photo by Dani Brubaker
JODY JARESS DIRECTOR / WRITER / PRODUCER
TRACES OF MEMORY is Jody's official debut as a Film Director, Screenwriter, and Producer.
Prior to TRACES OF MEMORY, Jody partnered up with Roger Tulces, a Private Investigator, to co-write an Action/Fantasy feature film titled, "Return of the Sacred" presently in pre-production, has ghost written on several other features, and credited as Script Consultant on Ulli Lommel's, "Absolute Evil...Final Exit" starring David Carradine in one of his very last films. Approached to write and/or direct a few other narrative shorts, Jody is presently collaborating on two very different genres: one a tender story, (quite the opposite of the fierceness found in TRACES OF MEMORY) but still focuses on perception, individual reality and truth. And the other a tongue-in-cheek odd-ball comedy.
Jody has garnered several awards and accolades as a stage and film actress. But her most cherished award is having received the prestigious USO Pin, for her years of entertaining our military troops as a dancer and a jazz and blues singer.
Challenge to me is the best motivator and TRACES OF MEMORY was absolutely that… as well as an inspiration from the moment my friend Maray Ayres (General Hospital, Poe, ICarly... ) asked me to direct her and Saratoga Ballantine (Troupers, The Nutty Professor, Frasier... ) in a short film based on a one-act play they had recently performed. The two-character story was intriguing and the roles were an actor’s dream: tragic and meaty.
After securing permission from the playwright, I proceeded to create the original story for film… over, and over again. Unfortunately, every draft became a feature film with flash-backs, a larger cast, and additional locations requiring a much larger budget than the 20 minute or less ULB short that was requested of me. Though it was not my intention to change the story's concept, that's exactly what transpired, and a very surreal psychological drama evolved. My personal interest in the thoughts we keep hidden within our minds, began influencing my writing and TRACES OF MEMORY, the short film came into existence.
There is nothing humorous about this frozen 'moment-in-time' film, except for a couple of unexpected chuckles delivered by my brilliant actors (whom I'm eternally grateful to for their fearless performances and complete trust in me); it ought to be a simple story of guilt and punishment: Truth versus Reality... the heart of the film, but it may be considered: Torment versus Survival.
It would be such a mistake to presume to know another person's reality. We all tell ourselves a story of what we truly believe has happened to, or around us. Unintentionally at times, we end up creating fabricated stories to make our relationship with ourselves and others, more comfortable than the facts found in the truth… whatever that truth may be. For instance, "normal" or what society calls "normal" will be accepted as the appropriate way to live and behave.
But for some, memories of a recent event, or a lifetime of unhealthy recurrences are just too difficult, too degrading, or too devastatingly painful and fearful to accept. So unknowingly, these individuals don't just tweak the truth a bit, they may create a new 'world' that they can live inside of in order to survive thus becoming their 'reality.' But more times than most of us realize, these scenarios have been created through a fractured mind full of disjointed delusions, hallucinations, and demons.
The producers agreed with my suggestion, and we created a private viewing for a few doctors of psychiatry, psychology, including a few life coaches. Most of their responses were bittersweet which alarmingly verified what our film demonstrates. As they shared with us, some Ph.D's stated they had felt as if they'd been standing inside the tormented minds of their (schizophrenic) patients. They all found Traces of Memory quite intriguing, with a few of the doctors requesting to view it again. Which of course we did.
So, it makes me wonder, whose reality becomes the truth? And can we ever be certain of what is truly real?
TRACES OF MEMORY was created as entertainment for those loving psychological-dramas. But it does however, pose a real concern about mental health as ones life continues on... in one way... or another. – Jody Jaress, Director / Writer