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Q&A: 'Concussion' Director Stacie Passon Talks Marriage Equality and the Future of Gay Cinema

Concussion

Stacie Passon's debut feature Concussion made a big impression at this year's Sundance Film Festival and was snapped up by the Weinstein Company's RADiUS label after just one screening.  In the film, Robin Weigert (who you may know for her Emmy-nominated turn as Calamity Jane in HBO's Deadwood) plays Abby, a disillusioned housewife who embarks on a double life in the city as a high-end escort.  I spoke with Passon on the phone as her producer Rose Troche -- of The L Word -- drove her to Williamsburg after a day of interviews in Manhattan.  Concussion opens in New York and Los Angeles this Friday.

JC: I wanted to hear in your words how you came to this story and how the project started.  What was the genesis for you?

Stacie Passon Headshot 300DPISP: I just wanted to make a little film in the backyard with my friends.  When I showed the script to Rose, she felt that it sort of deserved a little something bigger, so we quickly ramped up the production.  Robin [Weigert, who plays Abby, the film's main character] was the first reel that I was just totally blown away with.  That was really the genesis of the project: getting Robin and Rose on really took it to a different level.

JC: You didn't think this would be a film that would go into theaters?

SP: Oh no.  I live in Montclair, New Jersey and I have a lot of friends who are techies; all we talk about are new digital platforms.  I just wanted to make a film that I could monetize--being with a film collaborative was my highest thought.  Or maybe I could put it on Vimeo and charge for it.

I knew that the lesbian audience was an underserved audience.  I didn't set out to write a lesbian themed movie; it just sort of came in.  My intention for it was, let's put on a show.  And it was born out of a need to do something creative after a career of serving clients.

JC: Right.  You were a commercial director?

SP: Yeah.

JC: As for the story itself--the script and the writing process--is it based on your own experiences?  Where did the idea come from?

CONTINUED, AFTER THE JUMP...

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