Directed by Dana Brawer (The Red Card) and written by Adriana Leonard and Jenna Michno, Signing Out is a poignant short outlining the heartbreak that comes with falling in and out of love. Boasting an almost exclusively female-led cast and crew, Signing Out succeeds in creating a strong emotional arc in a short amount of time. Viewers connect to their protagonists, “Sarah” (Adriana Leonard) and “Amy” (Jenna Michno), because of this emotional accessibility, the dialog honest in its portrayal of what is means to be in love, and how it feels to lose it.
The film opens with the breakup, and then captures Amy and Sarah’s relationship from beginning to end through memories re-lived in conversations with their therapist. Unbeknownst to them, both women see the same therapist, “Dr. Martin” (Marissa Hampton), and grapple with the same haunts of their past: each other.
Through subtle and delicate storytelling, we learn quite a lot about Amy and Sarah. Some of this is explicitly expressed as memories played out on screen, overlaid with dialog from their therapy sessions. But a lot is also expressed in a more nuanced way, the filmmakers placing the blame on no one, as heartbreak exists on both sides. Signing Out excels in this regard, a small story incredibly authentic in its portrayal of young relationships, instead of glorifying them for the screen.
Although a tool for ease of storytelling, the therapy sessions do not feel overplayed or unnecessary, but instead, lend to the film’s honesty through strong performances by Michno and Leonard. Director and editor Dana Brawer, must be applauded for expertly navigating this balance between the sessions, flashing forward and back to Amy and Sarah’s relationship, while keeping the story linear in the relationship’s arc. Further supported by the subtle, yet impactful score by composers Allie Gonino and Adam Brooks, Signing Out soars far more than it stumbles, a promising debut from Adriana Leonard and Jenna Michno.
Official Selections for Signing Out:
Female Eye Film Festival (2016)
Kansas City Fringe Festival (2016)
Long Beach International Film Festival (2016)
Galactic Colors (2016)
IMAGE+NATION, Montreal LESBIAN GAY BI TRANS Film Festival (2016)
Check out the trailer and learn more about Signing Out here!