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Redemption Trail is a meditation on the possibility of recovery from trauma. Where do those who have survived deep personal loss, devastating political oppression, or who have committed irrevocable, ruinous mistakes find the will to go on? What is required of us to reinvent our world, to integrate into our future a past we both do not want to remember, and do not want to forget? Initially inspired by a newspaper article I read about a man whose momentary inattention while working at home led to the drowning of his 5-year-old child, the screenplay evolved from a tale about self-forgiveness to one in which the idea of recovery and redemption dominated as central themes. The characters of Anna and Tess reflect my longstanding commitment to write strong, deeply internal, but by no means idealized, women characters whose very imperfections connect us to their subjectivity. Tess, in particular, with her deep emotional and political scars  -- and her colossal dignity --  seeks a freedom that is perhaps ineluctably compromised by both her sex and her history.

The storyline of Redemption Trail unfolds from an apparently simple, quiet drama of familial loss to an unpredictable, passionate saga of retribution and rebirth. Inspired by such disparate influences as John Ford’s The Searchers, Rossellini’s films with Ingrid Bergman, feminism, and Blaxploitation pics, my re-working of genre in Redemption Trail seeks to bring these classic forms into startling, modern, context. In my effort to re-examine traditional tropes -- the divide between East and West, the individual’s quest for liberty, the shifting tide of race and class that drives U.S. history, and the American mythology of gun-violence -- I have set them into a purposefully untraditional constellation that holds both the emotional gravity that befits a study of grief, and the affectionate lightness of a woman director’s riff on the Spaghetti Western. 

Orton - "Gnossieme"

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