Precariat Productions presents
In association with Small Rice Field
Directed by Ryan Guiterman
A 2017 Grand Finalist in the Katra Film Series
Official Selection of
New York Short Film Festival, Bucharest Film Awards, Lighthouse International Film Festival & Katra Film Series.
After a young woman named Alice jumps out of a window, her sister Marta and her ex-boyfriend Sam spend the next 24 hours dealing with her suicide. Marta has written a memoir about her sister’s long battle with depression, and must decide whether to read excerpts of it in public. Sam has not spoken to Alice in years, and must reckon with the wreckage of their fraught relationship.
This project was born out of a long winter of grief. My professional career as an actress was stalled, and a dear friend of mine passed away. More and more, my friends and loved ones were struggling with depression, addiction and poverty. Paralysed by grief and frustrated by my own stymied career, I decided to try to make something of my predicament. “For Marta” is my first screenplay.
“For Marta” is an intimate exploration of grief, regret, anger and love in the context of the worst 24 hours of someone’s life. I wanted to write about suicide, depression and their effect on everyone involved, as I experienced it in my own life- with all the conflicting feelings and impulses. Marta loves her sister, but has been worn down by years of trying to help her. She is caught between her love for Alice, and her anger and resentment. The constant ups and downs of Alice’s struggle have left Marta feeling utterly helpless. Alice’s suicide is no surprise, but rather the horrible, inevitable end of an ongoing battle. As Marta parses through her feelings and regrets, she also tries to reconcile her need to examine her sister through a writer’s eyes with her sister’s right to privacy and peace. In the end, the greatest question Marta has- “ why did she do it?” - will never be answered, can never be answered. The only thing to do is to try to make an uneasy peace with the unanswered question.
I did not have any money, or real filmmaking experience when I set out to make this film. I knew I could play Marta, and that my incredibly talented actor friends could bring the other characters to life, but we were rudderless without a director and crew. And then, by happenstance, I met our director Ryan Guiterman, who read the script and then dived in headfirst with me. From my script, he wrought an incredibly beautiful film. His nuanced direction, steady confidence and tender eye for detail helped bring this story to life.
- Isabel Ellison
Marta - Isabel Ellison
Sam - Franco Gonzalez
Alice - Julie Praetzel
Stephen - Kris Kling
Alexandra - Dani de Waal
Devon - Logan Georges
Justin - Tony Curtis
Directed by Ryan Guiterman
Written by Isabel Ellison
Cinematography by Ricky Communiello
Executive Producer Frederic J. A. Richter
Unit Production Manager Jess Weiss
Film Editing by Kelly Simpson
Gaffer Diana Emery
Makeup & Hair Danielle Dixon
Color Grading Brendan Dean