BY WINSTON HECKT, CONTRIBUTING WRITER
Award-winning, locally produced film “Blood Stripe,” directed by actor Remy Auberjonois, premiered in Minneapolis with stellar critical reviews. Trying his hand at directing for the first time, Auberjonois presents an intimate and unflinching look at a combat veteran trying to cope with her PTSD.
Script cowriter Kate Nowlin stared as Our Sergeant, who returns home from a third tour with the Marines. Once home, her mental and physical wounds result in paranoia, insomnia and alcoholism culminating in a violent episode at a welcome home party. The VA has a waiting list backed up more than 100 days, so, in an attempt to find peace, she goes back to a camp in the North Woods where she spent time as a young girl. But the horror of war cannot be escaped, and even the most tranquil of places becomes dangerous.
The film screened at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum and is currently playing at St. Anthony Main theater as part of the Film Society of Minneapolis-St. Paul’s weekly programming. Among a host of quality actors, Nowlin’s performance as Our Sergeant is what sells the film and makes it a resonant take on such an often ignored problem in the U.S.
Auberjonois and Nowlin present an occasionally ambiguous plot. Tense and sometimes disjointed editing presents the audience with the events as Nowlin’s character experiences them while also maintaining an omniscient camera presence through time lapses, long dissolve transitions and sweeping drone footage to name a few of the expertly handled techniques the film uses.
Blood Stripe was filmed almost entirely on location in Minnesota and was produced by two small independent production companies: Wakemup Productions which is run by the duo of husband and wife Auberjonois and Nowlin, and Tandem Pictures which has staff that have worked on the Netflix Original Series “The Get Down” as well as a number of commercial projects.
Interestingly enough, actor Chris Sullivan, who plays Our Sergeant’s husband Rusty in the film, also had a small part in Netflix’s “Stranger Things” as restaurant owner Benny Hammond. Nowlin has been in a number of theater productions across the U.S. including the Guthrie Theater, Dallas Theater Center, the Huntington Yale Rep and the Shakespeare Theater in Washington, D.C., where she was nominated for a Helen Hayes award. She has also held recurring roles on several cable and network television shows, most recently in the show “Outsiders.” Auberjonois has worked as a private acting coach, appeared on Broadway and holds over 40 credited television roles.
This article first appeared in the Friday, September 29, 2017, Edition of The Echo.