Making the audience wonder if a major character in a film is really a killer seems as old a trope as film itself. But in the film Nothing Without You, director Xackery Irving wanted to up the suspense and leave the main character herself questioning if she is a murderer.
“On one level, it’s about a woman with a lurid sense of reality and psychological issues. But it’s also a thriller about a woman on the run from police,” he said. “She has very serious questions about whether she is guilty or innocent.”
Irving arrives in Sarasota today for the start of the Sarasota Film Festival and will screen Nothing Without You to audiences this weekend. He spoke with SRQ this week about the film.
The film, shot on a budget of only $180,000 over four weeks in three different states, follows the character of Jennifer Stidger, who has a history of obsession when it comes to men. Having a character so confused about her own psychological issue makes for a compelling and confusing protagonist, but also demands an airtight script, according to Irving. However short the shooting schedule, filmmakers first had to make sure they had the script “just right.”
The film, Irving hopes, has audiences anxiously going along with Jennifer on a dangerous adventure. “You have a certain way of seeing the world and the experience of seeing it on the run,” he said. “And there are twists in the plot that you won’t see coming.”
Of course, Irving won’t reveal those twists. Audiences will have to learn that in the theater.
As for how the film came together, it was made through a partnership with producer (and University of South Florida alum) Rick Santos, who Irving worked with as a field director for the reality police series The First 48. Irving’s connection with that show also led to casting some real cops on that series in some of the most dramatic action sequences in the film.
This will be the third festival where the film is screened. It actually won the Best Feature prize after premiering at the Toronto Film Festival. Irving hopes for more strong audience reaction in Sarasota.
The film screens at the Regal Hollywood 20 on Saturday, April 6, at 8:45pm and Sunday, April 7 at 12:45pm.