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KRISHA: The Next First Friday Art Film is an Indie Film Sensation

From the opening shot of Krisha, this month’s First Friday Art Film offering from the Vashon Film Society, the viewer gets the feeling of being dragged by a locomotive that’s about to go off the tracks. Krisha arrives at her sister’s home for Thanksgiving with part of her dress caught in the car door. The camera follows her as she makes her way to the front porch with reckless determination, where she nervously prepares to see the family she abandoned years earlier. Stilted hugs and wary welcomes greet her, leaving one with a sense that Krisha is the black sheep of this family, and yet here she is, home for the holidays and hoping for an opportunity to mend fences.

The film won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at the 2015 South-by-Southwest Film Festival and was an official selection of Critics Week at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Krisha won the John Cassavetes Award at this year’s Independent Spirit Awards and its theatrical release in March has led to rave reviews from the New York Times, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Variety, the Washington Post and dozens of other publications.

Krisha marks the stunning directorial debut of 27-year-old Trey Edward Shults, who shot the film in nine days in his parents’ Texas home. He cast friends and family in key roles, including the role of Krisha herself, played by Shults’ aunt, Krisha Fairchild, a former Seattle voice actor who had ostensibly retired to a quiet life in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Now, after receiving universal accolades for her performance, Fairchild has a new manager and is leaving the door open to renewing her acting career, with careful attention paid to the types of roles she might be offered.
“I’m old!” Fairchild told Rolling Stone. “I have maybe ten years at best left to act. So I’m saying ‘bring it.’ If you have a character that’s multi-dimensional, that speaks well for women who look real, just bring it.”

The film is a tale of addiction, love, family and forgivenesss, with deep personal meaning for each family member in the cast. Fairchild’s niece (and Shults’ cousin), Nica, relapsed and passed away shortly after a similar holiday incident several years ago.

“I didn’t want to look at or talk to her,” confessed Shults. “It felt like a slow-motion train wreck.”
Marked by complex tonal shifts (the film moves from dark humor to deep pathos to almost horror movie-like intensity), Shults displays a mastery of camerawork that belies his age. Many have compared his virtuosity to Terrence Malick, with whom Shults worked on multiple projects.

After the 9:30pm First Friday screening at the Vashon Theatre on May 6th, Vashon Film Society hopes to connect with Krisha Fairchild from her home in Mexico for a brief Q and A session. Admission to the show is $7.