For George is a (belated) coming-of-age romance short. It tells the story of a MySpace-famous musician turned disgruntled pizza place employee, George, who spends a strange night with Deena, his sort-of ex-girlfriend & former fan. Vacillating between their tense present and elusive past, the shifting power dynamics between Deena and George are ultimately superseded by his inability to distinguish between the two.
Starring Michael Esper and Allie Gallerani, the film is based on LA-based writer/director Ursula Ellis’s experience growing up in the indie rock scene of north Alabama, and is a cinematic attempt at reexamining her own personal history. Shot on location in her hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, For George encapsulates the discomfort of reuniting with someone from your past through the haze of Southern summer nights and suburban car culture malaise.
Ellis “We shot For George over the course of four brisk days (or rather nights) in September 2015, but didn’t finish the film until 2018. In delving into such a complicated part of my own past, the intention of the film evolved over time as my own perspective changed — which felt pretty fitting for a film about the acute pain of nostalgia and how clinging to an idea of someone can obfuscate who they really are.
“Growing up a young female musician and fan surrounded by mostly older boys/men, it was often a dangerous and volatile environment. But in this film, I wanted to explore a more nuanced relationship from that milieu with depth and honesty, focusing more on the aftermath of an inappropriate but still lingering connection.
“Originally conceived as a short story in college, I made the short while in the Columbia MFA program, where I also developed a feature-length script. I was fortunate to work with two lead actors — Michael and Allie — who brought much of themselves to their performances and a very committed crew, most of whom drove from New York and Chicago to my hometown in Alabama to work on the film.
“Even now, my feelings towards this time of my life remain unresolved, and I hope to continue exploring variations on George and Deena’s story in my future work.”