The 2021 Sundance Film Festival began its week of screenings and various online events on January 28th, among those screening, is Doublespeak, an original film entered into Short Films Program. In this episode of Carolyn Talks…, I speak with writer and director Hazel McKibbin, and actress Angela Wong Carbone about their technical and emotional approaches to preparing for and making the film, and finding catharsis through art.
After being sexually harassed by an older male colleague who was in a position of authority over her, Emma (Wong Carbone) bravely reported the incidents. but after reporting them it turns out the company won’t do anything to show her they care, or have consideration for her feelings, safety or that of other women who work for them. Sitting in a conference room with your supervisor, the head of the company you work for, and a strange man is a situation most people don’t want to find themselves in unless they know it will lead to a positive outcome, and for Emma (Wong Carbone) it’s uncomfortable, stressful and ultimately another experience she probably wishes she could erase.
As Emma, Wong Carbone gives a performance that holds your attention as every unsaid thought and barely restrained emotion briefly filters through her facial expressions and small gestures. Emma’s anxiety is visible but constantly ignored, making the situation even more intense and upsetting.
For her first short film writer and director, Hazel McKibbin takes a day in Emma’s life that is a day many others face and scrutinizes the ways the corporate world – or any work environment really – creates an unsafe work environment for employees when the people in charge allow those with seniority to abuse their power by intimidating, harassing and even assaulting their subordinates. She deftly shows the moral and ethical failings that occur when the benefit of the doubt is placed on the antagonizer and places the burden of proof and doubt on the victims.
To read more about Doublespeak, you can read But Why Tho contributor Cait Kennedy’s review here.
Sundance 2021 runs from January 28 – February 3, 2021. For more festival announcements and to stream films online and purchase tickets, visit How To Fest at Sundance.org. Follow Carolyn on social media at @CarrieCnh12 and #SHWHSundance for So Here’s What Happened! at Sundance festival coverage.
About Hazel and Angela
Hazel McKibbin is a British-American writer and director based in Brooklyn. She is a 2020 BAFTA Newcomer and is currently working on her thesis at Columbia University where she is pursuing an MFA in Screenwriting and Directing. Hazel finds herself drawn towards realism, often through a feminist lens, and the idea that compelling stories can be created from ordinary relationships and interactions.
Her directorial debut Doublespeak is featured on Short of the Week, is a Vimeo Staff Pick Best of the Month: July 2020 and will have its festival premiere at the Sundance 2021 Film Festival
Angela Wong Carbone
Inexhaustibly curious, native New Yorker, and child of the arts, it is only natural Angela Wong Carbone started her film career when she was discovered in Rome, Italy. Her first feature film, Terra (Winner, experimental film at Pesaro Film festival) was directed by duo Marco De Angelis and Antonio di Trapani and sent her onto the indie circuit. Her latest films, Longing (director Christian Mushenko; best dramatic short Big Apple Film Fest, the award of excellence One Reeler, Winner London Independent Film Fest) Shield (director Yijie Mei; Korean American Film Fest), Delay (director Tin Tang; NewFest official selection) and feature Sugar Land (director Lorenzo Lanzillotti; Festigious Film Festival (Best Short, Best Actress), Oniros (Best Director Nomination), Feel the Reel (Best Short, Nominated Best Actress, 2nd Best Editing) Premiere on FilmShortage as Film of the Week ) have cemented her as an international film actress and collaborator.
Angela trained at NYU’s Stonestreet Studios for screen acting, with Anthony Abeson, and at Cornell University for theater, where she also holds a degree in Architecture. Angela is a designer, welder, and writer for film and media.
She is an award-winning screenwriter. Her latest film, Postmarked, was executive produced by Lena Waithe after her script won her a spot in AT&T Hello Lab’s Mentorship Program in 2019. She is a contributing writer for activist Eileen Kelly’s Killerandasweetthang. Her stories and recipes appear in Lulu Gioiello’s Far Near, a continuing book project on East Asian identity, and Alex Chester’s Hapa Mag.
She is currently developing several projects, including the series The Labors of Lulu, with E! star Camrus Johnson and former Sundance TV, IFC, and NBC executive Evan Shapiro.
Carolyn is a Freelance Film Critic, Journalist, and Podcaster – and avid live tweeter. Member of the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), her published work can be found on But Why Tho, The Beat, Observer, and many other sites. As a critic, she believes her personal experiences and outlook on life, give readers and listeners a different perspective they can appreciate.