A Recap of the NYWIFT Screening and Q&A for I Used to Go Here
By Kristin Reiber Harris
In early August, NYWIFT made Kris Rey’s new feature I Used to Go Here available for streaming and presented a conversation with the writer/director and lead actress Gillian Jacobs (Community, Girls, Love). I Used to Go Here is the story of a young woman in her mid-thirties, Kate Conklin, whose first novel has been released and the consequences of a lack-luster response to the book.
I enjoyed the film and the reminder that good writers can tell stories with such finesse that we can see ourselves in the narrative. Of particular interest to us as an organization of women media professionals, Rey is dedicated to telling stories about women’s lives and the importance and nuance of relationships with other women. I am also inspired as a media producer of very short films, by the dedication and perseverance required to make feature films. She spoke of her trials getting funding and the necessity of placing the project on hold for a year.
I Used to Go Here opens with the cancellation of Kate Conklin’s book tour because of a lack of interest in the book. However, she soon receives an invitation from a former professor to return to her alma mater and talk to his creative writing students. The professor had been a romantic interest. Kate’s engagement had just ended, making the trip even more enticing. The campus visit was a trip of self-discovery for Kate, including feeling undeserving of adoration for her success and a lack of confidence. She gets involved in lots of shenanigans with students she meets on the trip that are very entertaining. Kate returns inspired, intimidated, and reevaluating her definition of success.
Both Kris Rey and Gillian Jacobs emphasized the importance of the feeling of family among the crew and actors during the filming. Rey is based in Chicago and dedicated to Chicago’s creative community. In addition, Rey expressed her interest in intergenerational communication. When Rey was asked about her experience pitching the film she indicated she hated the question “What’s it about?” and used her script as her pitch document.
Life imitates art with a twist. I Used to Go Here was slated to premiere at SXSW this year but of course it was canceled due to COVID-19. However, Rey was pleased at the distribution deals in place and the reviews.
I was engaged by the film but especially enjoyed meeting the director and lead actress. They are smart, insightful and enthusiastic as they tackle future projects. Rey is working on a film about menopause and Jacobs, also a filmmaker is working on a film about Grace Hopper and women coders.
Watch the full talkback from August 10, 2020:
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