Congratulations to David Redmon and Ashley Sabin for winning the "Ron Tibbett Award For Excellence in Film" at the 12th annual Magnolia Independent Film Festival in Starkville, Mississippi, this past weekend. I have seen an early cut of their latest film, Invisible Girlfriend, and consider it to be one of the more revolutionary and stunning new efforts of 2009. In the same way that Werner Herzog challenged notions of fiction vs. non-fiction when his career first began (and, I suppose, in many ways, still does), Redmon and Sabin are delivering a vision that the screen has never seen before.
Invisible Girlfriend follows Charles (those who have seen Kamp Katrina will certainly recognize him) as he leaves his family behind in order to pedal his big red beach cruiser through rural Louisiana in order to meet up with the New Orleans bartender he is convinced is the earthly manifestation of his invisible girlfriend Joan of Arc. Along the way, he has a variety of strange and uniquely Southern encounters, culminating in a climax that the most outlandish of screenwriters wouldn't dare conjure.
It disturbs and disappoints me that Invisible Girlfriend might not receive the attention it deserves, particularly within our tiny little independent film world. I would understand if my parents don't exactly get it, but as a filmmaker and a film lover, this is the kind of electrifying work that borders on the miraculous. Redmon and Sabin aren't here to make a film about schizophrenia. They have set out to do something much, much braver: they believed and trusted in their subject and set out to document his deeply personal journey without judging him. In remaining objective and in taking a narrative approach to their material, the film gods have blessed them with one of the more impossible-to-believe climaxes in documentary history.
If you do happen to see Invisible Girlfriend and aren't deeply shaken when the final credits roll, please contact me, because for the life of me I can't figure out in this particular case how one's reaction could be anything less than stunned. Most importantly, if you have the opportunity to see this groundbreaking film, do it right away.