When Skylar, a young cloistered nun, gets word of her sister’s death, questions of doubt permeate through her once solid understanding of self. Infected with rebellion and unable to maintain her commitment to the vows, Skylar is granted eight days outside of the convent to venture out on a pilgrimage of truth and self discovery to the religious town of Chimayo, New Mexico.
On her journey Skylar’s path is crossed by two others seeking purpose and meaning in the sandblasted desert, a gentle runaway teenage boy and a handsome train-hopper, whose presence and friendship challenge Skylar’s uncertain commitment to the cloistered life. The trials the group experiences force Skylar to weigh the different possibilities of what her future could look like, but at what cost?
I AM THAT, an adventure story set under the wide-open skies of New Mexico, is not your average nun story. The world written and created by director Joy Marzec is a magical-realist place that’s layered with complex, quirky characters and plays to the tune of a modern, original soundtrack that nods to the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, and 1950’s love pop. The movie’s unexpected ending speaks to the courage and power it takes to devote oneself to finding the truth.
"Any movie that begins with a nun flogging herself while repeating her various sins, set to a punk rock guitar riff, immediately grabs my attention. Any film that can sustain that style for the entire time it’s on has my respect. Marzec’s debut film (short or feature-length), requires both attention and respect. Attention as a lot of crucial details are told visually, in long sequences without dialogue. On her journey, Skylar has several hallucinatory nightmares that directly relate her vices, that involve fake-looking monsters, crazy lighting, and quick, close-up edits. It is an excellent way to tell the audience how she’s feeling without resorting to needless exposition."
The Women's Film Festival, Kimmel Center, March 15, 2020 (Rescheduled due to Covid)
Opening film of the festival
Joy Marzec is a writer and director who has always liked fairy tales, myths, ghost and surrealistic stories. As a kid she wrote scenes and directed her friends in plays. In 2018, she finished her first feature film, I AM THAT, which is available on Amazon Prime and DirectTV. I AM THAT won Best New Mexico Feature at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, Excellence in Film at the Defy Film Festival, Critic's Choice at the L’Age d’Or International Arthouse Film Festival, and Best Feature at the Houston Pacific Islander Film Festival.
She recently completed a short film, Pumpkin Shoot Out, which will be released fall of 2020. Her second feature, I Pledge Allegiance To Myself, will be released winter of 2021.
Her third feature, Survival of the Holy Fool, is set in Philadelphia and is an urban drama about a politically divided neighborhood that erupts into a riot and is brought together by an outsider who changes the community forever. She will be shooting this over the course of 2020 and 2021.
Christine Meyers is a Costume Designer, Production Designer, and Cinematographer who has created for opera, theatre, dance, and film. Collaborations spanning these genres include experimental dance company zoe|juniper, music videos for The Head and the Heart, and classic Tartuffe at Seattle Shakespeare Company. She has created dissolving dresses for an Alice in Chains’ video and worked with the Handel Festival in Göttingen, Germany and Drottningholm, Sweden.
Regional Credits: Sex with Strangers (Portland Center Stage)Circle Mirror Transformation, This, Speech and Debate(Seattle Repertory Theatre) Peter Pan, The Highest Tide, Little Bee(Book-It Repertory Theatre) Twelfth Night, Tartuffe, Julius Caesar(Seattle Shakespeare Company) Film Credits: Lethal Cotillion, I Am That, Bhakti Boy, 21 and Over(dyer) Tom and the Domme, Buried Girl Broadway Assistant Credits: Matilda, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Groundhog Day, Escape to Margaritaville.
You can follow Christine on Facebook and/or Instagram.
Mitch Marzec’s love of recording began when he purchased his first four track at age 15. A self-taught recording artist, Mitch has spent 20 years producing his own projects (two albums for the band An American Chinese –CMJ best emerging artist award). His self recorded songs got airtime on XPN, the Deli Mag and Y-Not radio, which quickly led to freelance recording/mastering work for bands in Philadelphia, Seattle, Brooklyn and Albuquerque. Very organically Mitch’s body of work expanded as he was asked to do sound design/composition for plays and films. He has written soundtracks for all three of Joy Marzec’s films, The Medicine Wheel, Bhakti Boy, and most recently, I AM THAT. Mitch owns and records bands out of his Philadelphia recording studio, Siamese Twin Studio. You can follow his band, An American Chinese, on Facebook or email him at email@example.com.
Ziggy Gamble is the Post-Production Supervisor and Lead Editor at Expressway Productions. Ziggy’s passion for storytelling led him to pursue a career in the visual arts. In addition to working in the post-production department at Temple University, he has extensive experience in location sound recording. Ziggy recorded sound on award-winning films such as Advantageous [Dir. Jennifer Phang], The Bravest, The Boldest [Dir. Moon Molson], and The Happy Sad [Dir. Rodney Evans]. After transitioning back into the editing room at Expressway Productions in Philadelphia, he teamed up with director Joy Marzec to edit her feature film “I Am That”. In between films, he works primarily in commercials and short form documentaries. His most recent editing work includes the documentary feature The Beyond Sixty Project [Dir. Melissa Davey], and sound design on both the narrative short A Man Full of Trouble [Dir. Michael Johnston] and the documentary feature Because of the War [Dir. Toni Shapiro-Phim, Philadelphia Folklore Society].
Nalani Williams is an animator and multimedia artist. She started her career as a visual artist in New York City, showing her work in galleries along the East Coast. While studying at School of Visual Arts, she discovered her love of animation and honed her skills as an animator, set/prop fabricator, puppet maker, and After Effects Artist. Her work can be seen on multiple commercials for companies such as Lowe’s Home Improvement, Sprout Children’s Network, and Spin Master Toys. Combining traditional animation, stop motion animation, video, and photography to create a painterly aesthetic, she has made two short experimental animated films and is in the post-production stage of her third film. Recently she animated title cards and collage style sequences for the independent feature film “I Am That.” Nalani holds a BFA in animation from School of Visual Arts and is currently directing and animating a music video in Los Angeles.
Amber is an New Mexico-based filmmaker. She has produced (and directed) 15+ shorts, a feature film, and a pilot for Discovery/Snapchat. Her productions have won several awards both inside and outside New Mexico. She is also an Assistant Director in DGA and SAG-AFTRA eligible Actress.
Amielynn Abellera is a graduate of USC's MFA in Acting program, and an LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award nominated actress. Recent onstage credits include Liv in Burners (Moving Arts), Julia in 1984 (Greenway Court), Landry in Captain of the Bible Quiz Team (Rogue Machine Theatre), and Viola in Twelfth Night (Coeurage Theatre). Her favorite roles include Sampaguita in Dusty de los Santos (Skylight Theatre), and Edith in Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (Artists at Play). Other regional credits with Open Fist Theatre, The Odyssey Theatre, Off Square Theatre Wyoming, Shakespeare Center of LA, Theatre at Boston Court, MainStreet Theatre, Chalk Repertory, Berkeley Repertory, and San Jose Stage. TV credits include Just Add Magic (Amazon Video), and The 5th Quarter (Verizon Go90). She has also appeared in numerous commercials. Amielynn is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and the Actors Equity Association.
Matteo Scammell earned a BFA from the Ira Brind School of Theater Arts - the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and has performed in 37 professional productions. He has worked with most of Philadelphia's finest theater companies including: The Walnut St. Theater, Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Arden Theater, The Wilma Theater, Theatre Exile, 11th Hour, Theatre Horizon and EgoPo. In the 2016/17 season Matteo performed both Elvis Presley and a Drag Queen as the title character in The Legend of Georgia McBride (Arden), featured as the "perpetually horny and aggressively homophobic bully" in Robert Askins' Hand To God (PTC) as well as Tracy Scott Wilson's "meditation on gentrification" in Theatre Exile's Buzzer. He appeared at The New Ohio (NYC) in Holden and at Ars Nova: Ant Fest with Red 40 & The Last Groovement. He toured Pig Iron's Gentlemen Volunteers to Saratoga Springs, Colgate & Virginia. He has been a company member of Obie Award winning experimental Theater Company, New Paradise Laboratories (NPL) since 2012 featuring in 4 original works. Matteo has created original theatrical and musical material for NPL, Pig Iron Theatre Company, George & Co., Lear deBessonet, Marcel Williams Foster, Martha Stuckey and Sam Tower. Feature films include Traffickers (2015 Philadelphia Independent Film Festival “Best Local Feature”), and I Am That. In addition to being a full-time actor, Matteo performs in the pop-rock funk band Red 40 & The Last Groovement. A two-time artist-in-residence at Orchard Project and four-time resident at FringeArts. In 2014 and 2016, Matteo was nominated as “Best Actor” by BroadwayWorld, and in 2015 Matteo was extremely honored to be the recipient of Neal Zorn's "Best Actor" for his work as Yank in Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape. In 2016 he received a Barrymore Nomination for "Outstanding Leading Actor in a Play" for his work in "Smoke."
KATE CZJAKOWSKI (CRESSIDA) previously appeared on the Wilma’s stage as Nora in Assistance, Harper in Angels in America, Rachelka/Marianna in Our Class, and In the Next Room, or the vibrator play as Sabrina Daldry, a role that earned her a Barrymore nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Regional credits include: Sissy Hankshaw in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (world premiere) at Book-It Rep, Marina in Pericles at Seattle Shakespeare Co., Annamae Dickie in Louis Slotin Sonata (world premiere) at Empty Space, and Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker (national tour) for Montana Rep. A recent graduate of the MFA Acting program at Temple University, Kate played several roles in Temple Rep’s two summer seasons: Masha in Three Sisters, Elmire in Tartuffe, and Marianna in Measure for Measure.
Jane is the founder of Book-It and founding co-artistic director of Book-It Repertory Theatre, with Myra Platt. In her 28 years of staging literature, she has performed, adapted, and directed works by such literary giants as Charles Dickens, Eudora Welty, Edith Wharton, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Pam Houston, Raymond Carver, Frank O’Connor, Ernest Hemingway, Colette, Amy Bloom, John Irving, John Steinbeck, Daphne du Maurier, and Jane Austen. A veteran actress of 30 years, she has played leading roles in many of America’s most prominent regional theatres. Most recently, she played the role of Miss Havisham in Book-It’s Great Expectations. Film and TV credits include The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Singles, Homeward Bound, “Twin Peaks,” and Rose Red. She co-directed with Tom Hulce at Seattle Rep, Peter Parnell’s adaptation of John Irving’s The Cider House Rules, Parts I and II, which enjoyed successful runs here in Seattle, at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles (Ovation Award, best director) and in New York (Drama Desk Nomination, best director). Jane directed Cyrano, Pride and Prejudice, and Twelfth Night at Portland Center Stage which won the 2008 Drammy award for Best Direction and Production.
For Book-It, she has directed A Moveable Feast, The Dog of the South, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Uncensored, Truth Like the Sun, The House of Mirth, The Highest Tide, Travels with Charley, Pride and Prejudice, Howard’s End, In a Shallow Grave, The Awakening, Owen Meany’s Christmas Pageant, A Tale of Two Cities, and The Cider House Rules, Parts I and II, winner of the 2010 and 2011 Gregory Awards for Outstanding Production. In 2008 she, Myra Platt, and Book-It were honored to be named by the Seattle Times among seven Unsung Heroes and Uncommon Genius for their 20-year contribution to life in the Puget Sound region. She is a recipient of the 2009 Women’s University Club of Seattle Brava Award, a 2010 Women of Influence award from Puget Sound Business Journal, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Founders Grant, and was a finalist for the American Union for Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s 2012 Zelda Fichandler Award.
2015 Guggenheim Fellow Zoe Scofield is a dance and visual artist based in Seattle Washington since 2002. Born and raised in Gainesville GA, Zoe began ballet at a young age, instilling in her a deep love and interest in structure, discipline and performances’ ability to create a transformative experience. Zoe attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts, an arts high school in Boston MA, receiving a Monticello Choreography Fellowship and graduating with high honors in dance. After, she danced with Prometheus Dance in Boston and Atlas Moves, directed by Bill James in Toronto Canada.
In 2005 Zoe began working with video and visual artist Juniper Shuey on video, photographic and dance collaborations shown in visual art galleries, museums and theaters. They have been commissioned and presented by national and international arts centers such as, On the Boards, PICA, Trafo House of Art, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, NYLA, Spoleto Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Body Festival (New Zealand), Yerba Buena Center, Columbia College Chicago, DiverseWorks, The Frye Art Museum and many more. They have taught workshops and given lectures on dance, photography, collaboration and installation throughout the US and internationally.
Throughout her career Zoe has been awarded residences, awards and grants from 4Culture, Alpert Award, Artist Trust, Case Van Rij, City Arts Magazine, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Glenn H. Kawasaki Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, MAD Air, MAP Fund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, On the Boards, Princess Grace Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The Stranger Genius Award, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Velocity Dance Center, among others. Zoe has taught at Velocity Dance Center, Mark Morris Dance Center, Gibney Dance Center, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Boston Conservatory, Columbia College, University of Utah, University of Colorado at Boulder, and served as a guest panelist for Dance Critics Association, PICA’s Educating Dance Audiences, gloATL Tanz Farm, and Cornish College of the Arts. Zoe and Juniper are the co-founders of Lo-Fi Annual Arts Festival and What We Talk About… an in-process feedback session for artists of all disciplines.
Dodie Montgomery earned her BA in Theatre and Dance at the University of Wyoming and her MFA in Acting at the University of Texas at Austin.
She has worked extensively with many theatre companies, of special note are Book- It Repertory Theatre Company, Seattle Shakespeare Company, Open Circle Theatre Company, Snowy Range Summer Theatre Company, Fusion Theatre Company, and Tricklock Company.
She has been teaching acting and theatre for over twenty years. She is an actor, writer, producer, director for ilm and theatre, and a visual artist. She has appeared on stage in Krakow, Poland - Belgrade, Serbia , and Beijing, China. She can be seen on Net lix’s Longmire, NBC’s The Night Shift, AMC’s Manhattan, NBC’s The Brave. In ilm you can ind her in I Am That (winner of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival – Best New Mexico Narrative Feature) , A Can Full of Ashes, and The Dust Monologues. Dodie is a proud member of SAG/AFTRA and EMC.
Lauren Chavez-Myers is a filmmaker, writer, actor, and proud Burqueña from New Mexico. She received her BFA in Theatre Performance from Chapman University while simultaneously discovering her passion for writing, directing, and giving a voice to underrepresented groups in media.
After graduating, she spent eight years working in professional film, television, and theatre in New Mexico, including a two season recurring role on WGN's "Manhattan" opposite Michael Chernus. Other notable roles include "12 Strong" (opposite Michael Peña), AMC’s "Better Call Saul," "The Space Between Us" (opposite Gary Oldman), and "Only the Brave." Chavez-Myers proudly served five years as the Director of Media & Marketing for the Latina-led Duke City Repertory Theatre, where she produced all of their trailers, media, and online content while also working as a member of the resident acting company.
She co-wrote, produced, and starred in the feature film "Dead Billy," and has written, directed, and produced several award-winning shorts, including "Imagining Vera" which won Best Film and Best Directing at the 2014 Albuquerque 48 Hour Film Festival. She has also directed and produced three of the four LGBTQIA-friendly "Star Wars: Frankie and Jude" films, which have screened at festivals and comic cons all over the world and won numerous awards.
Most recently, she wrote and produced "Enough Room," a social impact comedic short film tackling the issues of passive racism, societal expectations, and inviting authentic connections in the face of adversity -- all on a first date. It is currently in post-production.
Chavez-Myers has several projects in development through her company Room of Req Productions. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband Rick and their dog Marty McFly.
Actors Amielynn Abellera and Sage Owens plus Joy Marzec, Christine Meyers, and Daniel Maestes
Bouncing light in northern New Mexico
Christine Meyers paints Tamas's black scar on his chest
Crew of I AM THAT bounces light on the field in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sister Skylar and Mickey Musashi Mouse run away from shoe store
Joy and Daniel Maestes (DP) framing the scene when Skylar steals wine
Amielynn taking a break during the shoot
Young Skylar played by Avyn Lee with the crew shooting in the buddhist temple
Christine painting the convent set
Makeup artist DC puts on the jaguar's face played by Zoe Scofield
There were about 15 extra nuns but they didn't feel like background. They bonded together and really invested themselves into their roles. They were together for a week.
Sage and Matteo take a break during the shoot
I wish we could've shot more on this road but we only had enough time for the one small scene when Skylar and Mickey are walking without Tamas
The Gandhi quote was not planned in the design. It happened to be at the location
The rain/hail storm was unexpected but when the sun came out it was so beautiful
We had a fairly small crew but they were a tight knit group that had worked together before on previous projects
Amielynn Abellera, Matteo Scammell, and Sage Owens on set when a hail storm hit.
Jane and Joy working out a scene together.