All the way back in 2019, which feels like an eternity ago, I stumbled across an indie gem masterpiece called SAINT FRANCES on the very last night of SxSW. It had won several awards and had praise from anyone who had seen it, so I was pretty stoked to see it. The movie exceeded my expectations and filmmakers Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson still stuck around until the very end of the festival and was able to meet them. Cut to 2024 and the team are back with GHOSTLIGHT, a movie with a more serious tone but still a work that showcases their raw and immense talent. I was thrilled to attend the final screening at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar where both Kelly and Alex were in attendance.

About: When a construction worker unwittingly joins a local theater’s production of “Romeo and Juliet”, the drama onstage starts to mirror his own life.

Jason’s Reaction: I was so impressed with SAINT FRANCES many years ago and how this incredible Chicago duo could create such a memorable indie-film experience, and GHOSTLIGHT takes it even a step further in this realistic and powerful family drama involving a family torn apart by a past tragedy and how they all connect again over a local theatre production of ROMEO & JULIET. While the movie has its share of laughs I was also incredibly moved by its final act where we learn of the family’s past and how they can move through it on this play. It takes some really bold moves but keeps it very real and relatable. The three leads in the movie, Keith Kupferer, Dolly de Leon & Katherine Mallen Kupferer are all a family in real life and I have never seen them before, and their work here is unforgettable.

I was also reminded of two movies by one of my favourite filmmakers Patrick Wang, who did both IN THE FAMILY and A BREAD FACTORY, and there are some similar elements here in the realism of theatre production along with people dealing with past issues. This is such a tremendous piece of work that even though the movie has no big names and rests on this small Chicago-based family story, I really hope audiences find it (and then check out SAINT FRANCES afterwards if they haven’t seen it yet!) IFC Films has distribution in the US and not in Canada right now, and I’ll show it to all my theatre friends back in my home city if I have to!

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