// Presented as part of Filmatique's American Indie Series //
Exclusive Essay: Sun Don't Shine: A Swampland Fever Dream
Spotlight on Sun Don't Shine
Amy Seimetz / USA, 2012 / AFI Fest, Edinburgh, Indie Memphis, Maryland, San Francisco Independent, SXSW, Turin / 90'
Crystal and her boyfriend Leo drive through the endless mangrove fields, trailer parks and suburban panoramas of the Gulf Coast with something sinister in their trunk. They fight ruthlessly, which only reinforces their bond— anyone who comes between them is instantly shunned. The heat and haze of their surroundings seem only to exacerbate Crystal's mounting hysteria. Slowly, clues reveal the precariousness of their past and of their future.
Filmed on location in her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, actress Amy Semitz's (Upstream Color) feature film debut is an astonishing, atmospheric portrait of two lovers who have, for better or worse, taken destiny into their own hands. Sun Don't Shine premiered at AFI Fest, Turin, Vienna, Maryland, and SXSW, where it won a Special Jury Prize.
"[A]n instant classic of lovers on the run... Seimetz's direction, with its efficient, light-scarred impressionism and its use of isolated voices and hypnotic visions, unleashes furious power from her lead actors. Audley conveys a brutish love through violence in repose; Leo is the reluctant criminal, able to prove devotion by his mere implication in the plot—every word and gesture comes out like a blow meant as a caress. Sheil lends Crystal a damaged terror, a shredded and stifled fear that simmers in spasmodic jitters and bursts out in primordial shrieks of long-repressed rage. Their energy comes from deep within, their gestures and inflections are as surprising as they are sharply, painfully expressive. It's a straightforward story, each moment of which Seimetz sees (and hears) as amazingly complex conflicts. Imagine that each of her logically conceived, clearly composed images were shot through with vectors ranging far and deep and wildly askew into the Florida landscape and through her characters' very souls"
- Richard Brody, Film Review, The New Yorker