Local Filmmaker Torn over her Directoral Debut

By Dallas Kitchen

Local filmmaker Melissa Hiebert will see 16 months of late nights, stress and rewrites hit the screen when Torn premieres at Cinematheque, on July 28th.“I don’t think there was a moment during production when I wasn’t stressed. I’m a restless perfectionist,” admitted Hiebert as we sat in her backyard in the searing heat earlier this week.
centres on a young woman named Rachel, whose flaws and insecurity begin to dissolve her life and relationships around her. Hiebert explains to me that she began writing Torn as a modern adaptation of Beauty and The Beast, from the female’s perspective. With each rewrite she began investing more of her own feelings and thoughts into the main character of Rachel. Melissa is quick to point out however, that Torn is in no way autobiographical of her own life. “Torn is about choice. That internal struggle many of us face everyday. Love and hate for ourselves. It’s a very intense emotion being torn between two very grave decisions.”
The actual filming took all of two weeks in the summer of 2010, starting August 1, with the average day lasting 12 hours. “We had a super small crew and some of the cast members helped set up the sets.” she tells me. Keeping with the norm of an indie production, everyone helped with everything. Being a completely independent film, funding for Torn came directly out of Hiebert’s pocket which she hopes to recoup some of the cost through ticket sales for the premiere, as well as DVD sales.
As we continue to sit in the 35°C sun, Melissa offers subtle indicators of her overwhelming and anxious feelings toward the upcoming premiere and the film’s reception. She runs a hand through her hair to brush it out of her face and falls back into the large wicker patio chair before explaining to me what she hopes viewers will get from the film. “I hope it just gets people thinking. It really asks a lot more questions than it answers about human relationships,” she explains. “It’s a huge story about consequences and living with those consequences.”
Torn premieres at Cinematheque on Thursday July 28 at 7 p.m. and there is a second screening on August 2. Tickets are still available for second show and can be bought at the door for $10.

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