THE STORY AND THE TEAM
SPIDER VEINS is the first narrative in four years from Dallas filmmaker/actor Frank Mosley.
It concerns two estranged friends reuniting for a single, nostalgic night. Nora, a vagabond on tour with a play, decides to drop in on Kris, a happily married mother of two. This intimate reunion is cast amid the drunken, noisy timbres of a birthday party Kris is inconveniently throwing for her friends, a party which provides an unsuspecting audience for several harsh truths Kris and Nora reveal to be just as present as they were in the ten years since they've seen one another.
Both ghostly and tenuous, mercurial and abrasive, SPIDER VEINS is a whispered assault on preconceived notions: an investigation into perception itself. As both women lie to one another in the hopes of defending their current identity, they both realize that the other woman embodies the other "half" they have been missing in their own lives. A cross between Ibsen's A DOLL'S HOUSE, Cassavetes' OPENING NIGHT, and the work of Claire Denis, SPIDER VEINS is a love story about two women each challenging the other's perception through the very nature of performance.
As our leads, Nora and Kris, we are pleased to announce the powerhouse casting of Dallas theater staple, Danielle Pickard, and NY stage and film actress Katey Parker (ON VACATION, Released by No Budge). The supporting cast is rounded out by striking Dallas theater talent like Natalie Young and Jenny Ledel, rising film stars Carolyn King (Shane Carruth's UPSTREAM COLOR) and Amber Bartel (Rachel Shepherd's TRAVELING), as well as an appearance by NYC filmmaker Jarred Alterman (CONVENTO, Released by Factory 25).
The film will be produced in part through Courtney Ware (SUNNY IN THE DARK, RISING STARS) and her company Aware Films, as well as John W. Yost and Alexander Berberich's Fifth Column Features, a multi-media production and distribution platform based in NY that is currently in post on the epic feature WHITE CREEK. Production designed by Jonathan Rudak (AINT THEM BODIES SAINTS, TAKE SHELTER, UNDERTOW), wardrobe consultation by Gerard Parr (LAGGIES, ROSE RED), and assistant directed by AXS TV editor and UTA film associate professor Thomas C. Lumpkin (SILENT RED, "True Music"). Mood will be enhanced by coloring studio Beambox Studio's Frederick Trevino (VIRGIN ALEXANDER, WHITE FOX MASK, TRANSATLANTIC COFFEE).
Lee E. Luna, a Seattle-based locations manager and cinematographer of short films and industrials, will be lending his eye for faces and landscapes as the D.P. for this film. He first collaborated with Frank on the video installation I COULD LIVE IN HOPE, which played on loop at the 500X Gallery in Dallas for month long exhibition in 2011. He's worked on such festival favorites as TOUCHY FEELY, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, EDEN, THE OFF HOURS, and YOUR SISTER'S SISTER.
Writer/director Frank Mosley is a filmmaker and actor from Texas who was "born to make movies" (Gordon and The Whale). He is a 2010 Venice Days candidate, top 20 IFP Narrative Labs Finalist, 2011 Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas recipient, and 2013 Visionary Award winner from FW Weekly, the publication which also featured Mosley as its 2013 June cover story and declared him "the John Cassavetes of North Texas". His first feature film Hold, deemed "one of the best films of 2010" (Cinemalogue), "a practically flawless piece of filmmaking" (Pegasus News), and "bold, stark, and unflinching" (Cinehouse UK), had its premiere in spring 2011 at the ReRun Theater in Brooklyn, NYC. He was a juror for the Dallas Video Festival (2009) and Oak Cliff Film Festival (2012), a panelist for the Lone Star International Film Festival (2007/2011), and has talked about his films on NPR and Good Morning Texas. He is a consultant for the distribution line Fifth Column Features and oft-contributer to Filmmaker Magazine. His award winning short films, video installations, and music videos that have been exhibited at various U.S. film festivals and other venues such as The Dallas Museum of Art, 500X Gallery, and The Metrognome Collective, are now available for viewing on MUBI. He is currently at work on his multi-platform feature installation film, Her Wilderness. As an actor represented by both The Atherton Group and Linda McAlister Talent, he has appeared in such films as Shane Carruth's Upstream Color (2013 Sundance, Berlin, and Viennale film festivals), Clay Liford's Wuss (2011 SXSW, AFI Fest-Audience Award 2011), in Yen Tan's 2006 short Coda, with Robert Longstreet in Eric Steele's Cork's Cattlebaron (2012 Maryland, Sidewalk, and DGA Texas Filmmakers), in legend Jon Jost's long-gestating experimental feature Dead End, in Sai Selvarajan's Telly-winning and PBS-produced Separated by Light, opposite Ernie Hudson in the 2014 TV drama Gallows Road, and alongside Ben Foster in David Lowery's Ain't Them Bodies Saints (2013 Sundance, IFC). He even received a 2009 AOF Fest Best Supporting Actor nomination, alongside stalwarts such as Ron Perlman, for his portrayal of a misfit ex-con in Justin D. Hilliard's The Other Side of Paradise. Of his acting, Variety says he "performs with a potent dose of sexual schuztpah", Hammer to Nail claims he "underplays perfectly", Rogue Cinema says "he's the epitome of cool", and Smells Like Screen Spirit tells, "he can induce simultaneous states of humor, menace, and intrigue."http://mubi.com/users/104738
Why This Film?
A lot of people might wonder why I'm making a foray into short filmmaking after completing one feature and in post on another. On one hand, it's because I'm wanting to dip my hand back into directing. And not just directing, but more narrative based work than most of my previous work, which was more experimental and often served as video installations. On the other, short filmmaking, like good short story writing, is an art form in itself. You can often times capture great nuance, subtlety, and mood if you make a short film focused on the smaller moments often neglected in bigger projects. Sometimes a story is just perfect for a small package. Here, we're not trying to grow SPIDER VEINS into a larger story or feature. We're simply wanting to tell a small movie in a small way. In this way, it will be a perfect calling card for future feature work.
As I approach 30 in a few weeks, I've been taking note of just how many of my friends are going radically different directions. We're constantly changing and evolving...sometimes splitting apart, other times drifting back into each other's lives. I've had quite a few evenings over the past ten years where I've gotten to meet up with an old friend for the night. Some friends, we seem to pick up right where we'd left off, and with the exact same chemistry, and the night only seems to assure us of what a connection we have. Other friends, after the reminiscing passes, we're often left with not a lot to say. We realize that we were only connected through a time and a place that doesn't exist anymore. One of us fights to pick up the bar tab, we give firm hugs and handshakes, and usually depart to opposite ends of the parking lot with the affirmation of getting together again "one of these days". But that doesn't usually happen. And we both know that we won't. And it's this bittersweet feeling I'm trying to capture in a brief fifteen minutes. And with this pitch-perfect cast and crew, I know we will. Because we all understand that feeling. We've all had it.
A lot of the time, too, I'm fascinated with watching people "perform" in public. There are various degrees to it. We often lie all the times ourselves (even when some of us wouldn't admit it), and not even in the explicit way of trying to deceive someone in a specific way. More often than not, we lie because we want to "save face" and keep up appearances, or we simply want to tell a really good story and entertain others around us. As a director, I construct an entire production of fog and mirrors. As an actor during really intense productions, I've often wondered where reality starts and fiction ends. The lines can sometimes blur and pretending can be addictive, after all. I was once in a relationship where my girlfriend declared she didn't know if she could trust me because I was an actor. I didn't get it at first and asked what she meant. She replied that, to be with someone who lies all the time for a living, would only make her weary of how much truth I'm actually saying to her on a daily basis. The thought hit me like a ton of bricks because I'd never thought about not being able to stop that "performance" when I got home. But what if there was an actor who was so embedded in the art of performing, acting, and essentially "lying"...that she loses herself amongst her previous roles to the degree that her entire daily dialogue is comprised of scraps of herself, fragments of other personalities once played. When someone is a chronic liar, and does it seemingly without thinking, how is that person able to get any sort of truth out amid all the words and layers? Especially when they are desperately trying to express an intense, honest love for someone else? When the antagonist is themselves? That's the fight in SPIDER VEINS. That's the struggle of communication between two stage actresses sadly weaving so many truths out of lies and lies out of truths that they've not only lost sight of who they actually are, but realize they have only one another to look to for help...that they have to look within their own "tribe" for that understanding. If Godard is right in saying that cinema is truth at 24 frames a second, then perhaps we'll be able to gaze through the glass and catch a meager glimpse of that truth from their lives. And who knows? Maybe we'll even see ourselves staring back.