy is released from prison and decides to take another chance on Victoria. It initially appears that history is to repeat itself, but Victoria soon learns that the emotional dynamics have shifted. The new Billy is someone to be reckoned with and Victorias old habits of deception and emotional detachment have run their course. Victoria and Billy are given another chance to find out what is true and what is love.
The short film FREE PARKING which takes place in the 1970s in a middle class rural home, playfully investigates the power dynamics between siblings when two young sisters, Shannon, 5, and Janet, 11 are sent to the fields to pickberries. Janet sets the stage in the opening scene where the two are playing Monopoly on the living room floor. Janet manipulates the situation to keep Shannon in debt and in the game. When their mother signals the end of the game, Janet brings the rules of the game to bear on their chores by partitioning off the field and bestowing Shannon with the less desired “properties”. Shannon is subjected to rent and taxes when, knowingly or unknowingly, she steps on Janet’s property. Janet’s bowl continues to grow, and Shannon’s is continuously emptied. When the oppressed Shannon attempts to take a stand make it on her own in her designated property, she is intimidated back to the “protection” of her older sister by the strong suggestion of a snake infestation. At the end of the day does it matter who has picked the most berries if they both enjoy blackberry pie?
This Character Study, with a duration of 10 minutes, was shot in four days on an all volunteer cast and crew. The exteriors were shot in Monroe, Washington. The Interior was shot at a residence on Whidbey Island. A grant by the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Festival in partnership with Oppenheimer Camera supplied the 16mm film camera and accessories. Ryan Purcell caught the beautiful golden and green hues of rural Washington on Kodak super 16mm. The location in Monroe gives a perfect example of what most of “greater” Seattle looked like in the 1970s, complete with log cabin, old gray barn, grain silo and resplendent mountains in the background. At that age (both of the children and the decade) the physical world appeared so much bigger. To give the sense of the importance of the physical world the colors are very rich and tangible. At times the children are swallowed up in the field of yellow and green. This is a time before the sisters know who they are, or will be in their adult sexual life; a time before television showed much options or diversity in American life. Their parents have an infant son; the father works; and the mother takes care of the home. The sisters’ dominant relationship is with each other. The power dynamics developed in that encapsulated existence is what they will bring to their adult life. I tried to show this by setting up the Monopoly game first and showing how the power Janet held over Shannon in the game is translated into their work. Shannon’s acceptance of her position is not entirely passive. She is learning how to navigate under the dominance of her sister. In the end I hope for it to be a beautiful story about love and power, and a small study on human existence.