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Interview: Stephanie Ellis (Mona Fastvold’s The Sleepwalker)

The fine line of a repressed memory can get especially fuzzy when what is factual, what is imagined, what is suggested and what is fable is pushed way back, pad locked and bolted into the psyche. This becomes further complicated when that past experience is a shared one. Mona Fastvold’s The Sleepwalker (Sundance Selects / limited release 11.21) adds severe twists to the stepsisterly bond and suggests that we might unconsciously crave for the unresolved. Relative newcomer Stephanie Ellis plays Christine, a sort of last minute party guest invitee and a “missing” piece of the puzzle whose physical and non-physical presence intangibly puts a wrench in festivities. Arguably the most grounded of the quartet of players yet the one who might be missing the most mental marbles, she is more than just a symbolic shit disturber to her sister’s psyche.

While at Sundance this past January, I had the chance to speak with the young Australian actress about the particularities of her character, how she landed and worked the part with Fastvold (their previous collaboration can be viewed here) and found out about the what she did prior to landing her first major feature film role. Check back tomorrow for our interview with Gitte Witt and Christopher Abbott.

 

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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