Film Title: Look At Me Again
Award Designation: Love Unlimited Film Festival & Art Exhibition Award Winner.
Director: James Christopher
Cast: Stephanie Dunbar (Lead Actor), Derick Morris (Lead Actor), Brandi Blevins (Lead Actor), Richard Jones (Lead Actor), Jesse Ferraro (Supporting), Vanessa Perry (Supporting), Colby Wallingsford (Supporting), Amanda Blalock (Supporting)
Category: Feature Film
Short Synopsis: Three sisters torn apart by tragedy, infidelity, and heartbreak must now fight for their family, or lose it forever.
Detailed Synopsis: Sometimes, those we love most are the hardest to see. LOOK AT ME AGAIN focuses on three sisters, each at different stages in their lives but all starting families of their own. The story opens as the youngest sister, Melissa, is dressing for her wedding to Richard, an officer in the U.S. Army Rangers. The two are deeply in love and Melissa dreams of little more than a fairy-tale life as an Army wife. Reminiscing about her own wedding and offering sisterly advice is Sherry who is expecting her first child with her husband Liam. Eldest sister Kendra is excited for Melissa but conflicted about taking the same step with her longtime boyfriend Alex, fearing the pressures of marriage may threaten their otherwise wonderful relationship. Sherry first fell in love with Liam's passion for politics, but with a new baby to care for their life is thrown into disarray when he decides to run for a seat in the Texas legislature. Liam dives into his campaign relishing the chance to make a difference; but the organizational details begin to overwhelm him, so his consultants arrange to have an eager young political science student named Anne join the campaign to help out. Her intelligence is immediately apparent while her energy and enthusiasm help Liam stay motivated. Home alone with baby Chris however; Sherry struggles with feelings of abandonment and a lowering self-esteem as she faces life for the first time not being the center of Liam's attention. On a particularly stressful day, in a desperate attempt to enjoy some adult conversation she calls her sister. Kendra isn't home but Sherry recognizes the voice on the phone as Alex's best friend Mike, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend from college. Craving a break from her housewife routine, she agrees to meet Mike at a coffee bar and they quickly sense the lingering chemistry between them. Kendra agrees to marry Alex despite her fear that making it 'official' actually forces people to grow apart. The two begin planning their wedding while contending with Mike's juvenile behavior and annoying habit of showing up between dates to crash on their couch or watch their HD TV. In reality Mike never got over Sherry leaving him in college which leads him to use women, determined to hurt them the way Sherry hurt him; but he also seizes any chance he can to be near her. Melissa and Richard carve out a nice life on the Army base. They set up a lovely home and live without a care in the world. Their quiet security is shaken however when Richard's helicopter goes down in a training accident. Learning of the crash from a television news report, Melissa waits in the dark desperately, but unsuccessfully, trying to get more details from the Army. Relief comes when Richard steps through the door, injured, but alive. The incident reminds them to cherish every day they have together. As the campaign progresses, Sherry and Liam live a life of quiet rage. They grow ever distant, with Sherry resorting to petty attacks while Liam remains focused and incapable of addressing the reasons she is upset. Her frustration boils over several times, including a desperate attempt to get Liam to quit the race. Liam refuses, reminding her that his goals didn't change because he became a husband and father. With this failure, Sherry seeks an opportunity to reclaim some identity by searching for a job of her own. When an interview opportunity arises she calls Kendra to babysit Chris. Again Kendra is gone but a familiar voice answers the phone. In a pinch, Sherry accepts Mike's offer to babysit and is then forced to lie about the situation to Liam. Liam and Sherry grow farther and farther apart. Kendra and Alex feel the effects of Liam and Sherry's decaying marriage. Though she loves Alex, Kendra's uneasiness about marriage intensifies as she watches Sherry's storybook romance deteriorate in the face of real-life pressures. Their problems are compounded by growing tension with Mike and Kendra's insistence that Alex do more to stop him from interfering between Sherry and Liam. News of Richard's deployment to Afghanistan rocks the family, forcing everyone to take stock of what is important in their lives. It prompts Sherry to boldly take back her marriage. In a gown befitting an Audrey Hepburn movie, she surprises Liam at his office, only to find him and his assistant Anne locked in a kiss. Relationships begin spinning out of control, each taking a toll on others and threatening to unravel completely. Through pain, all must seek forgiveness or decide if they can go on. Against this backdrop of pain and the search for forgiveness, LOOK AT ME AGAIN offers a glimpse into the lives of very normal people whose worlds are turned upside down, all because they take for granted the ones they love most.
"LOOK AT ME AGAIN: The Story Behind The Story"
Writing the script for Look At Me Again began as a very organic process for writer/director James Christopher. After principal photography wrapped on Funny Books¸ Twitchy Dolphin Flix’ second feature, James sat down at the computer to write about regular people in regular relationships in their twenties. The film was intended to serve as a vague sequel to his first indie feature, Littlefield. Without benefit of a treatment, outline or any of the other staples of screenwriting, James pounded out a first draft: a very rough first draft. So rough, in fact, that it was put up for a few months before James started the rewrite process.
Motivated by the few people he let read the script, James went to rewrite the script. After seventeen drafts and hundreds of minor tweaks, James felt that the script was ready for Twitchy Dolphin to produce. Working on the micro budget level, James knew he had to find the right cast that both believed in the project and would make the project believable. And they had to have enough faith in the script to work for a percentage of the back end of the movie. First to sign on was Stephanie Dunbar as “Sherry.” Stephanie, a tremendously talented actress from Georgetown, Texas read the script and signed on immediately, gravitated to the realistic portrayal of good people often pushed to hurt the ones they love. Most of the cast signed on right after reading the script. Brandi Blevins, to that point playing mostly smaller roles, took on the tough role of Kendra, the eldest sister. Derick Morris would resume the role of Liam, while new comer Jesse Ferraro would play the role of Mike. Richard Jones signed on to play Alex, the good natured friend who finds himself in the middle of the turmoil. The company needed to cast Melissa, a character who encompasses strength, innocence and vulnerability. For this role, Vanessa Perry was selected. Rounding out the cast is Amanda Blalock, Sarah Granger and Colby Wallingsford. Cheryl and Scott Christians, James’ in laws, reprise their roles as Sherry, Kendra and Melissa’s mom and dad.
Now that the cast was set and rehearsals underway, James, Producer/D.P. Chris Copple and Producers Nathan Bybee and Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic needed to find a way to make the movie stand out amongst other low budget indies. Unable to afford the expense of shooting on film, the team invested in a 35mm lens adapter for their Panasonic HVX 100. This tool gave them the ability, through increased depth of field and other attributes, to bring drama through the camera that complemented the drama in front of it.
On set, 1st AD Sabrina Gremmel managed a small, but effective crew including 1st AC William Cooper and grips James Donovan, Carmen Hilbert, Debra Blaine. In June of 2009, as the company entered production, Texas entered something as well -- the worst heat wave in decades. Every day the production shot was above 95 degrees, most days going over 100. The cast and crew labored on, the spirits generally high. Fans we’re brought in for the actors to help them beat the heat between shots while the crew pulled focus, bounced lights and rearranged sets in the grueling heat.
Over the course of 22 production days, the cast and crew pulled together to get the project just right. There were some hilarious moments, Jesse Ferarro’s bare rear end among them. And there were moments on set where the intensity of the project overwhelmed the cast and crew. The result is a project that stands alone as a well told, well acted story of love, life and forgiveness.
Look At Me Again was written and directed by James Christopher and produced by Nathan Bybee, Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic and Chris Copple.
James Christopher: Director, Editor, Manager, Print Return, Print Shipper, Producer, Writer
James Christopher’s fascination with movies can be traced back to the womb when his mother went to see Jaws. From then on, he remembers thrilling at the sight of Superman flying, Indiana Jones’ whip, laughing at the Ghostbusters and being both intrigued and terrified of Darth Vader. As his love for movies grew, James dove into acting as a medium to express himself. He felt most alive on stage, trying to move an audience. It wasn’t until he saw The Crow, however, that he started to think he could actually make a movie himself. Before entering college, James served in the United States Army as a Fire Support Sergeant. During his seven years of service, James deployed to Bosnia as a member of Operation: Joint Guard. After serving, James attended the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Radio, Television and Film and a Bachelor of Arts in History. It was at UT that James started to focus on writing and directing as his career path. It was at UT that he wrote his first three feature length scripts, Littlefield, Eden’s Valley and Falling Home. The latter two are still looking for a studio home. James' writing has been recognized by several writing competitions and film festivals.
In 2007, James, Chris Copple, Jessica Bybee-Dziedzic and Nathan Bybee formed Twitchy Dolphin Flix, a micro budget film company in Austin, Texas. They work hard to deliver movies of all genres, using the creative freedom that comes with their autonomy and helping to develop a viable indie film industry in Austin, Texas. Since starting Twitchy Dolphin Flix, James has directed six independent features. Littlefield, shot on DV, deals with two people growing apart as they go separate ways in life. Funny Books is the hilarious look at the comic books industry while Strike Team Archangel depicts America’s final attempt to quell domestic terrorism. Look At Me Again tells the story of changing expectations in relationships as life moves on. Snatch 'N' Grab follows four women who take desperate measures to gain control of their lives while Abram's Hand takes a look a horrific look at the collision between politics and religion. James has also directed several shorts, including the award winning Scorned. Were Bitches takes a different twist on the classic legend of the lycanthrop while Lilith's Daughters follows two women cast away from mainstream society. Several different movies from one prolific director. Currently, James resides in Austin, Texas with his wife Jessica, daughter Jourdan and their two German shepherds, Colt and Landry. James spends his time writing and working on new projects. He’s always looking for the new challenge to take and a new story to tell.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011
Film: Look At Me Again
Film Title: Look At Me Again