Georgia spends each winter as part of a mysterious all-female commune, whose members commit to a subsistence lifestyle and take a vow of silence. When Georgia's daughter and granddaughter return home to Vermont in need of support, Georgia's role in the family unit comes into conflict with her desire for solitude.
Running time: 16 minutes 30 seconds
Format: 4K DCI / Stereo
Year completed: 2021
Georgia’s Line is my first live-action narrative film. After working across artistic disciplines for 20 years – creating animated films, comics, prints, and multi-media projects – I wanted to push my visual storytelling practice in a more collaborative direction.
A native New Englander, I moved to Vermont in 2014. I became a foster parent in 2016, and adopted my foster son in 2018. Georgia’s Line is, in part, inspired by my experience as a single parent.
The film explores a number of themes: intergenerational family relationships between women; the myriad inner conflicts present in motherhood; and the paradoxical human need for both community and aloneness.
When it came to casting, I preferred to work with friends rather than professional actors. The main cast (Georgia, Robin, and Olive) are real-life grandmother, daughter, and granddaughter, and live down the street from me. Together, we did a lot of script analysis, but skipped rehearsals. Instead, we shot every run-through on set. In this way, I attempted to capture more spontaneous performances.
Georgia’s Line was shot over four days in January 2020, on unceded Western Abenaki land.
Principal photography took place in Brattleboro, VT, and in Unity, NH, at the Quaker City Land Trust, a cooperative community established in the 1970’s and still active today. Having completed films on 16mm, SD, and HD video, I was excited to try a new format; we used a Blackmagic Ursa Mini shooting 4K video to capture all the beauty of southern Vermont.
While filming, the cast and crew endured temperatures in the single digits and managed to work through two snowstorms. One frozen morning, the lighting truck wouldn’t start, and on another morning, an art department member’s car went off the road into a snowbank.
(She was OK! And some kind neighbors helped call a tow truck and even PAID for the tow!)
Crew members were graduates of Keene State College that work professionally in the New England film industry. Each crew member mentored a current KSC student, who was able to gain valuable on-set experience. Gender equity in the crew makeup was a priority. We adhered to "French hours" – working 10-12 hours per day and wrapping by 8pm so I could put my son to bed. Our craft services did not create any waste, by providing cast and crew with compostable plates and cutlery, as well as a bin for food scraps.
Music for the film was composed by Brattleboro's own Ruth Garbus, a singer/songwriter who has released four solo albums to date. She is also known for her roles in the bands Feathers and Happy Birthday (Sub Pop).
Production was supported by two Faculty Development Grants from Keene State College and an Artist Development Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. Fast Lights supported additional lighting and grip rental, and Mocha Joe's Coffee Roasters kept both cast and crew fueled up.
Post-production began 6 months into the pandemic when my son returned part-time to elementary school, and was completed in the spring of 2021.
CAST AND CREW
WRITER, DIRECTOR, EDITOR: Jo Dery
GEORGIA: Georgia Morgan
ROBIN: Robin Morgan
OLIVE: Olive Gitelson
PRODUCER: Miranda Dean
CAMERA: Riley Keefe, Jo Dery, Ben Heald, Lindsay Taylor Jackson
COMPOSER: Ruth Garbus
SOUND MIXER: Aaron Bouchard
BOOM OPERATOR: Zach McCallion
ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR: Jessica Moir
ASSISTANT TO THE PRODUCER: Sarah Nickerson
ART DIRECTOR: Chloe Lee
ART DEPARTMENT: Makayla Gawlik, Ian Ludders
GAFFER: Ben Heald
GRIPS: Anthony Paquin, Ryan Cabana, Hunter Anderson
DATA WRANGLERS: Miranda Dean, Sarah Nickerson
COLOR: Anastasia Shepherd
SOUND MIX: Ben Rogers
TITLES + EFFECTS: Jo Dery
CRAFT SERVICES: Brendan Tang
Jo Dery is an artist who experiments with visual storytelling. Her creative practice is rooted in drawing and writing. Her stories are inspired by folklore, memoir, and a deep love of the natural world.
Jo’s animated short films have screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation. In 2012, she received the Helen Hill Award, which supports innovative independent filmmakers, and in 2013 she was included in Chronicle Books' Animation Sketchbooks. She has been awarded grants from the LEF Foundation, The Free History Project, the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, and the Vermont Arts Council. Her drawings and prints have been exhibited in Providence, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Berlin. Her books can be found in independent stores like Quimby's (Chicago) and Little Otsu (Portland), and her comics have been listed as "Notable Comics" in the Best American Comics series three times.
She earned a BFA in Film/Animation/Video from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. She has completed residencies at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, as well as participated in an animation workshop at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, Poland.
She has more than a decade of higher education teaching experience, with a specialty in Film/Video and Animation. She is currently an Associate Professor of Film Studies at Keene State College in southern New Hampshire.