Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Production
Writer/Director: Maya Albanese
Producer: Valerie Steinberg
Executive Producer: Brock Williams
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In this surrealistic tragicomedy, Joy, 35, visits an offbeat fertility clinic to freeze her eggs after a series of romantic misadventures…only to discover that she is pregnant.
No matter how absurd, offensive, or comical, all of the scenes in Freeze! are based on true events from the life of the thirty-something filmmaker and those of her female crew members.
Freeze! is told at the rapid fire pace of the ticking time bomb inside a woman’s womb, and each character in the narrative represents a surrounding societal pressure that exacerbates her anxiety about it. When you combine that anxiety with a whole slew of expensive, relatively untested, modern reproductive technologies being marketed to women by our privatized medical care system…voila, you get Freeze!
In this narrative, we go deep inside the consciousness of Joy in her 35th year of life, the age when a woman’s fertility supposedly begins to plummet. When Joy is dumped by the love of her life, her fairy tale dreams of romance and a happy family life are tested. She embarks on a series of increasingly dark romantic misadventures, which land her in a defeated state at as surrealistic fertility clinic, Dream Life Lab, run by an eccentric but charming, Dr. Holmes.
At the clinic, we feel Joy’s equivocation over whether or not to go through with the procedure in this offbeat clinic. For most women, egg freezing is not necessarily a black and white issue: whether or not to drop thousands of dollars and put their ability to create new lives a decade down the road into a cryogenic freezer. It could be an empowering and a little bit depressing of a choice at the same time. We are experimenting with life, and there are no guarantees. Freeze! takes a playful and entertaining approach to exploring these uncertainties and anxieties of modern, working women.
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Meet the Filmmakers
Maya Albanese — Writer/Director
Maya Albanese is a writer-director known for underdog empowerment storytelling that jumpstarts a social dialogue. This year, she was awarded the inaugural diverse directors fellowship by the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Association of Independent Commercial Directors (AICP) that supports emerging women directors. Maya has directed and shot documentaries and commercials on five continents, and in Spanish, French, and English. She has directed commercials for IBM, Nike Women, Kids Foot Locker, Manchester United, John Frieda, Chevrolet, Ketel One, Capital One, JCPenney, Chevrolet, Capital Group, etc. and her multimedia stories have been published across NBC News, The Today Show, Food Network, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Miami Herald, VOX, Racked, EATER, Popsugar, Narrative.ly, and more. Maya has a Masters in Documentary Filmmaking from Columbia University in New York.
Valerie Steinberg — Producer
Valerie Steinberg’s film producing credits include Hair Wolf (dir. Mariama Diallo; 2018 Sundance Jury Award winner for US Fiction Short Film), Fry Day (dir. Laura Moss; world premiere SXSW; Student Visionary Award winner at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival), and Everybody Dies! (dir. Frances Bodomo), which is part of the premiere episode of the HBO series Random Acts of Flyness, as well as the omnibus feature Collective: Unconscious (world premiere SXSW). She studied at Yale University, where she was in an all-female comedy group called The Sphincter Troupe, served as a board member of the Women’s Center, and produced an all- female production of The Rocky Horror Show. She is dedicated to producing work that empowers diverse female voices.
Brock Williams — Executive Producer
Brock Williams is an Independent Spirit Award nominated producer working in both documentary and scripted films. He was a Film Independent Producing Lab fellow in 2014 and became a ‘producer in residence’ for Film Independent in 2018. Williams has produced critically-acclaimed feature documentaries such as On Her Shoulders (Sundance 2018) and Killing Them Safely (Tribeca 2015), as well as scripted films including Slash (SXSW 2016), Awful Nice (SXSW 2013) and Box Elder (2008); and he was a co-producer on You’re Next (TIFF 2011). He has also produced several short films, such as the 2012 Sundance short comedy ’92 Skybox Alonzo Mourning Rookie Card, and he often works as a documentary photographer and editor as well.
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