*Online Premiere* On Rockaway Beach, a young woman named Teresa borrows money from a teenage skateboarder offering in return a provocative kiss. She pulls a similar routine with another man working at a deli promising a sexual favor in exchange for keys to the register. These aren’t isolated incidents but a destructive pattern of using her sexuality in questionable ways.
Capturing a chilly late Autumn day in Queens, New York resembling a faded photograph, director Melanie Schiele allows the setting to reverberate through Teresa’s inner life, the off-season deserted beaches and well-worn bars reflect a painful past she's trying to escape. With the recent death of her grandmother, she now lives alone, leaving her vulnerable to an unwanted visit from her stepfather. Though it's never directly spelled out, she's in constant motion away from something -- even inside her house, she rides on an old stationary bike as if she could outrun it that way. The film builds to a foreboding sequence with a divorced bartender who strikes up an intimate conversation with Teresa. Is he aiming to form a real connection, or exploit her lack of self-worth? And how will Teresa react to the potential threat?
Carried by a tremendous performance by Audrey Tommassini, a riveting presence as she blows through Queens, the film is an affecting coming-of-age portrait on a trail of abuse and isolation shot in beautiful Super 16mm by cinematographer Jordan Schiele. (17 minutes)
Official Selection: BAMcinemaFEST, Atlanta Film Festival, Directing/Writing/Acting Winner at NYU First Run Festival. Written, directed, and produced by Melanie Schiele. Starring Audrey Tommassini, Zachary Le Vey, Bryan Dechart, Kenny Sosnowski, and Gregg Gilmore.