"Spring vacation at last! I need a break from the sick. Guess I'm
not cut out to be a saint. Left on the midnight bus for New York City.
The trees had just leafed out. Necked with a strange and beautiful soldier
the whole way. Disgraceful. But just what I needed..."
These are the first words in a diary that Maple, a young poet and psych
nurse, finds as she is cleaning out the attic in her father's house. The
diary, written by her late mother before she married, startles Maple by
its frank exploration of sexuality and lust for life. But when she stumbles
upon a violent secret, Maple's sense of family crumbles. Past and present
collide when her adored brother is arrested for domestic abuse, revealing
how patterns get passed on from generation to generation. Maple cannot
save her brother but she can choose her own destiny.
“Has the feel of a big, uncompromising family novel...” John
“Its a wonderful film...subtle, thoughtful, funny...” National
“As for sheer sex appeal--when George Woodard and Rusty Dewees appear
on screen, they make Brad Pitt just a blow-dry memory.” Herald
“A family drama of unusual quality” Burlington Free
“A potent drama...profoundly touching...one of the year’s
best films...” Stephen Bissette
When filmmaker Nora Jacobson read Vermont author Sybil
Smith's semi-autobiographical novella, she found a rich, evocative
story about the complexity of family relationships. Smith's story is based
on her own deceased mother's diaries and letters. Together, Jacobson and
Smith forged a screenplay from the work. Jane and Bill Stetson, a Vermont-based
fundraising couple, took interest in the project and became Executive
Producers. The budget was raised locally through investors and grants.
A vast grass- roots organization of dedicated local volunteers soon grew
around Jacobson's Off The Grid Productions. Additional support came from
Vermont businesses donating products and services. Shot on Super-16 ,
Jacobson spent close to a year editing the feature length film. Successfully
interweaving the 2 stories--the present photographed in color, the past
in black and white-- she edited them so that each one comments on the
other. Neither stands alone; they are interdependent tales.
My film is based on a real diary that co-writer Sybil Smith found. It
was written by her mother, before she was a mother, when she was a very
young woman. What attracted me to this story was that it addresses the
fascinating question of every child's origin. How do families come to
be? The thought of family dynasties resting on a chance encounter some
distant time in the past makes my mind reel. We are taught that we determine
our own destiny, and yet we have no control over the past events that
brought us to life, that shaped our personality. For better or worse we
are stuck with our families. And those family ties are some of the strongest
we will every have. I wanted to make a film that illustrates the complexity
of family dynamics and the inexplicable link between love and violence.
I wanted to look honestly and realistically at the human journey, showing
its path of humor, sorrow, anger, pain, love and daily routine.
Writer/Director Nora Jacobson's
first film, the documentary Delivered
Vacant, premiered at the New York Film Festival .
It also played at the Sundance Film Festival and won a Golden Gate Award
at the San Francisco Film Festival. Praised by critics, the film was hailed
by Vincent Canby of The New York Times
as "a fine, rich film...an urban epic."
My Mother's Early Lovers is her first dramatic film, which she adapted
from an autobiographical memoir by Sybil
Smith, and shot in her native Vermont. It has won awards at film festivals
and played on PBS (WGBH and Vermont Public Television). She is currently
distributing it on video.
Jacobson studied film making at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
and is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National
Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Arts Council and New Jersey Council on