My Art: Laurie Bloom’s Indie about Late Blooming Artistic Urge

My Art, a new film by Laurie Simmons, was an official selection of the Venice Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival and others. 

This is Simmons’ first feature film, which she wrote, directed and stars in, alongside her daughter Lena Dunham and other indie actors including Parker Posey, Robert Clohessy, Robert Clohessy John Rothman, Josh Safdie, Blair Brown and Barbara Sukowa. 

My Art centers the odd and unexpected journey of Ellie Shine, who is offered the summer home of a famous friend, and an opportunity to reinvent herself in pursuit of her decades-old dream of art-world recognition.

My Art examines the creative impulse that drives Ellie to use everything and everyone around her to establish herself as artists. Simmons stars as Ellie, a single artist living in New York, frustrated with lack of recognition. Simmons/Ellie reenacts the characters and references a range of classic cinema, including scenes from Morocco, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Picnic, The Misfits, Jules and Jim, A Streetcar Named Desire, A Clockwork Orange and Some Like It Hot.

“I started writing My Art shortly being cast as the artist-mother in Tiny Furniture, a film by Lena Dunham,” notes Simmons. “I became preoccupied with the depiction of artists, particularly women artists. Almost invariably, they are mythologized, romanticized, and made to seem tragic and crazy, which has no bearing on my own experience. I wanted to create a character who was fearless about focusing her artistic voice and embracing a new medium.”

Ellie finds inspiration in two out-of-work actors who maintain the gardens at her summer retreat: Frank (Robert Clohessy), a recent widower trying to reassemble his life by turning his back on a mediocre acting career, and Tom (Josh Safdie), a young, hungry actor whose wife (Parker Posey) has a less ambitious vision for their idyllic country life.

Joining them is John (John Rothman), a thrice-divorced, disillusioned lawyer looking for a summer distraction. This unlikely trio helps Ellie reinvent her artistic identity by participating in her DIY art videos—recreations of old Hollywood films. They accompany Ellie on odd and unexpected journey toward finding her artistic momentum.

Film Movement will distribute the film in N.Y. and L.A. in January, followed by platform release.