June 14, 2019
Grand Jury Prize: New American Cinema Competition
Comedy icons Rachael Harris and Rob Huebel star as a lonely local housewife and a burned-out stand-up comedian who make unlikely friends in a snowbound town along the Minnesota-Ontario border.
"If you want to tell jokes for a living, tell the truth." This is the advice that grizzled road comedian Tim (Rob Huebel, "Transparent") offers to Dee (Rachael Harris, SIFF 2011's Natural Selection), a middle-aged mother who feels trapped in a boring job and a failing marriage in the icy Minnesota border town of International Falls. A self-proclaimed comedy nerd with dreams of getting onstage herself, Dee's favorite respite is the local hotel lounge's weekly stand-up show populated by low-level touring acts. Tim also feels trapped, arriving for his headlining gig with a chip on his shoulder after having spent years "grinding it out" on the road and in life. The pair's instant chemistry, demonstrated more by a shared sense of humor than their bored one-night stand, encourages Dee to finally follow her dream. But it may be too late for Tim, who can't see a way out of his increasingly crippling depression and announces that the next night's performance will be his last. Director Amber McGinnis brings playwright Thomas Ward's story, based on his own experiences as a comedian and filled with sharp, authentic dialogue and unexpected emotional resonance, to life as a showcase for two of indie cinema's finest comedic actors, exploring how the deeply comic and profoundly sad often sit side by side.
Raised as a Southern Baptist homeschooler in North Carolina, Amber McGinnis now runs her own LLC called "Outskirt Medi" where she produced and directed her first feature length film, International Falls (2019). She has also produced and directed several short films, and has worked as an Associate Producer for the Emmy Award-winning "Kennedy Center Hours" where she produced biography films for Tom Hanks and Lily Tomlin. After completing her MFA in Directing at Baylor University in Waco, TX, she began working with new media production company "WILL Interactive," where she has directed and written over 20 interactive films that focus on behavior change. Her screenplay for Girl In the Red Corner was a 2018 semifinalist at the Sundance Writer's Lab and Austin Film Festival.
- Director: Amber McGinnis
- Principal Cast: Rachael Harris, Rob Huebel, Matthew Glave, Kevin Nealon, Erik Griffin
- Country: USA
- Year: 2019
- Running Time: 93 minutes
- Producer: Amber McGinnis, Nicholas Dunlevy
- Screenplay: Thomas Ward
- Cinematographers: Andrew Aiello
- Editors: Esin Ozdag
- Music: Eric Shimelonis
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Debut Feature Film
- Language: English
- Format: DCP