No Comment (2020)
An action star hits his breaking point in a press junket interview when a young journalist investigates his complicity in a scandal.
I moved to LA the fall the #MeToo movement began. At first, it baffled me that men like Harvey Weinstein had gotten away with sexual abuse and assault for years without being reported. Yet as women came forward with their own stories, bystanders began speaking publicly about assailants whose behavior they had known about for decades. These were the people who had created a system of protection around assailants, and passively condoned the abuse of women.
The stories from these enablers compelled me to stare at the mirror and question my own relationship to complicity. When I was in school, I heard stories about my best friend sexually harassing people I knew. I’m ashamed to say I struggled to listen to them. I didn’t want to hear about my friend this way. I faced the decision and condemned his behavior, but survivors must be believed. I want more men to listen.
In films like The Tale and The Light of the Moon, female filmmakers are addressing sexual assault from a perspective I could never occupy as a storyteller. I think if men want to tell stories about a system of hate against women, they must unflinchingly ask why men enable each other’s abusive behavior.
Over a real-time press junket interview, No Comment takes the viewer into the mind of a man who didn't listen. A reporter named Abigail, unable to interview an allegedly assaultive director, questions the director's star and close friend Robert Grainger. Using claustrophobic portrayal of space and dissonant sound design, the film blurs the lines between their trainwreck of an interview and Robert's anxieties coming to life. He’s pushed down his guilty conscience. Abigail has come to pull it out of him.
I wanted No Comment to feel like an excavation; to reflect the corrupting silence of men who support abusers, magnified to a degree only possible on film. It’s a story about what happens when men fail to stand up for what's right.
No Comment will premiere on a festival run in 2020. If you are interested in programming the film, email me at the link below.