Back in 2004, filmmaker Cindy Baer charmed indie audiences with her ultra low budget experimental feature “Purgatory House.” That film was highly regarded in critics’ circles for what Baer was able to do with very little resources.
12 years later, Baer revisits that material with the utterly charming tale of Audrey Brodsky (Tegan Ashton Cohan). Dubbed “Odd” by those that know her, we follow Audrey/Odd as she leaves home for Hollywood only to find a dead-end office job. But she’s really good at that job and quickly becomes an essential cog in the corporate machine. Still, Odd longs to act, which in these cult of celebrity driven times naturally leads her to mount her own reality show. But when things don’t work out the way she planned, Odd might be forced back into the business cubicle.
Very well lensed by Baer’s husband Matthew Irving, with whom she shares a writing credit, “Odd Brodsky” is an off-kilter charmer populated by quirky characters. And Baer not only directs but, also, takes on a key role playing Sammy, a playwright producing a musical stage version of a film that is eerily similar to “Purgatory House.” And it is that musical that provides the film with some of its most entertaining moments, especially during the rousing closing title sequence.
One thing that shouldn’t be lost on budding filmmakers out there, is that Baer stuck with it, and through concerted perseverance saw her cinematic vision through another significant stage. Sometimes, finding one’s filmmaking voice, as it has been often cynically called, results in many false starts or just a lot of useless whining. With “Odd Brodsky,” we see the evolution of a worthy story that the filmmaker rightly believes in and works to bring to audiences.
One time, many years ago, I was shooting interviews at Sundance on a hotel balcony and Baer and her husband introduced themselves. I remember them as a really warm and authentic couple who were humbly excited about participating in the festival and making a career in film. Anyone who has attended a festival of that stature well knows the level of pretense that surrounds almost every encounter. Not so with Baer and Irving.
One can imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, I was treated to another helping of their quirky comedy and sharing it with my 13 year old daughter was delightful. Let’e hope that producers take notice and fund another story from these two.
“Odd Brodsky” is available now in iTunes and VOD.