Director BIO: Anwei Luo, Elizabeth Rakhilkina (POLLY)

Anwei Luo is a Chinese-American filmmaker currently working as a producer in Los Angeles. Raised in China’s old capital Nanjing, transplanted into suburban Atlanta, and then educated in New York City, Anwei’s filmmaking is influenced by her experience as a perpetual foreigner, her obsession with film editing, and her love for postmodern literature.

Rooted in Provincial Russian queer counterculture, Elizabeth Rakhilkina’s creative voice is marked by her eclectic immigrant experience, exploration of gender non-conformity, and photography by Nan Goldin.

Director Statement

We’d like to introduce you to our film Polly because we believe that some stories women choose not to tell need to be heard nonetheless.

Set in Duluth, Georgia, a working-class suburb on the outskirt of Atlanta, Polly foregrounds the part of America where the progress of liberalism has not caught up with the rate of gentrification and social connectivity is often lost between malls, shops, and fast-food chains. Against this backdrop, we want to focus on a young woman whose private battle is to come to terms with her loss so she may feel connected with the world once more. By anchoring the audience in Erin’s perspective, we hope they feel and appreciate her grace and bravery even though she chooses not to come forward.

In the United States alone, 63% of sexual assaults are ever reported; Only 1% of reported assaults result in a conviction, yet 20% of American women, a real silent majority, admit to having experienced rape in their lifetime. This means, as vocal as our advocates sound, many who choose to omit their stories have been silently carrying on. By reflecting the perspective of a heroine who doesn’t confront sexual assault heads-on, our film hopes to explore how omission, the easiest way for women hoping to regain normalcy, is in itself a nonviolent trauma.

We conceived the story of Polly when both of us were students at New York University, and we nursed the idea into our professional careers, saving and planning to execute in a way that will do honor to its subject matter. We’re proud to say that Polly was ethically financed, developed, and produced by a diverse group of minds who believe in the film, its sensitivity, and its compassion. We hope you could help us connect the story with a wider audience.

Anwei Luo
Elizabeth Rakhilkina

Author: chicagofilmfestival

Submit your Short Film and get it showcased at the FEEDBACK Film Festival in Chicago. 1 event in 2019. 12 events in 2020. Festival takes place at LOGAN Theatre in downtown Chicago on the 3rd Friday of every single month.

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