After burning out in the city, Will Shipe is summoned back home where he uncovers dark truths about his family and the town he grew up in.
Will Shipe, the scion of a powerful family living near the Mason Dixon line, moves back home after years in the city. His old friend Nick, who still lives in town, is feverishly digging in the land because of a vision he can’t escape. What is buried in this small town and the events around it have repercussions that effect many people. Most of all, Will Shipe, and the past and future of his legacy.
New filmmakers NY film festival at the Anthology Film Archives
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I love cinema. The film “Magnolia” by PT Anderson turned me on to a true passion for the medium as I was so impacted by the filmmaking and the ideas contained within it. I have always had a philosophical side and eventually found my way to filmmakers who examined life in this way- Terrance Malick, Antonioni, Cassavetes, Welles, Altman, Lynch etc. To me, these filmmakers were trying as best they could, to articulate the Mystery of life. They did it in different ways and with unique techniques but in the end I felt like they were all grasping at something similar- how does one express this strange experience of existing.
I had spent the first decade of my career in comedy – writing and producing. I love comedy and enjoyed what I did and will do in that space- but I also wanted to create something from a dramatic and fully cinematic perspective. That is when I began to write “Union Bridge” – scribbling down notes at 1 am – outside a restaurant in Hollywood who’s only inhabitants at that hour were myself and two waitresses.
Union Bridge is a story about power. It’s a story about the repercussions of disrespecting the connective reality of life- between people and between eras. Things do not happen in a vacuum isolated from other things- they effect and move and are bound to the whole. Even if the agent of action is unaware or in denial of that truth.
As the filming progressed I found that it was important to let it take its course as much as possible- to trust all of the other people involved in their specialties. This gave everyone the freedom to fully express themselves as I functioned as the person making sure everything was anchored to the fundamental design- which ultimately i realized was to create emotion.
The entire process of making this film has felt like it has had a bit of a divine touch- every time I thought we ran out of runway- financing, time, cast, crew- at the last moment the right person would fall into place and claim their spot in the whole. After the making of the film I believe even more in the mysterious nature of life and how it can weave itself together without you being aware of how it did so.
I suppose I come back to that film that inspired me 20 years ago- Magnolia- and a line from it that I thought about with my film. “You may be through with the past but the past is not through with you.” Union Bridge is about America’s past and how in 2020 it is certainly not through with those who live here now. Art can bring to the surface these deeper dynamics and I hope that my film did so- and did so at the emotional level most of all.