Nora Jacobson


sun & moon
delivered early lovers habits
103 Minutes, 35mm, Color and B/W (1998)
Produced, directed, co-written and edited by Nora Jacobson, based on a story by Sybil Smith.
Executive Producers: Bill and Jane Stetson



sue ballBrief Synopsis:
A young woman explores her mother's past and uncovers a secret at the heart of her family's history. Based on an autobiographical memoir, the film suggests that the truth--no matter how painful--provides a path to redemption.

• 1st Prize, Jury Award, Film Fest New Haven
• Audience Award, Maine Int'l Film Festival
• Best Independent Film, Ajijic Int'l Film Festival (Mexico)
• Finalist, Austin Film Festival

Other festivals include:

Method Fest Film Festival, Sonoma Valley Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Woods Hole Film Festival, and Slamdunk.


sue ball rusty deweesSynopsis:
"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.

Some Comments:
“Has the feel of a big, uncompromising family novel...” John Sayles
“Its a wonderful film...subtle, thoughtful, funny...” National Public Radio
“As for sheer sex appeal--when George Woodard and Rusty Dewees appear on screen, they make Brad Pitt just a blow-dry memory.” Herald of Randolph
“A family drama of unusual quality” Burlington Free Press
“A potent drama...profoundly of the year’s best films...” Stephen Bissette

molly and michaelProduction Notes
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.

george and sueDirector's Statement
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.

Director's Bio
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 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 the Arts.

photos, from top: Sue Ball as Maple [photo by Karim Chichakly]; Rusty Dewees (Soldier) & Molly Hickok (Louise) [photo by Bill Stetson]; Michael Keene (Andy) & Molly Hickok (Louise); George Woodard (Calvin) & Sue Ball (Maple).


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