Journalism Students Interview Indy Filmmakers

Last month, two local filmmakers, Annie J. Howell and Lisa Robinson, visited one of CCNY’s Introduction to Journalism classes. Corisa Kastrataj covered the event.

Last week in Shepard Hall, an Intro to Journalism class invited directors Annie Howell and Lisa Robinson, to discuss their second Indie film “Claire in Motion.”

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Robinson and Howell with journalism students.

Howell and Robinson met at NYU grad school, where both women pursued an MFA in film. The pair began creating a web series called “Sparks,” which ran on the Sundance channel.

The women writer/directors enjoy working on independent projects because of the freedom and creativity. “We’re allowed to pursue our interests,” said Robinson. The filmmakers found success with their debut feature “Small, Beautifully Moving Parts.”

Howell and Robinson made their second feature called “Claire in Motion,” where it was premiered at the SXSW film festival on March 14-17, 2016. Shortly after, the film began screening at other film festivals and had a theatrical release at select locations.

The story begins shortly after the protagonist; Claire Hunger, discovers her husband has gone missing. When the local police drop the case due to insufficient evidence, her son begins to grieve, which leads Claire to conduct her own search for finding her husband. Claire battles with identity as her husband’s secrets unfold, and struggles with uncertainty and loss.

The location for “Claire in Motion” was inspired by Howell’s new life in Ohio. “I explore what this particular small town showed me,” said Howell. The filming took place in Howell’s home and in a state park that she had previously traveled to for an engagement party. “Small town life creates certain situations,” Howell said.

While spending time apart during the pre-production of “Claire in Motion,” Howell and Robinson conducted skype calls to go over script ideas. “We write together but also write solo,” Howell said. Robinson added that their inspiration comes from “themes that we are obsessed with and keep going back to, we want that to resonate for people.”

When writing “Claire in Motion,” Robinson explained that the film’s ending was intentional; “We wanted it to always be uncertain.” Howell adds, “We knew [from the beginning] the viewer would never find out.” Robinson then concludes that “It’s her story, not his.”