25th Fantasia International Film Festival: ‘Giving Birth To A Butterfly’

by Rachel Bellwoar

Giving Birth to a Butterfly

Directed by Theodore Schaefer

Written by Patrick Lawler and Theodore Schaefer

Dana and her husband, Darryl (played by real life couple, Annie Parisse and Paul Sparks), are not on the same page. Darryl is a chef who’s currently working as a cashier but who talks as though — any day now — he’ll be opening his own restaurant. Dana is more intent on making money online, and though her husband would assume that money would be to put towards the restaurant (because, according to him, that’s the family’s dream), Dana’s body language tells another story: one of “quick, make sure everything’s away so he doesn’t see what I’m doing.”

When their son, Andrew (Owen Campbell), brings his girlfriend, Marlene (Gus Birney), home for dinner, Dana and Darryl’s opposing views come to a head. However despite seeming none too pleased that her son plans to act as father to Marlene’s unborn child, it’s Marlene who Dana asks for help when all the money in her account gets stolen. Together, they find an address for the culprit and it’s everything a road trip movie needs to get started.

Two people who have no business driving together? Check. A destination that’s guaranteed to disappoint? Check. What makes Giving Birth to a Butterfly exceptional, though, is the way Schaefer and cinematographer Matt Clegg make the camera a character in the story. It’s almost like the film is being shot as a mockumentary, except with theatrical monologues instead of talking heads. Characters will be speaking and the camera will move away, but more like a person who’s listening than someone who’s lost interest. Combined with some engrossing performances and a supporting turn by Judith Roberts, Giving Birth to a Butterfly is a meaty watch that would reward repeat viewing.

Giving Birth to a Butterfly makes its world premiere at Fantasia Fest on August 9th.

The 25th Fantasia International Film Festival runs from August 5th to August 25th. Click here for the full program.