Ani Simon-Kennedy directed her first feature film in Iceland, a country she had never been to prior to production, the film itself, titled 'Days of Gray' has no dialogue, is driven by an original score from Hjaltalín, carried by two lead performances from first-time actors in a strange, beautiful, dystopian coming-of-age story - all of which is to say, Ani is a filmmaker that seems to embrace all the aspects of filmmaking that many might try to avoid. And her work is all the more unique and daring for it.
Although 'Days of Gray' was her feature debut, Ani and long-time collaborator and cinematographer, Cailin Yatsko, who also lensed Gray, make up the team behind Bicephaly Pictures, standing as one of the few female-led production companies in NYC. They are currently heading up their second feature, 'The Short History of the Long Road', an in-development film that has gathered so much attention in just the last year it's almost difficult to list all at once: the script was selected as 1 of 20 for RBC's Emerging Storytellers during IFP Film Week, it was also 1 of 10 films selected for the Cine Qua Non Workshop in Mexico (which, from what we've heard, is one of the best script workshops working today), the film also just won the Dernsie Grand Prize Award for best screenplay at the Bentonville Film Festival.
The story follows Nola, a teenager who "loses her father and has nothing left but the van they lived in", when she decides to leave on a journey of self-discovery.
Oh, did we mention that the film was also selected to participate in the 2015 Film Independent Screenwriting Lab? Told you it was almost too much to list all in one place. It goes without saying that we here at The BUREAU cannot wait to see Ani and Cailin's second feature collaboration.
When we initially started thinking about The BUREAU, Ani was actually the very first person we ever talked to about the project - and it was her past filmmaking history under Bicephaly that made her and Cailin such ideal filmmakers to approach and support. So, not to point fingers, but it is quite possible that if Ani had shot down the idea that day, this entire project might never have moved forward! Thankfully, it was her immediate excitement and belief in this project that helped put into motion where we are today.
We are thrilled to see what Ani and Cailin create with The BUREAU.