John Merriman, Macon Blair and Courtney Davis as seen in YOU HURT MY FEELINGS, a film by Steve Collins. Picture courtesy Filmscience. All rights reserved.
- Lilian Collins
- Violet Collins
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You Hurt My Feelings (2010/2012)
Opened: 05/04/2012 Limited
|World Premiere||06/17/2011 - 06/17/2011||1 day|
|reRun Theater||05/04/2012 - 05/10/2012||7 days|
Trailer: Click for trailer
A melancholy ex-boyfriend becomes a nanny to prove to his girlfriend that he's ready to have children.
Children and nature shine in this melancholy love story about Johnny, a male nanny who tries to win back his girlfriend after she takes up with a man who looks just like him. The film tracks the growth of the relationship over four seasons in New England, as Johnny's emotional problems sabotage his attempts to put together a family like the one he takes care of. A drama with the humor of spring and the sorrow of winter, YOU HURT MY FEELINGS speaks with the honesty of a child about people struggling to let go of darkness and find love.
The emotional intelligence of adults, myself included, has always underwhelmed me. Why are so many of us unhappy and held hostage by our emotional problems? How do we change? YOU HURT MY FEELINGS is a love story about how three characters deal with their damage and regenerate a relationship.
The film has little dialogue and keeps a tight hand on the amount of information you receive. My hope was to draw the audience a kind of personality mystery. The challenge was to present damaged, communication-challenged people but give the viewer enough clues of hope and joy that they would want to sniff out the answer. As the film progresses, the audience observes gesture, action and reaction and learns how to understand these characters. There's a philosophy of life in the construction of the film: together, through compassionate listening and observing, we are released from our loneliness.
The people who make sense in YOU HURT MY FEELINGS are children. A three-year-old can't lie, can't deceive themselves or others -- all they know is "I'm sad," "I'm happy," "You hurt my feelings." And for the rest of our emotional life you don't really need to know more, but we convince ourselves otherwise. The film's melancholy is constantly challenged by the honesty and beauty of children and nature. We try to get the characters and the audience to patch into that beauty for themselves so they can learn to quiet their racing fears and say the things we keep inside.
-- Steve Collins
YOU HURT MY FEELINGS started as one in a series of shorts I undertook with my friend and producer Jonathan Silberberg. It was a way of getting some forward movement on our work and not being as precious about what our next "big" project would be. We invited two of my favorite actors (John Merriman and Courtney Davis) to stay up in Connecticut with us, and we shot four shorts over two weeks in January of 2009. One of the shorts, about a tumultuous day in the life of a troubled male nanny, had more mystery and spark than the others and that became the first 15 minutes of YOU HURT MY FEELINGS.
I showed the shorts to Anish Savjani at filmscience who had produced my last feature, GRETCHEN, and told him I had an outline for the rest of the male nanny movie. In a blissfully short development phase Anish greenlit us and we started shooting two months later.
The film was built around shooting with children. I knew I couldn't stuff a two-year-old into a composed frame or tell a toddler to do another take because it wasn't good for camera, so the whole aesthetic, size and intimacy of the production was built around being flexible to the temperament of a child. My discovery was that the emotional balance of a two-year-old and a grown-up aren't as different as you'd think. A grown-up will try to do 100 takes, but only the first one will be any good. A kid will do one take, take a shit in their diaper and go on strike. Either way, you get the same one good take.
I was living in New England, so I tried to take advantage of what I had around me, namely, the natural world in all four of its seasons. This involved spreading the shoot out over a year, and since most people had other jobs anyway, this actually made things easier. We were always a little off in our timing -- shooting swimming when it was freezing, shooting snow scenes when the snow was melting. This seemed fitting to the rest of the film -- we were tied to the temperament of Mother Nature, constantly forced to bend our filmmaking to fit the reality of the situation.
Shooting small gave me a lot of courage and I did some things I might have been afraid to do on a bigger scale. I used a lot of non-actors, including my wife, children and John Merriman's (who played "Johnny") own parents. With a crew of four, I figured if it didn't work, we'd just get lunch and try someone else. But it all did work, and I don't think it could have worked any other way. Once we started making that fresh, real film about out of control toddlers and grown-ups, no other kind of performances would match.
YOU HURT MY FEELINGS was a film made after the bubble broke in the independent market. At the time when I was trying to sell my last film, I cursed that bubble. "Damn you, Bubble!" I see now it had hidden benefits; it made my filmmaking even leaner and brought me closer to people -- my cast, my crew, my family. I removed the separation between my work and my life. I've heard you're not supposed to do that, but when you don't have a budget, you better have feelings.
John Merriman (Johnny)
John Merriman has extensive film experience in front of and behind the camera. He starred in the dark comedy GRETCHEN, which won Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2006; he co-wrote, co-directed and starred in the indie satire MY NAME IS BUTTONS; and played the lead in PERILS IN NUDE MODELING, which was nominated for a Student Oscar and won the top prize at HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. This past year, he acted in the feature films THE MAN FROM ORLANDO, A SPLICE OF LIFE, ORBIT(film), and PICTURES OF SUPERHEROES, which are all in post-production. He recently filmed a scene for SLACKER 2011 a feature length remake of Richard Linklater's seminal film that will celebrate the film's 20th anniversary and raise money for Texas filmmakers. He and Kerri Lendo wrote, directed, and starred in the short film SLEEP STUDY, which won the Audience Award at the 2010 Austin Film Festival. He lives in Austin, Texas.
Courtney Davis (Courtney)
Courtney Davis has flipped pizzas, spun records at a radio station, quit a Ph.D. program, and even played Barbie at Toys "R" Us. But what she really likes to do is write, act in and direct funny movies. Courtney got her M.F.A. in Film Production at the University of Texas at Austin, where she wrote and directed a whole bunch of funny shorts, including MILTON IS A SHITBAG, an award-winning animated comedy about her racist cat. She also co-wrote and directed the zero-budget comedy feature MY NAME IS BUTTONS and starred in the indie feature GRETCHEN, which won Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2006. Currently, Courtney writes sketch comedy and makes funny videos for the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles.
Macon Blair (Macon)
Macon Blair is a member of the Lab of Madness film production collective in New York, having co-starred in their first feature, MURDER PARTY, and written their in-development second, SUMMER VILLAINS. He has also appeared in Steve Collins' previous film, GRETCHEN, and will be seen in J.T. Petty's upcoming HELLBENDERS 3-D. He is the author of the recent graphic novel Hellcity, various comic book shorts for Marvel, Dark Horse and Image, and several screenplays. And one time he played a creep on LAW & ORDER: SVU.
Steve Collins (Director/Writer/Editor)
Steve Collins wrote and directed the feature film GRETCHEN, which won Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2006. GRETCHEN was picked up for distribution by the Sundance Channel and Watchmaker Films. It was an expansion of his short film, GRETCHEN AND THE NIGHT DANGER, which won the shorts competition at SXSW in 2005. He studied film at Wesleyan University and received an MFA in film production from UT-Austin. While in grad school, he directed the short film LONELYLAND, which was also purchased by the Sundance Channel. Collins has taught filmmaking at UT-Austin, a therapeutic boarding school and Wesleyan University, where he presently heads the film production division. Collins lives with his wife and two daughters in Connecticut.
Anish Savjani (Producer)
With filmscience, Anish Savjani has produced eleven feature films: Kelly Reichardt's MEEK'S CUTOFF, WENDY AND LUCY and OLD JOY; Joe Swanberg's ALEXANDER THE LAST, NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS and HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS; Steve Collins' YOU HURT MY FEELINGS and GRETCHEN; Geoff Marslett's MARS; Bob Byington's HARMONY AND ME; and Spencer Parsons' I'LL COME RUNNING. These films have been nominated by Film Independent for three Spirit Awards, and they've screened at film festivals around the world, including Cannes, Sundance, Toronto and Venice. Additionally, Anish was the recipient of the Producers Award at the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards. filmscience currently has a number of projects by emerging and established independent filmmakers in production and development, including a new documentary from Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher.
Jonathan Silberberg (Producer)
Jonathan Silberberg is an independent film and television producer living in New York City. His interest in film and television began with his first job out of college at Maysles Films, where he worked for two years. He's gone on to produce and direct non-fiction television and documentary projects for HBO, The Sundance Channel, Discovery, A&E, Radical Media and others. He is currently producing a follow-up to the Peabody and Emmy award-winning documentary PARADISE LOST: THE CHILD MURDERS AT ROBIN HOOD HILLS for HBO. He is also passionate about producing independent fiction films and is proud to be a producer on Steve Collins' beautiful second feature YOU HURT MY FEELINGS.