Somewhere in the shadows of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal, a young woman spends her nights alone, lurking in internet chat rooms and meticulously constructing a ‘vision board’ of an ideal future while her real life crumbles around her.
Writer/director/producer: Erica Genereux Smith
The production of Night Life was a highly collaborative effort between myself, actress Katherine Folk-Sullivan and DOP Suzi Sadler.
The film is an exploration of the cognitive dissonance that the protagonist experiences as she attempts to engage with our pervasive culture of self-improvement and aspiration while simultaneously feeling ambivalence and/or paralysis in her actual life.
She seeks escapism in virtual representations of a lifestyle that she seems to have no real desire to pursue. When she creates her vision board, it is in an attempt to covet the objects and the lifestyles in the images. In reality, she flees anything that might bring her closer to those trappings of conventional success and happiness.
As a director, I have a particular interest in female anti-heroes, and also in observing women alone in environments that they have created for themselves – something I rarely see represented in film.
In this case, the act of observing does not necessarily bring us any closer to understanding.
Night Life was recently awarded the 2014 Spirit of NoBudge from the filmmaker-run online screening space NoBudge.com.
About Erica Genereux Smith
Erica Genereux Smith is an actor, writer and director. She is a graduate of McGill University and of the Atlantic Theatre Company’s Conservatory training program.
Night Life is her second film as a writer/director. Her first film, My Heart Yearns in Vain (starring Jonas Chernick), was awarded a production grant from the CFTPA and was broadcast on the W Network.
As an actor, she has appeared in such films as Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin (Cannes, TIFF, Sundance) and The Professor with Betsy Brandt.