GIFFONI50PLUS - 21.31 JULY 2021



Category: Edition 2021

Inspired by true experiences of grief, girlhood, and growing up, Jessie Barr’s directorial debut, SOPHIE JONES, provides a stirring portrait of a sixteen-year-old. Stunned by the untimely death of her mother and struggling with the myriad challenges of teendom, Sophie (played by the director’s cousin Jessica Barr) tries everything she can to feel something again, while holding herself together, in this sensitive, acutely realized, and utterly relatable coming-of-age story.

Original Title Sophie Jones
Category Official Competition
Section Generator +16
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 85'
Production Year 2020
Nationality USA
Directed by Jessie Barr
Screenplay Jessica Barr, Jessie Barr
Director of photography Scott Miller
Editor Naomi Sunrise Filoramo
Costume Design Mary Wuliger
Make up Alyssa Fitchie
Music Nate Heller
Main cast Jessica Barr
Skyler Verity
Claire Manning
Charlie Jackson
Dave Roberts
Produced by Joe Dinnen, Lindsay Guerrero, Jessie Barr, Jessica Barr
Production The Sounding Board (USA)

JessieBarrHSByEmmaMeadeJessie Barr

Jessie Barr is a filmmaker and Sundance Fellow based in Los Angeles. She is a director, writer, actor, and producer with a background in independent film, digital storytelling, and theater. Jessie makes her feature film directorial debut with SOPHIE JONES, which Jessie directed, co-wrote, and produced. SOPHIE JONES had its World Premiere in competition at the Festival du Cinéma Américain de Deauville. The film went on to screen in competition at Mar del Plata, Festival de Cinéma de la Ville de Québec, and played numerous festivals throughout the U.S. before it was acquired by Oscilloscope Laboratories for a 2021 release.
With the support of the Sundance Episodic Lab and the Episodic Makers Lab Jessie is developing her original series with co-writer/co-star Lena Hudson inspired by their award-winning short film TOO LONG AT THE FAIR. Jessie co-wrote, co-directed, produced, and starred in TOO LONG AT THE FAIR, which world premiered at the L.A. International Short Film festival and screened at festivals around the world. Jessie also stars in the critically acclaimed, award-winning original series OM CITY, which she created, co-wrote, and produced with her husband, filmmaker Tom O’Brien. OM CITY won Best Web Series at the New Media Film Festival. In addition to roles in television and film, as an actor Jessie has worked Off-Broadway in theater and musical theater. She can be seen next in the upcoming feature film THE BETA TEST by Sundance and SXSW award-winning filmmaker Jim Cummings. Jessie is a proud member of Film Fatales a nonprofit which advocates for parity in the film industry and supports an inclusive community of hundreds of women and non-binary feature film and television directors nationwide.

Director’s statement
“I was sixteen years old when my father died. For sixteen years I never spoke about him or about the experience of losing him. I couldn’t speak about it because if I did then it would become real. I couldn’t find a way to hold that new reality in my mouth or in my mind. I didn’t want to share the way his hair smelled or what it was like watching him die because if I did I felt I’d lose him again. I had to keep what was left of him for me so I locked the truth away and never shared him or those experiences with anyone, not until I made SOPHIE JONES. When my younger cousin sent me an early draft of a raw script I was moved by her honesty. The story was inspired by her experiences when she was sixteen and grieving her mother’s death. There was a truth I felt vibrating through my entire being. I felt immediately that this was my story too and that I had to tell this story. I had to tell our story. I had to make this a film. When I was sixteen I lost my father to cancer which is the exact same age that my cousin was when she lost her mom to the disease. We began working on the script together that would become SOPHIE JONES and it felt like giving voice to a shared experience and previously unspoken pain. I felt this intense responsibility to be the person I needed when I was younger for Sophie, for my cousin, and for my younger self.”

festival contact
The Sounding Board (USA)