User:Action grrl/workshop/The Gymnast
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|Directed by||Ned Farr|
|Produced by||Dreya Weber|
|Written by||Ned Farr|
John Lee Ames
Dave De Simone
|Music by||Craig Richey|
|Edited by||Ned Farr|
|Distributed by||Wolfe Video|
The Gymnast is a 2006 drama film starring Dreya Weber, Addie Yungmee, John Lee Ames, Andrew Ableson, and Dave De Simone. The Gymnast is directed by Ned Farr, who also wrote the screenplay. The film was originally named Porting; however, Farr renamed it The Gymnast just before release.
The Gymnast is about a former gymnast named Jane (Dreya Weber), who works as a massage therapist in Los Angeles. Jane was a world class gymnast with past Olympic dreams, which were dashed when she was injured during a balance beam competition year ago, which news coverage and experience continues to haunt her into her 40's. Jane is in an unhappy marriage with David (David De Simone), a husband who is more interested in his own life and internal demons than his wife. While working, Jane runs into Denise (Allison Mackie), an old gymnastics teammate, who is now wealthy after the death of her husband. Denise encourages Jane to find herself again.
Jane meets a gymnastics trainer named Nicole (Mam Smith), who is teaching an Asian dancer Serena (Addie Yungmee), how to perform aerial fabric acrobatics. With Nicole's encouragement, Jane joins Serena in the training. Dialogue between Jane and Serena is minimal, with body language, gestures and expressions used as non-verbal communication to share the building connection between Jane and Serena.
Jane's greatest desire is to conceive a child with David, and soon she must reconcile those yearnings with her growing feelings for Serena.
- Dreya Weber as Jane Hawkins
- Addie Yungmee as Serena
- John Lee Ames as Q
- Andrew Ableson as Julian
- David De Simone as David
- Ronald Drewes as Holt
- Paul A. Hicks as Jim
- Tony Horton as Chad
- Amy Lemons as Sandy
- Allison Mackie as Denise
- Kathe E. Mazur as Dr. Weiland
- Maggie Mellin as Mrs. Goldberg
The Gymnast won 28 festival awards, including:
- Outfest – Won, Audience Award – HBO Outstanding First Narrative Feature, 2006.
- Outfest – Won, Grand Jury Award – Outstanding American Narrative Feature, 2006.
- New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival – Won, Best Feature, 2006.
- Philadelphia International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival – Won, Audience Award – First Feature (Ned Farr), 2006.
- San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival – Won, Audience Award – Best Feature, 2006.
- Santa Fe Film Festival – Won, Audience Award, 2006.
- Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival – Honorable Mention, Best New Director (Ned Farr), 2006.
- Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – Won, Audience Award – Best Actress (Dreya Weber), 2006.
- Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival – Won, Audience Award – Best Screenplay (Ned Farr), 2006.
- St. Louis International Film Festival – Won, LGBT Award, 2007.
- Cleveland International Film Festival – Won, Best American Independent Feature Film, 2007.
- Dallas OUT TAKES – Won, Audience Award – Audience Choice, 2007.
- Dallas OUT TAKES – Won, Best Actress (Dreya Weber), 2007.
- Durango Film Festival – Won, Kodak Shot on Film Award, 2007.
- Fort Worth Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival – Won, Q Award – Best Overall Feature, 2007.
- Mount Shasta International Film Festival – Won, Jury Award – Best Feature, 2007.
The film received attention from reviwers.
Leonard Maltin selected The Gymnast as as one of his "hidden gems" and featured it on his last show, stating "How refreshing to discover a film about a mature woman at a crossroads in her life. The Gymnast is fresh and vibrant, acted with conviction by a talented ensemble."
Ronnie Scheib of Variety magazine wrote "The Gymnast delivers emotional intensity in tastefully spectacular wrappings... the entire film unfolds in the space between physicality and sexuality. The acting is fine throughout, Weber in particular proving a master of the speaking glance. Writer/director Farr, adept at keeping dialogue to the point and at a minimum, allows thesps' expressive gestures and body language to tell the tale. Pic's epilogue, tucked in and interspersed among the closing credits, erupts in an epiphany of non-verbal communication."
Leonard Maran of the San Francisco Observer wrote "A former gymnastic champion (played by Dreya Weber), in a deadening marriage and in her early forties, is thrown together with a dancer (Addie Yungmee), to create an aerial act to take to Vegas. A good deal of the action is (quite literally) up in the air and this vertiginous, voluptuous love story is the kind of film that really stays with you. Weber is a knockout and there isnt a false move; don't miss the end credits which include grace notes in the final scenes."
Jason A. Heidemann of Time Out Chicago wrote "The Gymnast reveals a number of universal themes, including transformation, loss, ageism, adultery and betrayal. All of this without so much as a hint of Lifetime-network sentimentality...these themes unravel both figuratively and metaphorically as Jane and Serena navigate the beautiful silks they employ as part of their act. So stunning are the visual cues in The Gymnast that language plays a secondary role. We read the loss on Jane's face as she deals with her domestic life, we feel the temporary sensuality and strenuous physicality as we watch her navigate the competitive world of gymnastics at midlife, and we sense the sexual tension between the two women as they rehearse and perform their act in silence, alone and high above the rest of the world."
Bill Thompson of The Post and Courier wrote "A polished, absorbing piece of work. Uncommonly sensual, and economically told, it's the kind of film in which a glance, a touch or a gesture communicates with an eloquence and potency words struggle to match...flecked with grace notes and strong characterization, The Gymnast delivers emotional intensity without overplaying its hand. One also must commend Weber's evocative choreography, and the finely framed photography that helps make the aerial sequences so lyrical. The overall look of the film is at once spare and sumptuous. Kudos to Farr and cinematographer Marco Fargnoli."
Danielle Riendeau of After Ellen.com wrote "The Gymnast, a new film written and directed by Ned Farr, is a drama with a rare kind of beauty and power. Seldom before has a movie about middle age and sexual confusion brought with it such a tangible sense of longing and realism without losing its sense of humor... As an examination of sexual awakening and the complications that arise, The Gymnast is unmatched."
The Gymnast was released on 15 January 2006 in the United States. The film was released on DVD by Wolfe Video, on 18 September 2007 in the United States.
- "Spotlight for Women: The Gymnast" (html). Miami Gay and Lesbian Festival. 2007-04-28. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
- "Leonard Maltin Review of The Gymnast" (video). Reelz Channel. 2007. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
- Brooks, Brian (2006-07-18). "Gymnast Flies to Two Outfest Prizes" (html). indieWIRE. Retrieved 2009-12-24.
- "Ronnie Scheib Review of The Gymnast" (html). Variety (magazine). 2006-06-21. Retrieved 2009-12-24.