I met her in the backyard. She was soaking up the sun, wishing it would never set. She greeted me with excitement, her energy radiating. When she spoke I could sense she was a strong woman that had worked hard for what she had. I quickly learned that she was a Portland-based writer & director. And I also learned that she was an independent, opinionated woman who had something to say that was relatable to anyones life. Elle was nothing of the ordinary. She is my neighbor, a mentor. And, most of all, a talented, inspiring woman, with some great vision.
If you have not heard of her it's time to possibly fall in love with her & her most recent film short, Person, Place or Thing. After producing and directing several short films including the Emmy nominated Crossing the Abyss: A Journey from Auschwitz to Oregon which aired on OPB in 2005, Elle tackled her first narrative film. Taking 4 years for her dream to come to fruition, her film finally premiered in Oregon and traveled the film festival circuit screening at numerous festivals across the US and UK. While the film picked up various awards on its journey, a notable win was best short narrative right here at the Portland Women's Film Festival (POW Fest).
Person, Place or Thing is a film about a drifter, Alexis, who finds comfort in her invisibility while living in her car in a parking garage in Portland. When the routine of Alexis' solitary life is interrupted by an unexpected encounter, she is faced with the choice to preserve her anonymity or reconnect with the world around her. In one particularly climactic scene, Alexis has sex with a man for money. However, rather then appear destitute or victimized, Alexis commands the scene and even winds up comforting the man she as he weeps during the transaction. These subtle but very powerful acts by the main character continue on throughout the entire film. And they carry such emotion and power that I want to see more as the story unfolds. You can watch the trailer here.
I am not a film critic, but an artist . Most artists would agree that a film like this one is solid in its amazing, creative shots and its ability to communicate so much depth and soulfulness with so very little words. And yet what I think pushes this film to a new level is its willingness to push the gender boundary. And to satisfy perhaps its most starved mass viewer with a bold inversion of stereotypes.Elle Martini has only just begun.
She is determined to make the short Person, Place, or Thing into a feature film and to continue making movies that matter. Currently, she is producing commercial and web spots with Kamp Grizzly, a local production company, while she gears up to make another film. Keep your eyes out for Ms. Martini in the future, she is a sure bet for great things to come.