Empathy

83min/USA/2016 This documentary film follows a heroin-addicted professional escort as she moves between New York City, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles. Combining frank images of the actual labor of sex work with intimate portraits of her interpersonal life, the film is an alternately humorous and harrowing look at a seldom depicted side of American life as well as a meditation on the performativity at the core of documentary filmmaking and the sex industry alike. Shot on a mixture of 16mm and HD digital video in luxuriant long takes, its disciplined style foregrounds the sensual texture of the everyday while playing with the conventions of narrative cinema, focussing on the profound interrelation of performance and identity within the socioeconomic fabric of the U.S. Written in close collaboration with its subject/star, Empathy marks the feature-length directorial debut for Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli, editor/producer of Bx46 (FID Marseille 2014).

FIDMarseille 2016, International Competition

Recorded + Mixed + Sound Design + Composition