American Indie – Feature
OPENING NIGHT FILM
Special Guests: Anna Paquin, Shana Betz, Cerise Hallam Larkin
FREE RIDE, Shana Betz
USA / 2013 / 83 min / HDCam / English
True Crime/Drama 1978: After a string of abusive relationships and dead end jobs, Christina Miller comes to the realization that there’s nothing left for her and her two young daughters, thirteen-year-old MJ and seven-year-old Shell, in blue-collar Ohio. An inviting phone call from her free-spirited friend, Sandy, is all Christina needs to pack up her belongings and load the kids into a Chrysler bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Great weather, a vibrant social scene, and liberal lifestyle are attractive to Christina, and Sandy delivers right away, getting Christina a job cleaning houses in a wealthy neighborhood. But it soon becomes apparent to Christina that the big, empty mansions she is dusting are merely a front for something much bigger.
And that bigger sure looks much better than the way Christina and the kids have been surviving. What lies ahead is a true story of a mom making choices – many, in hindsight could be questionable at best, however, Christina always had making a better life for her kids in the forefront of her thoughts.
So hang on to your seats, for the FREE RIDE that lies ahead has many twists, turns and thrilling detours.
Screenplay: Shana Betz / Producers: Susan Dynner, Cerise Hallam Larkin, Anna Paquin / Cinematographer: Quyen Tran / Editor: Danny Daneau / Composer: Jeff Russo / Production Designer: Kirsten Oglesby / Art Director: Annette Breazeale / Principal Cast: Anna Paquin, Cam Gigandet, Drea De Matteo, Liana Liberato, Ava Acres / Contact:
THE DIRECTOR: As the Executive Director of the MVPA, the premiere trade association for the music video industry, Shana Executive Produced the annual MVPA Awards where she worked with the top creative minds in the industry. In this period, she also Executive Produced the Director’s Cuts Film Festival, the cutting edge film festival of short films by the top music video directors that soon became the poaching ground for the next big feature director. After leaving the MVPA,
Shana produced many short format projects, including The Stranger, which won the Eastman Kodak New Filmmaker Award. She also honed her acting and comedic voice while performing with Tim Robbins’ ensemble, The Actors’ Gang, in LA where she toured the country as the only female in George Orwell’s 1984. In 2009/10, Betz partnered with Robbins to program and produce the WTF?! Festival -- over 40 music, literature and film events with Tenacious D, Gore Vidal, Sarah Silverman, Jackson Browne, Paul Provenza, Ben Gibbard, John Doe and many more.
In 2010, she received a grant to write and direct a film for the Girls! Girls! Girls! Project, an anthology of shorts about women, by women. She then completed the 2011 Film Independent Directors Lab Fellowship with the script, “Free Ride” based on her life story before filming the feature starring Anna Paquin, Drea De Matteo and Cam Gigandet, which will have its World Premiere October 18, 2013 at The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.
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