WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Jenna D'Angelo, Chris Henry Coffey and Kelly Walters
It's an interesting experience to watch Chris Shimojima's Madeleine Zabel directly after having just experienced my most in-depth, revealing and honest interviews during my time as a film writer. The film, about a rather infamous socialite named Maddy Z (Jenna D'Angelo) and her interview with freelance reporter Elliott Snow (Chris Henry Coffey), beautifully and vividly captures the incredibly mad world of celeb publicity, media seeking, media avoiding and the lengths both celebs and media will go to in order to spin a story to attract the most attention.
Maddy Z is a 22-year-old super celeb, a young woman whose every move is monitored by the paparazzi. When a sex tape starring Maddy with her sister's ex is "leaked," Maddy and her publicist (Kelly Walters) go on the offensive to spin the story and put Maddy back in a positive light. It ain't going to be easy, courtesy of a freelance reporter with his own agenda and his own rather disheveled personal life.
In less than 17 minutes, Shimojima paints a powerful picture that both repulses and invites the viewer into the lives of these two central characters. They are both immensely flawed human beings doing what they must for a public that demands it. Jenna D'Angelo is absolutely mesmerizing as the young socialite, managing to infuse an almost Paris Hilton like young woman with a tremendous rawness and authenticity that is compelling and impossible to ignore. Likewise, Chris Henry Coffey excels as the chaotic, stressed out journalist with an agenda and only 10 minutes to get the information he's determined to get. The way it all unfolds is compelling drama that is both realistic and unforgettable.
D.P. Cory Dross lenses the film to perfection, capturing both the lunacy of Maddy's world with an almost barren quality that lends itself to the way the story ultimately plays out. Thomas Vanoosting's original music is understated as it gently plays companion to the rising intensity between these two imperfect people. Mike Frank's sound design is top notch, capturing both the crisp busyness of the celeb life and filling the air with tension as little noises begin to take on greater significance as the tension between Maddy and Elliott intensifies.
Shimojima's dialogue is superb, weaving together the world where celeb sound bytes are sacred with a world where genuineness and authenticity are often forsaken in the name of tabloid headlines and a few more Google points.
For more information on Madeleine Zabel, visit the film's website.