Updated: Jul 8, 2019
On Satuday January 27th, my short film The Book of Judith won the Grand Prize at the Snowtown Film Festival in beautiful Watertown, NY. I want to express my deepest gratitude to Marc Knapp, President of the Festival, Jason Maurer, Vice President and to Terry Brennen, Kylie Peck and all the board members.
The Book of Judith continues a long tradition of more than 110 paintings and sculptures of “Judith Beheading Holofernes.” In the mythological story, the beautiful widow Judith enters the tent of Holofernes, a marauding Assyrian general who is about to destroy her home. While he is inebriated, she decapitates him. My objective was to create an experimental narrative that penetrates the complex psychology of Judith’s character and sheds light on her personality.
The film places Judith in the present day on a farm in Central New York where fantasy and sexual tension, as conveyed through dreams and daydreams involving a stranger who arrives at her house, start to haunt her daily life. The macabre conclusion plumbs a psychological depth: the story has taken place in Judith’s mind, all of it the culmination of her loneliness, desires, fears and sense of entrapment by her circumstances.
Although the project took me longer than expected, I met the challenges head on. I was awarded a NYSCA grant and three Syracuse University grants, and received post-production support from Whiskey Films in Mexico City.
The finished film favors visual elements, using them as a stylistic exercise through which the story is conveyed. As with my previous work, it uses dialogue judiciously, relying primarily on the images themselves to carry the film’s purpose. The Book of Judith has the distinctive appeal of a “21st-century Judith,” drawing out contemporary obsessions rooted in an archetypal legend.