“There’s nowhere to sit” is the fitting opening line (spoken by John Riggi) to Emma Arrick’s Staring At Walls, a film about the anxiety of a new generation of American twenty something’s inundated by a culture of kitsch and irony. The film manages to be narrative while negating all the stylistic tropes associated with the medium, opting instead to employ more avant garde mechanisms in a barrage of montage and long takes designed to pinpoint both the cause of this anxiety and it’s unruly manifestations.
Traditionally, Staring At Walls would be considered Emma Arrick’s directorial debut, but that ignores not only her work in the theatre but also her long collaboration with both myself and Zimbo Films where she has worked as a producer, an assistant director and as an actress in nine of my films. Arrick has exercised in this “debut” an intimate knowledge of the art of film directing that testifies to both her natural talent and her ability to collaborate with the team of artists she enlisted to realize Staring At Walls.
The talent with which Arrick surrounded herself for her first production comes primarily from the theatre project she co-founded, Cursed Church. Many members of Cursed Church appeared in the film she assistant directed, Two Days In The Unremarkable Life Of Parker Rappaport (2012), and utilized that experience as a kind of rehearsal for her film Staring At Walls, which would center around improvisation and experimentation.
Staring At Walls began as a pitch I made to Emma Arrick after concluding her work on Two Days In The Unremarkable Life Of Parker Rappaport. Arrick had wanted to write and direct a film for some time, so when I proposed that I produce a film of hers she was ecstatic, and immediately began developing the script to Staring At Walls. As the film evolved during pre-production and finally production it became clear that Staring At Walls would be the most intimate and personal expression Zimbo Films has produced thus far.