Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Dallas VideoFest Presents Curated Film Series Featuring KING JUDITH, a Metaphysical Ghost-Story Drama

Dallas VideoFest's Curated Film Series continues with the metaphysical ghost-story drama KING JUDITH, a film by DVF alumni, Richard Bailey. It screens Wednesday, May 18, at 7:00 pm at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas. General admission tickets are $10, order here.

Written and directed by Richard Bailey, KING JUDITH is the story of a detective named Miriam, who investigates the disappearance of three women. The missing women are academics who'd been studying "Lady of the Lake" stories across the American South. The case turns dreamy and strange when Miriam starts having visions of Judith, a powerful ghost of the lake.

Starring Nicole Fancher as Miriam, Rhonda Boutté as Doyenne, Emily Ernst as Judith, Joanna Schellenberg as Sister Woman, and Jenny Ledel as Catherine.

Richard Bailey's Reflections

Origins of the Story:

"I grew up in rural Texas and have always been fascinated by 'Lady of the Lake' stories. The more I've researched these stories, my fondness for them has remained, but I've grown critical about how they've evolved. Once upon a time, the women in folklore who appeared suddenly next to a body of water were fertility figures, immortal women there to ensure the fecundity of the landscape. They walked the shore between water and land and blessed it. Once paganism was supplanted by monotheism, these immortal women and their fertile practices seemed too promiscuous for the new traditions. And now, instead of an immortal woman there to bless the shore, we have a dead woman imprisoned by it. 'Lady of the Lake' stories are now often cautionary tales about a negligent woman who either lost her children or fell in love with the wrong kind of man. The message changed from a celebration of the feminine aspect of god to a message about female propriety. All this being said, the film itself isn't about my research. I'm neither a moralizer nor a sermonizer. I'm one who's drawn to stories. The depiction and understanding of female ghosts or immortals through history is fascinating terrain for a movie plot. This movie is unusual, but it is steeped in the traditions of fun and engaging ghost stories."

Timing of shooting the film: "The cast was attached to the film, and I was in the process of raising money when the pandemic hit. Our budget changed drastically, and so did our methodology regarding how many people could be on set at a given time. I had to do a substantial rewrite. Ultimately, the film was accomplished in two chunks. We shot for about seven days in September 2020 and then another seven days in March 2021. That's all we could manage, and it was enough. We were driven to finish by our shared enthusiasm for this utterly unique ghost story."

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