Invisible Girlfriend Collects Its First Award (Of What Should Be Many)

by tully
February 24, 2009 5:30 AM
3 Comments
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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.

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3 Comments

  • D.W. Sabin | February 25, 2009 3:21 AMReply

    One of the possible reasons that Ashley and David's films do not receive a wider acknowledgment is that they are non-polemical and firmly verite, though full of artistic effects. They let the story take them where it will. The American society, despite its democratic pretensions is firmly affixed to the role of spectator. They like their stories big, flashy and reliably formatted and generally do not have the patience nor attention span to watch reality in all its poetic and chaotic force. Needless to say, as Independent film makers, they lack the finances to include the standard scene of nine civilians a crushing and ten police cruisers a crashing and eleven bridge abutments a crushing...with a happy ending where gut-shot boy kisses pretty girl at the end and the President is saved on July Fourth after the bad guys are shredded by a ventilator fan. They allow the ugly, and quixotic to guide them and do not condescend or impose a happy ending. The fact that many have embraced their films is a very good sign for this effects-addled lapsed-republic.

  • Brian | February 25, 2009 1:14 AMReply

    David and Ashley are truly inspiring documentary filmmakers. I am looking very forward to Invisible Girlfriend.

  • Pamela | February 24, 2009 7:55 AMReply

    I was, indeed, deeply shaken. Incredible, in the true sense of the word, but there it is on celluloid.