WITHOUT came from my desire to write a story about a family that resembles my own. The story is about a polyamorous trio that is devastated by the sudden death of their male partner and the two women left mourning his loss must decide if their family can stay together.
I wrote this script in the summer of 2018 for consideration to the Herland Mentorship Program out of Calgary, Alberta. In October 2018 I was thrilled to receive a phone call from writer and director Sandi Sommers to hear that I was accepted into the program and that fall I began pre-production. This film is special to me because of the Herland program and the opportunity it gave participants to support, challenge, and engage with each other. This film is also deeply personal, and it was difficult to face the subject matter from conception to screening.
I wanted to represent a polyamorous relationship as well as bisexuality because these are important parts of my identity. I also wanted to show grief’s many facets and how it may pull and tear at a family. I was very self-conscious about writing this film because I didn’t want to represent polyamory or bisexuality negatively, but I also wanted to put these characters through a harrowing experience. Another concern was that I didn’t want to alienate audiences that may not understand polyamory or bisexuality. The script went through many drafts and readings and I was satisfied when I felt that these characters were no longer voicing my self-consciousness and came off the page as living, breathing, struggling, and loving people. This largely accomplished by the beautiful performances that Shannon Hunt and Samantha Jeffery offered to the film.
The result is a story that I believe is very sympathetic and relatable, no matter your gender, sexuality, or family structure. This is a story about a family navigating loss as well as recommitting to a relationship despite sorrow and conflict. I wanted to offer audiences the experience of stepping into an alternative relationship hopefully to realize that it’s not all that different from heteronormative ones. As a creator, I also wanted to put a story into the world that reflects my own experience that I don’t often get to see.
Samatha Jeffery as Jane
Shannon Hunt as Emily
Dylan Rhys Howard as John
Director of Photography
First Assistant Director
Production Design & Wardrobe
Hair and Make Up Designer
Hailey Sutherland for VN Palette
“Why Do You Love Me” by Jom Comyn [Bandcamp]
Written by Jim Cumming and Produced by Rene Wilson
Behind the Scenes Photography
Herland Mentorship Program
Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers
Nicole Ewing and Dark Knits Boutique
Trinity Funeral Home
The Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta
Alex Hochhousen of Astronomic Audio
Artwork by Becki Peterson