color theories Synopsis
On a January evening in 1993 while Charlotte (13) is engaged in her favorite imaginative pastime - ultimate living room dance party - her mother, Ruth, suffers a sudden and severe stroke. The family is promptly submerged into a crisis and Charlotte's childhood is instantly interrupted.
By the time the smoke clears, summer has begun and Charlotte's older sister Joan has been pushed into the role of caregiver. Meanwhile, Charlotte confronts the arrival of her first period without her mother to guide her. Joan teaches Charlotte the ins and outs of feminine hygiene products. But Charlotte is horrified by the idea of inserting a tampon into her vagina. She attempts to adamantly resist the changes happening in her life and body.
As the summer goes on, Charlotte visits her mothers bedside in search of hope and connection. But her mother is still healing and Charlotte must learn to seek the answers to her burning questions elsewhere. She attempts to gain insight from the priest at her church and her Grandmother. But as their answers fall short, Charlotte's perspective and beliefs are challenged and begin to evolve. This evolution of Charlottes perspective is poetically explored through the use of the visible light spectrum ROY G BIV. Each color represents a different aspect of Charlotte's changing sense of self and beliefs.
Ultimately Charlotte’s mother recovers enough to show her love and Charlotte steps into her new body and new sense of self as a teenager. The echoes of her childhood fall away completely as she overcomes her fear of inserting a tampon. The film ends with Charlotte fully embodied and transformed, and yet… life goes on, and new challenges will be met.
Filmed in Portland Oregon in September 2022. Post Production 2023. Festival Circuit 2024.
Color Theories allowed me to explore narrative storytelling in an experimental way. There are two stories happening across the movie. One is the straight narrative that follows Charlotte across this summer of grief and growth. The other narrative is symbolic and follows an exploration of the color spectrum. Each color appears in the film in correlation with theories and folklore about what each hue motivates and exemplifies within the human experience. The symbolic narrative helps drive and explore the emotional arc of the character.
The primary theme of the film is inspired by the Rumi quote “The wound is where the light enters you” and investigates this through the lens of coming of age and how women's bodies carry the cycles of life in their own unique way. Color Theories doesn't rely on stereotypical coming of age story tropes, but rather explores how wisdom is born during some of our most challenging experiences. It considers that "coming of age" happens many times across our lives and in direct correlation with our most important relationships.
This film is a semi-autobiographical recreation of my own coming of age experience. My mother suffered a stroke and complicated brain surgery the winter before I got my first period. Entering early adulthood during a family crisis had a unique impact on the trajectory of my life and work as an artist.
Charlotte: Jessica O'Connor
Joan: Audree Stephens
Jo Anne: Victoria Newbill
Catholic Priest: Dave Gay
Ruth: Leslie Crandell Dawes
Nurse 1: DJ Curtis
Nurse 2: Starly Gragson
Neighborhood Man: James Luster
Writer / Director / Executive Produce: Devin Febbroriello
Producer: Andi Hummel
Production Coordinator: Ashley Song
Script Supervisor: Chelsea Unsbee
Director of Photography: Joe Bowden
Editor: Dee Juliano Scott
Production Designer: Clif Chandler
Composer: Mel Guerison
Costume Designer: Jordan Hamilton
Gaffer: Nate Miles
Sound Design: Callie Day
Colorist: Darren Hartman
Steady Cam Operator: Nate Miles
1st Assistant Camera: Sam Sanchez
Best Boy: Armando Navarro
Key Grip: Joseph Matos
Dolly Grip: Ariadna Bates
Digital Imaging Technician: Darren Hartman
2nd Assistant Camera: Jesse Bettis
Production Assistant: Mahad Mohamed
Sound Engineer: Callie Day
Boom Operator: Autumn Bochart
Art Director: Starly Gragson
Art Production Assistant: Emily Hanson
Lifeguard: Matt LeDoux
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