Oscar Nominee Marianne Farley on her latest film FRIMAS “As a woman, I am particularly interested in protecting women’s rights”

We talk to the talented Oscar Nominated Director Marianne Farley about her timely film FRIMAS. The film shares the story of a women who feels forced to get a back street abortion, well in this case a lorry, in a country where abortion is banned. Sadly. this is something which 1000’s of women in Texas face today. This film is under Oscar consideration and we hope this time Farley takes home the gold!

FRIMAS – OSCAR® Nominee Marianne Farley’s film FRIMAS focusses on a story that is becoming a reality after the Texas abortion ban

When getting an abortion has once again become a criminal offense, Kara is confronted by a grim and brutal reality. Even though obvious dangers are at play, she seeks out the services of an illegal mobile abortion clinic. Once inside the meanders of this morbid clinic, she is faced with devastating repercussions. 

Why did you choose this particular topic to cover in your short film?

As far as I can remember I’ve been passionate about human rights, and, as a woman, I am particularly committed to protecting women’s rights. After MARGUERITE (Farley’s Oscar Nominated Film) which delved on LGBTQ issues, I wanted to address with FRIMAS the threats that women’s right to an abortion were facing worldwide. The new Texas law SB-8 passed September 1st only further validated my intuition on this issue. Women’s rights are definitely in danger and I believe that we, as artists, need to take a powerful stance to defend those rights.

After MARGUERITE which delved on LGBTQ issues, I wanted to address with FRIMAS the threats that women’s right to an abortion were facing worldwide.

What do you expect your audience to feel after watching FRIMAS?

I’m not sure that I have expectations but I definitely hope that the audience will be touched by the deep and longstanding trauma women face in a society where abortion is legally banned. I also hope that at least some of the audience members will be moved to take action by supporting pro-choice groups and/or committing to local and national activism. The very real despair depicted in the movie needs to act as a wake-up call and be harnessed into a powerful movement to successfully thwart the efforts to strip women of their legitimate right to an abortion.

I definitely hope that the audience will be touched by the deep and longstanding trauma women face in a society where abortion is legally banned.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m in the process of completing the post production of my first feature film NORTH OF ALBANY. It should be released early 2022. I am also developing two feature films. LA FAUCHE and À DEMI SOUPIR. Both will be produced through my company Slykid & Skykid. Finally I’m collaborating on a few other projects with independent producers but I can’t divulge any information on those at this time.

How has the audience’s reaction to FRIMAS been so far?

We’ve had a plethora of reactions. Some audience members were shocked by the cruel and painful experience our main character goes through to get an abortion. Others were deeply saddened that in 2021 this futuristic depiction can become a reality in the near future. Finally most audience members felt compassion and empathy for the trauma that our main character had to endure.

What is your personal opinion on abortion laws around the world?

In Canada, women’s rights to abortion seem to be protected at this time. However, there is a faction of the population that embraces conservative ideals and that would gladly strip us of those rights. In the US as witnessed recently in Texas and in other states, legislatures are moving aggressively to repeal Roe vs Wade directly by bringing the issue to the Supreme Court or indirectly by stripping away at the existing laws. In the broader world there is definitely a movement to ban abortions; but, there are also a few examples where the right to an abortion has increased, as witnessed in Ireland and in Mexico only this week.

How was the casting process? How did you decide on the main actor?

The two main characters auditioned for the roles and I was blown away by their performance. Karine had hardly slept the night before; she was shooting a TV series. Her audition was phenomenal, very raw. She was casted first, therefore was able to read for Chantal’s audition. Their chemistry was palpable.

When I run auditions, I look for actors who have the widest range possible of acting skills and emotional reach for the role. I also want to ensure that we have a common understanding of and a shared language for the role and for the project.

Why is Kara getting an abortion in a moving truck full of animal meats?

If our film had illustrated an abortion in an earlier period such as in the 1960’s, I could have depicted clandestine abortion clinics in hotel rooms or homes with entrances in back alleys. Instead, I chose to depict illegal abortions in the near future where technology allows for easy tracking and tracing. Therefore, a moving truck appeared to be the ideal place to avoid such detection.

I chose a refrigerated truck for apparent as well as symbolic reasons. The fact that the truck is refrigerated would possibly deter the authorities from exploring nearer to the back where we positioned the fake wall. The image of pig carcasses could also be a deterrent to detection as well as a symbol for the cruel and disempowering process our main character goes through to get her abortion. Just like the pigs depicted in the images, she has lost all rights to make decisions concerning her body. It is an image that deliberately seeks to shock.

What do you think happens to Kara beyond the film?

At the end of the movie Kara is delivered of an unviable embryo. That was her main goal. However the fact that she had to hide her choice and action from her community, and, more importantly, from her husband, leaves her with deep sadness and guilt, the guilt of having to hide this truth from him. Not only has she encroached on the laws at hand and must be careful to hide her secret, she has also profoundly damaged the intimacy between herself and her husband. The impacts of such an ordeal are not only physical and psychological for the individual, they are also societal. And let’s not forget that she endures this ordeal alone. A solitude full of despair because it is impossible for her to seek out any form of personal support.

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