People are often fearful of the unknown, including such debatable topics as spirituality, the meaning of life and what happens to us after we die. Everyone also questions how they should react when our lives are threatened, and are faced with obstacles and forced to make changes that they don’t know how to make. Writer- director-editor-executive producer David Spaltro’s award-winning independent comedy-drama ‘Things I Don’t Understand,’ which had its final, and homecoming, New York screening at the 2013 Long Island International Film Expo (LIIFE) on Saturday, July 20 at Bellmore Movies, showcased how the filmmaker fearlessly drew on his own personal experiences to create the movie. The emotionally-charged characters, brought to life by memorable performances, courageously look at the difficult topics that people are often afraid to approach.
‘Things I Don’t Understand’ follows Violet Kubelick (Molly Ryman, the 2013 LIIFE Best Actress winner), a former prodigy student in her psychology and sociology graduate program, who now only cares about living in “the pressure-less expectation free zone.” After a failed suicide attempt, she decides to give up on her career and work at a minimum wage job at a local bookstore, enjoying her free lifestyle. But her ever-lasting fascination with the human condition of dying and the possibility of an after-life pushes Violet to continue on her thesis.
Violet’s therapist, Dr. Anne Blankenship (Lisa Eichhorn), encourages her to work at Our Lady of Hope. At the hospice, she meets Sara (Grace Folsom, the 2013 LIIFE Best Supporting Actress winner), a terminally ill girl suffering from cancer, and her attendant, Joe (Nabil Vinas), who makes Violet question her belief in God. Sara helps Violet open up emotionally, allowing her to pursue a meaningful relationship with Parker McNeil (Aaron Mathias), the mysterious bartender who lives downstairs from her. Sara’s life is also turned up-side down when her and her two roommates, the drug-addicted musician Remy (Hugo Dillon) and the failed activist and performance artist Gabby (Meissa Hampton), face eviction from their rent-controlled loft.
Spaltro, Mathias and Vinas, who all attended the ‘Things I Don’t Understand’ LIIFE screening, generously took the time to speak to the audience following the movie and answered the viewers’ questions. Among other things, the filmmaker and actors discussed how Ryman, who worked with Spaltro on his first film, ‘…Around,’ showed her acting range as Violet; how the helmer relied on his experience from ‘…Around,’ on which he also directed Vinas, to help him grow as a filmmaker on ‘Things I Don’t Understand,’ his second movie; and how the director is working on distribution deals for the movie, and hopes to release it on VOD and online within the next few months.
Watch the full interview with Spaltro, Mathias and Vinas at the ‘Things I Don’t Understand’ 2013 Long Island International Film Expo screening on YouTube.