BLOCKS is a surreal comedy about a mother of young children who begins spontaneously vomiting LEGO blocks and can't stop. Bridget Moloney is making BLOCKS as part of AFI's very cool Directing Workshop for Women. Your contribution can be tax deductible!
In Partnership With
AFI Directing Workshop for Women
Inclusion StatementThis is a movie about motherhood made by mothers, women and other female identifying people. This is an unflinching look at the physical and metaphysical changes that accompany parenthood.
About The Project
BLOCKS is a surreal comedy about a mom of young children who begins spontaneously vomiting LEGO blocks and can't stop. She tries to make this strange new development work, she treats it like just another bizarre body change after children, but eventually it's overwhelming, and she decides to use her problem to carve some space for herself--literally and figuratively.
WHY THIS MOVIE?
(If you watched the pitch video you can just sort of skim over this part. This is the extended remix.)
This script was born from my experience as a mom and those of my friends with young kids--in addition to the body horrors (and beauties!) of having kids--there’s the stuff aspect. For me, having children meant more and more...things appeared in my home, and my bag, and my car. I kept thinking about consumption--both consumerism and actual eating. It felt like overnight, there was a new relentless rhythm. Feeding, eating, not sleeping, buying more things, rinse and repeat. I was happy! But I still couldn't help but notice the relative drudgery.
The stuff just doesn't stop. Even if you buy ethically and second-hand, the children grow! There are always too small shoes and toenails, and breast pumps and Cheerios and BLOCKS and also crumbs and all of sudden you look around and think the climate change ship has already sailed and didn't I used to admire Scandinavian Design? What's going on here? Or maybe that's just me.
This early motherhood was cozy and miraculous, and also crushing and overwhelming. (And yet I still recommend it!) So I started to envision a film that captured these feelings.
As a parent and an artist I've thought a lot about the abject. (Shout out to Julia Kristeva) The abject is the human reaction--often vomit and horror--to a threatened breakdown in meaning caused by the loss of distinction between subject and object, or between self and other. Which, frankly, sounds a lot like early parenthood. As a writer and director, I wanted to tell that story and as a parent, I wanted to watch it.
This film explores that but with laughs!
WHY SHOULD I BACK THIS PROJECT?
"Oh it's a great time to be a woman director!" This is the happy exclamation that has greeted me lately, and it's true, it is! I am so happy to be a director and a woman at this moment in time. But women are still woefully underrepresented in film and television.
In addition to my woman-ness there is the fact that I am a mom. (mom jeans, soccer mom, milf, etc, etc, etc) When people hear I have two children they often say "and you're doing this? Good for you!" Which is...I mean...I get it. Film and television is not an easy industry in which to be a mother. Is there an easy industry in which to be a mother? In America?
Once, on set, I needed to take a break to pump and the truly great Assistant Director said "ok, just do it as fast as you can." He wasn't doing a bit. That's not how breast pumps work. BLOCKS wants to be part of the change. Making filmmaking an easier place to be a parent isn't just about having parent storytellers--it's also about having the literal support on set--and having people who understand the experience running it.
(Also, as an aside, when people find out that women directors/producers/actors have young children they often ask "where are the kids?" No one has ever asked my male spouse that. Ever.)
Last year I wrote and directed an independent television project that premiered at the Tribeca Television Festival in the Fall of 2018. Crowdfunding for post production on the pilot gave it the push to get into a prestigious festival. It also was a key part of my application to the Directing Workshop for Women. There will be a large and well attended showcase for BLOCKS, full of executives who will see the short and realize that this is the excellent starting point for a series about the bizarre in parenthood. I will also use this to pitch a series--it will be more than just a calling card.
(Lifetime's hit television series UNREAL started as a Directing Workshop for Women short in 2013).
AFI'S DIRECTING WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN
The AFI Directing Workshop for Women — AFI’s filmmaker training program launched in 1974 — is committed to increasing the number of women working as directors in film and television. Recent alumnae of the program include Milena Govitch (CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO MED), Tiffany Johnson (BOOMERANG, DEAR WHITE PEOPLE), Nancy Meija (VIDA) and Gandja Montiero (VIDA). Directing Workshop for Women alumna Dime Davis was also recently tapped to direct the pilot of Lena Waithe and Halle Berry’s BET series BOOMERANG. Amber Sealey ( Directing Workshop for Women 2019) premiered her short film at Sundance this year, alumna Pippa Bianco’s debut feature SHARE, based on her Cannes-winning Directing Workshop for Women short of the same name, also premiered at Sundance.
The BLOCKS team has already raised almost half of the budget through private donations but we need your help to make it all happen. That's right! We are already (almost) halfway there! That means that a lot of people think this short has a future. Won't you please join us? Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Check with your tax people and donate away.
Let's make a surreal comedy about the metaphysical changes that accompany parenthood! That can be enjoyed by everyone!
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About This Team
Bridget Moloney is the writer and director of the project. Her indepdent television pilot, I WAS A TEENAGE PILLOW QUEEN premiered at the Tribeca TV Festival 2018. (You might have helped finance that one too!) She is also an actor, a former couples and family therapy intern, spouse and mother of two children.
Some of the cast has yet to be cast but we do know that Claire Coffee and Mark Webber will be gracing the project.
(Photo by Luke and Mallory Leasure)
Claire recently wrapped six seasons as a regular on NBC’s “Grimm”, and can now be seen on CBS in S.W.A.T., playing the love interest to Lina Esco’s Chris.
She executive produced and starred in the independent pilot “I Was a Teenage Pillow Queen” written and directed by Bridget Moloney, which premiered at the TriBeCa TV Festival. Other recent credits include “The Sisterhood” (star), “Buddymoon” (which won the Slamdance Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature), and “The Competition”, opposite Thora Birch and Chris Klein. Past television credits include recurring roles on "Franklin & Bash," and the acclaimed NBC drama "The West Wing." She has guest starred on long-running shows such as "The League," "CSI," "Psych," "Bones" and "Cold Case."
Claire also created and starred in the web series “Chelsey and Kelsey are Really Good Roommates,” with Ellie Knaus, which won Best Mobile Series at ITVFest in Los Angeles.
She currently resides in Brooklyn with her husband and four year old son.
Mark Webber is an actor, director and screenwriter. This is borrowed from Deadline:Webber is perhaps best known for his roles in several indie/cult classic films, including Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, Lynn Shelton’s Laggies, Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim Saves the World and Gus Van Sant’s Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot. Webber also recurred on SMILF for Showtime. His latest directorial effort, The Place of No Words, in which he also stars with his wife, Teresa Palmer, and their 4-year old son Bodhi, will premiere in competition at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival.
Valerie Steinberg has produced a dozen short films including HAIR WOLF (dir. Mariama Diallo; 2018 Sundance Jury Award winner for US Fiction Short Film; presently on HBO), FRY DAY (dir. Laura Moss; world premiere SXSW; Student Visionary Award winner at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival), and EVERYBODY DIES! (dir. Frances Bodomo), which is part of the premiere episode of the HBO series RANDOM ACTS OF FLYNESS, as well as the omnibus feature COLLECTIVE:UNCONSCIOUS (world premiere SXSW 2016). Her new short film METRONOME (IN TIME) directed by Scott Lochmus will world premiere at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. She is the Consulting Producer of Ash Mayfair’s Vietnamese period drama feature film THE THIRD WIFE (2018 TIFF award winner). She is in post-production on Jake Wachtel's feature film IN THE NEXT LIFE, a Buddhist sci-fi thriller shot in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She is also in post-production on Maya Albanese's short FREEZE, which is in development as a television series. Valerie earned her BA in Philosophy and Chinese at Yale University.
Kristin Slaysman is a graduate of Northwestern University and a Los Angeles-based producer, actor and director. Recently, she produced Bridget Moloney's independent pilot I Was a Teenage Pillow Queen, as well as The Icarus Line Must Die, a narrative feature about the L.A. rock & roll scene, and Josh Crockett's Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks, in which she also stars. Kristin has written/directed several shorts including Preggo and Brett Kavanaugh is Ruining My Sex Life. As an actor, Kristin's TV credits include: Shooter, Masters of Sex, American Horror Story and The Last Tycoon and her feature film work has premiered at Berlin, Sundance & SXSW film festivals.
Kate Chamuris’s recent producing work includes the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women short, UNSPEAKABLE (dir. Milena Govich; world premiere SXSW 2018) that serves as a proof-of-concept for a 60-min drama/thriller television series. She has also produced the AFI Conservatory thesis films MILLER & SON (dir. Asher Jelinsky; Clermont-Ferrand 2019, Atlanta 2019), IF THIS IS WRONG (dir. Chelsea Woods; Citizen Jane 2018) and BALLOON (dir. Jeremy Merrifield). Before producing narrative film she worked as an advertising account manager and producer for ROLEX Global at J. Walter Thompson. While there she produced the branded feature documentary “Deepest Dive: The Story of the Trieste,” directed by Fisher Stevens that aired on National Geographic and BBC Worldwide.
Jake Hossfeld is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio (2006), where he majored in Mass Communications and minored in Film Studies. Since 2007, he has worked full-time in the grip and set lighting departments on numerous commercials and sixteen full-length feature films. By 2016, he had transitioned into primarily a gaffing role, serving as such on various commercials, short films and four features. Jake recently graduated from the Cinematography program at the American Film Institute Conservatory.