On the brink of adulthood, four friends drive west in search of both themselves and the escape from themselves. Delusional, yet well-intentioned, the cinematic idea of “traveling west” is soon threatened by unforeseen realities of the America they encounter. As tensions rise, the girls confront each other's crafted personalities and facades. With the performance of friendship stripped away, a space for vulnerability is opened up, and with it, an opportunity for growth.
The conflicted characters unravel throughout the self-indulgent road-trip. In bite-sized breakthroughs, the girls realize that internal growth does not come from a change of scenery. Setting vibrant hallucinations against dry-drab moments of reality, "Girl Props" uses these elements to meditate on the private versus public self.
Chanti (Played by Chanterelle Ribes) is the “rebel,” a singer/songwriter from a wealthy family. With a free spirit her parents quietly pay for, she has the luxury of spontaneity. Abrasive and opinionated, her intense presence is equally brutal as it is charming. She invites herself on the road trip.
Ann Marie (Played by Victoria Cronin) has been in college for an unclear, lengthy amount of time. Suffering from a personality disorder, she avoids decision-making. She hides her problems behind an optimistic personality while avoiding confrontation. Roommates with Sylvia, Ann Marie cooks up the idea of the road trip after the news of their eviction. She ”borrows" her parent’s car to make it happen.
Sylvia (Played by Adinah Dancyger) is an aspiring actress who tailors her personality to fit any scenario. It is often unclear if or when she is acting, and as such, the others aren't sure how to form a stable opinion about her. Unlike Ann Marie, Sylvia moves into her dupe of a boyfriend’s apartment in response to the eviction. She sets out on the road trip hoping to accelerate her acting career in LA.
Xena (Played by India Menuez) is a photographer who made her career in the art world with self-portraiture; but also with the help of her gallerist/girlfriend. Having grown up in a poorer part of Long Island, she has become somewhat of an opportunist in her success. Xena goes on the road-trip to start a new body of work photographing the girls, but also to breath a little from her overbearing relationship.
“Girl Props” seeks to express truths about self discovery, narcissism and the dynamics of friendship by deconstructing tropes that dehumanize women in film.
To create a multidimensional vision, Adinah Dancyger, Victoria Cronin, and India Menuez approach “Girl Props” writing and directing in equal volume, as well as playing three of the four lead roles. “Girl Props” challenges traditional filmmaking by imploring meta-elements of comedy. Through the intimate relationship between life on and off screen, there is a recognizable irony in the process of making this film.
“Girl Props” collages narrative, fantasy, and documentary filmmaking. It is narrative in the sense that each character has a conflict, motivation, and resolution by the end of the trip. It is fantasy in its incorporation of dream sequences and surreal representations. The documentary feel comes through an openness in production for unexpected travel situations and working with improvisation.
Cronin, Dancyger and Menuez are native New Yorkers who have known each other for a decade. They have developed an extensive history of collaboration: all are founding members of the ‘Luck You’ Art Collective, that have organized art shows, film festivals, workshops, and DIY publishing internationally. These experiences have allowed for three distinct voices to create work with a common vision. As a team, they have worked on features and short films; the most recent having just premiered at the 2015 MoMa's New Directors/New Films Series, “I Remember Nothing” directed by Zia Anger.
To depict the problems of "objective" storytelling, we piece together the film's three disparate voices through collage-like filming methods.
To achieve this we will shoot with different cameras from high to low quality, both digital and analog: primarily on a Sony a7s and Nikon D800, with an assortment of additional camera units such as iPhones, Mini DV and Drone.
As the story explores the limitations of perspective, we address subjectivity through different frames, visuals, and textures that lend the audience authority to map out a more cohesive, objective picture.
INDIA SALVOR MENUEZ
Menuez co-wrote “Technology” with newly cult filmmaker Maiko Endo, a feature length fantasy finishing post production this year. They wrote for three years before filming in India & Iceland these last two. Menuez designed wardrobe for Endo’s first feature “Kuichisan” which won Jihlava Film Festival amongst a myriad of praise. Though the writing side of filmmaking is in a way still fresh to her, Menuez has acted a wide range of roles the past four years: eight features, in two of which she plays the lead, and a multitude of shorts. Excited to be writing with close friends who she has always admired, watching as their work grows with them.
Adinah Dancyger recently graduated Bard College with a B.A. in Film Production. In 2013, she landed her first acting role in independent filmmaker Nathan Silver's fourth feature film "Uncertain Terms" which is currently showing at theaters in NY and LA. Her thesis film "Chopping Onions" was shown at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival as part of the Short Film Corner program. "Chopping Onions" which she wrote, directed, and edited, is a multi-lingual self portrait of a young girl's relationship with her Korean grandmother. Interested in the documentary/fiction crossover, Dancyger casted her own grandmother and a child non-actor to play in the film. "Girl Props" will be her first feature-length project.
To see more of her work, check out her vimeo.
Cronin is an artist and writer, interested in how people become people, or how they can avoid it. She reads her poetry work in a multitude of settings, contributes to creative writing publications, and works with performance through video. Often shot in collaboration with Dancyger, she stars herself as different characters; Cronin plays between deviating from herself and shedding light on both the abnormal and banal qualities of people she shares space with. Her frequent work in art direction and odd jobs on various sets gives ground to her wide range of experience in filmmaking. She is currently an undergrad at Brooklyn College studying Critical Theory.
PRODUCER: CARMEN HALL
Carmen Hall is a writer, producer and community organizer currently studying Brazilian Cinema at PUC Rio. Her studies abroad are in exchange from Sarah Lawrence College where she goes, awarded the Dean’s Scholarship. Hall grew up with the three writers and was a co-founder of Luck You Collective, producing the majority of their programming. She organized events at and for the Bruce High Quality Foundation, Museum of Moving Image, Colette, the Hole Gallery & New York Art Department. As well as organizing events she also oversees the production of publications for many of them. Hall intermittently works for Pulse Films producing major international commercials.
DIRECTOR OF CINEMATOGRAPHY: MILES JORIS-PEYRAFITTE
Miles started working with film & video when he was 7 years old. His filmography includes, "As a Friend" (wrote and directed) which has appeared at LA Shorts as well as Williamsburg Independent Film Festival; Basil King: Mirage (as editor, composer, & co-director with Nicole Peyrafitte). He has directed music videos for bands such as My Goodness, Eric Slick, Skinnybones, as well as produced for Angel Olsen, Strand of Oaks, Nat Baldwin & others. From time to time Miles works as an actor in titles such as: Valley of the Sasquatch, Gut, Muttnik, and Counting to Infinity. Miles currently lives in Hudson, NY and is in preproduction for his first feature film, an adaptation of his short "As a Friend."
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: ZIA ANGER
Zia Anger is a filmmaker whose most recent short film "I Remember Nothing" premiered at the 44th New Directors/New Filmmakers Festival. Film critic Ela Bittencourt wrote that the film “is beautifully controlled, and its cerebral allure and the frankness with which it delves into a woman’s psyche bring to mind the films of Joanna Hogg...” Anger’s work has screened at many festivals including Maryland Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Basilica Soundscape, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, and Vienna Independent Shorts. She has made music videos for various independent artists. She was the recipient of the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant for her short film "Lover Boy." She received her MFA from School of the Arts Institute of Chicago and her BA/BS from Ithaca College.
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR: ERROL BILGIN
Errol Bilgin is a musician and writer also working in film. He wrote his thesis on failed literature, toured with Starred chasing Courtney Love around the country, and will be releasing his solo pop LP titled Swamp Heart in the fall. His poetry is published in literary & independent journals, including Issue #3 of The California Journal of Poetics. His interests include: Madonna, nut butters, and all things Medieval.
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR: IZZY KROSS
Kross is a filmmaker and animator from Brooklyn, NY. She studied film production at Bard College and animation at Les Récollets in Paris, France through MICA and CCA. She recently completed her senior thesis, a 14-minute hand drawn animation presented as an installation titled, "HOW DO WE SEE WHAT WE SEE?" Kross's work appears in Ariel Pink's music video "I Need A Minute" directed by Josh and Bennie Safdie for their film "Heaven Knows What." While she primarily works in 2D stop-motion animation, Kross's work also lies in video editing, visual effects, and MAX/MSP.
ACTING ROLE OF CHANTI: CHANTERELLE MENASHE RIBES
Chanterelle Ribes is a 21-year-old polyglot with a sufficiently delveloped intellect. She wrote her thesis at NYU on the manifestation of simultaneous time in recent cinema and its participation in furthering Deleuzian notions of cinematic temporality. She currently lives in Berlin and studies German. She has also written extensively on William James' paradigm of Pragmatism, women's representation in post-revolutionary Iranian cinema, and Heideggerian notions of boredom, amongst other things. She also does animation, sings, writes plays and poems, watches films and solves puzzles.
Pages from the zine:
Risks and challenges
It is a challenge to have three directors, but we hope this will add an aspect of multiple perspectives we see important to telling the story of four female protagonists. We hope in some way to articulate the lack of women's stories being told in film and the lack of women directors telling them. This is a challenge because we can not speak for all women but hope to tell a story that is true to us.
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