Audrey Benac lives in Paris, tending to the home of her recently deceased friend. Moving through the days without clear motivation, she tries to re-establish her footing in the world by beginning video correspondences with two filmmakers, Burak, and Blake. This exchange initiates a healing process, but the nature of the interaction is not what it seems.
TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X5
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Its name evoking Robert Bresson’s prison-break masterpiece A Man Escaped (1959), A Woman Escapes is a collaborative feature lovingly patched together from video letters exchanged over the span of successive lockdowns during the pandemic between filmmakers Sofia Bohdanowicz, Burak Çevik, and Blake Williams.
The result of this correspondence is a melodic call and response, where 16mm, 3D, and 4K footage mingle to present a month-long, springtime narrative that documents wavering states of grief as individually experienced by three characters, Audrey, Burak, and Blake. Mourning the loss of a dear friend, Audrey is in Paris corresponding with Burak—who is recovering from a breakup in Istanbul—and Blake, who is longing for connection in Toronto. The sequences sit snugly together, the multiple formats suggesting that grief is an ongoing process, one that is akin to the filmographic processes of capturing, editing, and sharing.
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Blake Williams was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and currently lives and works in Toronto. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Art at Tufts University’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, studying there under filmmaker Louise Bourque, sculptor Mags Harries, and video artists Mary Ellen Strom and Les LeVeque. Blake’s films have been screened at Wavelengths (Toronto International Film Festival), Pacific Film Archive, and the Festival de Cannes’ Short Film Corner.
Burak Çevik founded Fol Cinema Society and curated experimental and arthouse film screenings. He was a lecturer on non-fiction between 2018 and 2020 at Istanbul Bilgi University. His films The Pillar of Salt (2018), Belonging (2019), and Forms of Forgetting (2023) premiered at Berlinale Forum. His video works have been screened at festivals such as the Locarno Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, FID Marseille, and the New York Film Festival.
Sofia Bohdanowicz is an award-winning filmmaker from Toronto. She is the founder of the production company Maison du Bonheur. She has had focuses of her work presented at BAFICI, Punto de Vista, Cinemateca de Bogotà, DocLisboa, and Festival du nouveau cinéma. In 2017, the Toronto Film Critics Association awarded her the Jay Scott Prize, and in 2018 she was nominated for the Rogers Prize for Best Canadian Film for her documentary Maison du bonheur.