Directed by John Rosman
Hosted by Director John Rosman, Producer Justin T. Ross, Associate Producers Hannah Cumming and Sean Lewis, Co-Producer Fran Bittakis, Costume Designer Erin Toft and Director of Photography Mark Evans
David Lawson Jr.
Michael Marchlewski, T. Justin Ross
Tony Amendola, Hayley Erin, Sonya Walger
American Storyworks, inc.
Once upon a time, Jessica Murdock (Hayley Erin) had a life. She had a fiancée and a home, and then one day, for reasons she cannot comprehend, it was taken away from her. Now she's on her own, on the run, scrounging for her next meal and trying to avoid the authorities. Random strangers briefly offer some kindness, food, and shelter, but Jessica knows she can't stand still very long and looks to cross the Canadian border into some kind of freedom. But she's not on her own. On her trail is Elsa Gray (Sonya Walger), neither a cop nor a federal agent, but a for-hire fixer with the skills and intelligence to bring in someone who doesn’t want to be found. Jessica and Elsa both share a link that only one of them is aware of and by the time these two survivors finally meet, it can only end one way – tragically, and not just for them but possibly, for us all.
One of the major discoveries of Fantasia 2023, writer/director John Rosman's NEW LIFE is a rare thriller that doubles as an unexpected emotional powerhouse. Taking what could have been a standard “fugitive on the run vs dogged pursuer” story, it surprises and constantly keeps the viewer on edge as its many layers begin to unravel. Rosman anchors his film with two outstanding leads in Erin and Walger, both headstrong women finding themselves in new and uncharted territory, each struggling to learn the what and why of their circumstances as they ultimately come to a head. NEW LIFE thankfully does not depend on the typical suspense of a chase film, but it does supply considerable tension in completely fresh and unpredictable ways that constantly surprise. It’s this approach that makes NEW LIFE stand out way above conventional thrillers to become a commanding and unforgettable work. – Matthew Kiernan
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