In her first feature film, Loyola Alumnus builds a “mosaic” of self-portrait

Two years after writing a semi-autobiographical screenplay on body dysmorphia, Amy Heller, a 2015 Loyola graduate, completed filming on her first feature, “My Little Renaissance Girl,” on November 21.

During three weeks of filming in Chicago apartments, Lincoln Park’s Cobblestone Restaurant and the North Center’s Bughouse Theater, Heller said the filmmaking process resembled “a little mosaic,” with several scenes shot in various mixed shades.

“You can see all these different parts of Amy’s life, how they intertwine and how a joke she makes in front of her friends that can be self-deprecating, how it manifests when she’s alone or how her conversations with her boyfriend are then unwrapped in his therapy sessions, ”said Heller, 29.

The film follows Amy’s Body Dysmorphia, a mental illness in which someone is obsessed with perceived physical flaws. The memory of a high school classmate associating Amy with the portrayal of a Renaissance woman grieves the main character, whose life in today’s Chicago turns into Renaissance-era illusions, while that his friends remain unconscious.

To convey the fixations, director Bethany Berg used picture-in-picture and camera zooms for a “sense of voyeurism and entrapment.”

Courtesy of Bethany Berg Amy Heller, a former student of Loyola, wrote, performed and co-produced her first feature film, “My Little Renaissance Girl”.

In one scene, Amy’s friends eat cookies while joking about not being able to work in a bakery without gaining weight. The scene continues as normal for everyone as Amy begins to imagine herself as the cookie, decked out in a Renaissance-style dress.

The zoom takes on Heller and the cookie were “very ‘cab driver’,” Berg said.

“My Little Renaissance Girl” also addresses unplanned pregnancies, which actor Lauren Partch said was her favorite scene to shoot with Heller.

“It’s such an intimate yet funny scene,” said Partch, who is also the film’s co-producer and head of marketing. “It was really just that authentic moment where we were like, ‘Are we going to celebrate? Are we going to cry-cry? ‘”

Viewers will have to wait until 2023 to see how the two friends react as the film is in the editing and fundraising phase. The project reached $ 30,000 of its goal of $ 40,000 on GoFundMe to December 7.

Besides the delays induced by COVID-19, the team said it was difficult to translate Heller’s script to screen without having any previous cinematic experience.

As many potential male producers were reluctant to join the project, Partch said presenting the short to future co-producer Anthony Gibson at the Kopi Cafe in Andersonville was a “defining moment” in his life.

“We’ve come across a lot of, ‘You’re not ready’, ‘I don’t know’, ‘Have you done this before? I did that a lot. And it’s really difficult, ”remembers Partch, 30.

“When we met Anthony he just thought, ‘This script is amazing. We would be delighted to do so. How can I make this happen? ‘ “

While overcoming multiple obstacles, the actors and the team, 90% led by women, remained passionate about the project.

“It’s the kind of movie I would have liked to see when I was younger,” said Partch, who also suffered from body dysmorphia.

Berg said directing the film felt therapeutic to him.

“In my experience, if you’ve been through anything – anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia – I feel like your life is a lot like a mosaic,” Berg said. “You will always have times that seem very normal to you, and then you will be alone in your house and everything in fear. [In the film,] this fractured feeling, hopefully, manifests itself.

(Visited 7 times, 7 visits today)

Comments are closed.