Sweet Affliction

Awkward and disheartened, 18-year-old Stacey grapples with romantic feelings for her older sister Angela. Based on the short story Gravity by Anna Leventhal from her 2014 collection Sweet Affliction.

Creative team

Writers: Jess Lee, Anna Leventhal
Director: Jess Lee
Producers: Jess Lee, Carol Fernandes, Jonathan Beaulieu-Cyr

Filmmaker’s statement

Growing up as an only child, I’ve been fascinated by the intricacies of sibling relationships, particularly during teen years when life can feel most dramatic and exploratory. The power play and social cues, the hurtful tones and tentative requests, the familial commitment and shared intimacies that ground every high and low.

When I first read Anna Leventhal’s short story Gravity, I immediately connected with the interior world of Stacey; her humour delivered for one, her empty float, her snarky ego. Nursing a desire she knows will never be fulfilled but still keeping it close; her hold on longing is simultaneously intense and apathetic.

I also recognized Angela, a person pushing to break through the limitations of her age but ultimately only able to perform maturity, and at that pretty poorly. These characters build the tension of the film which is muted by the flatness of their sheltered and suburban lives. Henry, a caricature of masculinity, acts as the catalyst between the sisters, forcing them to confront frustrated feelings and opposition within their latent romantic dynamic.

About Jess Lee

Jess Lee

Jess Lee is an emerging filmmaker based in Tio’Tia: Ke (Montreal).

Her experimental shorts, Despite Falling, Surface-Recess-Repeat and The Hurtin’ One have screened internationally and she has directed and edited over a dozen music videos including those for FOXTROTT, Elle Barbara and Heathers.

Her debut narrative short, Sweet Affliction, premiered at IMAGE + NATION LGBTQueer Film Festival and was awarded the Prix du Public. It has since been screened in film festivals worldwide including those in London, Berlin, Mexico City, Mumbai, Kiev, Chicago and Houston.

She is currently developing a variety of projects, including a television series in collaboration with award-winning actor/playwright Katherine Cullen and an upcoming music video for L.A. Foster.

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