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Tin House Reels: Suzanne Coote
Today we are screening Suzanne Coote’s short film Welcome Home, Lee, the story of a mother and daughter trying to find common ground in a shared apartment. One of the things I love about this film is that it plays with audience expectations. Case in point: The turn at the traditional spot of the “volta”: eight stanzas (or minutes) into the 13-minute reel, when the mother, Rebecca (Kathryn Beckwith), tries to better know or control her daughter by turning her world into art. This causes the daughter, Lee (Rachel Karp), to break what feels like a long-standing codependence with adult confidence.
But the story’s not as clear as that. Short films are an exciting medium, Suzanne Coote explained in a recent discussion of her work, because in the very short time provided, the film “will most likely be ambiguous and the audience can…work [endings] out the way they would like to depending on how they felt about the characters and how they connected with them.” Welcome Home, Lee sustains tension in what’s unsaid—and also in its beautiful colors scheme: the pale pink and tangerines of the mother’s sweaty skin and kimono convey her troubled heart.
“Short films are a challenge,” Suzanne says, “but it is this challenge that makes them so appealing and makes them perfect steps to full length feature filmmaking.”
Suzanne Coote recently graduated from Eugene Lang Liberal Arts College at The New School, where she double majored in Screen Studies and Music. She considers herself equal parts jazz singer and director:“My goals have always been to be a ‘singing director.’ That sounds kind of silly now, but I never wanted to sing more than I wanted to direct and write, or vice versa. I’ve always wanted to do both.”
Tin House Reels is a weekly feature on The Open Bar dedicated to the craft of short filmmaking. Curated by Ilana Simons, the series features videos by artists who are building new bridges between visual art, music, and text. Our aim is to showcase work that focuses on the exciting relationship that can exist between literature and film.
We are now accepting submissions for Tin House Reels. Please upload your previously unpublished videos of 15 minutes or less to Youtube or Vimeo and send a link of your work to email@example.com.