A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, Sharka, a scrappy expressionistic painter, finds respite from the isolation of her small apartment on a park bench. When Bridget, a self-possessed lone traveler dragging a suitcase, encroaches and sits down next to her, angry sparks fly until the two find unexpected common ground.
Two strangers cross paths in an NYC park. Sharka, an artist, rides her bike to a local Brooklyn park to attempt to paint and overcome the artistic block that has frustrated her since lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic.
Bridget drags a rolling bag into the park and plants herself on a bench next to Sharka. Little does Bridget realize that her social distancing is not far enough for her cantankerous neighbor. As the women exchange words, tensions amplify. Neither Bridget nor Sharka have been this close to a stranger for the past year. It’s felt like an eternity since either has felt seen or enjoyed simple pleasures. Eventually the two break down and share stories of their aloneness over the past year. Although they’ve both recently received the new vaccine, they’re still afraid to get too close to another person. As they let down their guards, they share their respective longing for another person’s touch.
The two female characters in After the Deluge spoke to me upon my first reading of the script. I was taken by the depth of their emotions, their quick wit, and their unabashed vulnerability. Their brief encounter in a pandemic-altered New York City resonated deeply, and I was struck by the ways in which John Patrick Shanley’s narrative captures a time—wracked by phases of isolation, disconnection, and confusion—that mirrored my own experience of it.
Female-driven stories that reveal messy, imperfect characters who are vulnerable and yet strong are at the center of my cinematic work and vision. I saw these qualities in Sharka and Bridget immediately. Despite their edge, there is a softness. Although they are each quirky and unique, they are also relatable. Like the rest of us, they too are wearily trying to find their way forward in uncertain times. I continue to admire the ways in which Bridget and Sharka each take personal risks to connect with each other, even when there are no guarantees.
Over the course of the pandemic, and still, the natural world is a respite from our personal bubbles—our cramped apartments, our social media feeds, and our diminishing worlds. Even a park in New York City reminds us of the cycles of life and opportunities for growth. With After the Deluge, I want to give folks a glimmer of hope, a reminder that perhaps ‘this is where we begin again.’
Director Tara Young
After the Deluge marks the narrative directorial debut of longtime non-fiction filmmaker Tara Young.
Over the past twenty plus years, NYC-based Tara Young has produced, shot, and edited arts-and-culture programming for numerous unique and diverse organizations. She has created original content for Sundance Channel, the Criterion Collection, Alaska Dispatch News, and Etsy. Nominated for four Northwest Regional Emmys, and winner of the 2014 Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for Feature Reporting, Young’s work has been featured on The Criterion Channel, Sundance TV, the Atlantic, and as “Staff Picks” on Vimeo. She is currently a freelance producer, DP, and editor for the Criterion Collection.
Charlotte Hornsby is a NYC-based cinematographer whose work has garnered attention at festivals such as SXSW, BAM Cinemafest, BFI London Film Festival, and the Sundance Film Festival where the short Lucia Before and After, she shot for director Anu Valia and the short Hair Wolf she shot for director Mariama Diallo won The Short Film Jury Award for U.S. Fiction in 2017 and 2018. She filmed additional photography for DP Ashley Connor on Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline which was nominated for a 2019 Independent Spirit Award for Cinematography. Charlotte’s work has played at MoMA and the Brooklyn Museum, appeared on the Criterion Channel, HBO, Hulu, Pitchfork, Nowness and appeared in New York Magazine and The New Yorker. The ASC featured her most recent film, Master, as a visual standout of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The thriller, which stars Regina Hall, is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Trae Harris is a Los Angeles-based actress. Born and raised in Baltimore, and bred in Brooklyn, Harris is a multidisciplinary artist who incorporates the poetry of movement, the written word, visual aesthetics, and esoteric mysticism to reimagine and explore the healing journeys of queer women of color in the Americas through storytelling. Harris’s professional acting career began as a teenager with a role on HBO’s The Wire. They then starred in the Sundance feature Newlyweeds (2013), And I And Silence (2014) at New York City’s Signature Theater, Netflix series Orange Is the New Black (2014), Didn’t I Ask For Tea? (2015), Ori Inu: In Search of Self (2015), Bodymore (2018), Hair Wolf (2019) winner of US Fiction Awards for shorts at Sundance, The Vacation (2022) winner of the Directors Award for shorts at Sundance 2023, as well as various web series.
Grace Rex is a New York City-based actress. Her credits include recurring roles on television in Severance (Apple TV+), The Good Wife (CBS), and Dispatches from Elsewhere (AMC). Her film credits include The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Dir. Ben Stiller), The Dilemma (Dir. Ron Howard), Contagion (Dir. Steven Soderbergh) and indie gems like Inspector Ike (Dir. Graham Mason) and Women Who Kill (Dir. Ingrid Jungermann). On stage, she has appeared in new plays at Lincoln Center and Second Stage (Uptown) and has performed regionally at Steppenwolf Theatre and The Denver Center.
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