Private Project


Reeling after the death of her long-ago French lover, Helen, a widowed artist from New York, returns to Cannes to make peace with her past. Befriending a young dancer who is grappling with her own life choices, Helen navigates difficult truths about betrayal, loss and regret while simultaneously trying to rekindle her creative spirit, which has been dormant for years.

  • Gabrielle Lansner
    Short film credits: The Birch Grove, The Stronger, DAD
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Romance, Relationships, Art, Ageing
  • Number of Pages:
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • First-time Screenwriter:
  • Student Project:
  • Toronto, Canada
    January 11, 2024
    Female Eye Film Festival, Script Writing Lab
Writer Biography - Gabrielle Lansner

Gabrielle Lansner is an award winning filmmaker, choreographer, and producer whose work is influenced by her background in choreography and performing. Her films have screened at dozens of festivals worldwide and garnered multiple awards.

Her latest short film, I AM NOT OK is an experimental dance film inspired by the words of Tiffiney Davis, Executive Director of the Red Hook Art Project in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

In 2020, she wrote and directed her first short narrative film, Lullaby to Love. She is also in the early stages of development for her first narrative feature film, STILL LIFE, which she has penned as well.

Her film, the birch grove, 2015, had a successful festival run, screening at the Newport Beach Festival, the Cannes Short Film Corner, and Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center, to name a few. The film won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Experimental Film at the Underexposed Film Festival in Rock Hill, S.C. and composer, Joel Pickard, won Best Original Score from the International Fine Arts Film Festival in Santa Barbara.

Lansner's, THE STRONGER, 2012, premiered at the Cannes Short Film Corner and screened at over two dozen festivals, including Interfilm Berlin, Festival International du Film sur L’Art Montreal, and the Female Eye in Toronto, to a name a few. Garnering awards worldwide, the film received Best Artistic Director Award from the Lady Filmmakers Festival in LA, the Award of Distinction from the Open Stage Festival in Poland, and was nominated for Best Experimental Film at the Female Eye Festival and Best Cinematography at the VisionFest Festival in NYC.

Her first short film , DAD, 2010, won the Award of Merit for Experimental Film from the Accolade Competition. It screened at NewFilmmakers Anthology Film Archives/NY, the Baryshnikov Arts Center NY, Newport Beach Film Festival CA, and IN THE PALACE, among others.

For over 30 years, Lansner has explored artistic disciplines moving from pure dance works, to dance/theater, to film. She has always been interested in story and character: creating emotionally complex and layered works that delve into the heart and psyche.
Since 1997, she has been the Artistic Director of gabrielle lansner & company, a critically acclaimed dance/theater company based in New York City. The works have been produced at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, HERE, River to River Festival, P.S 122, The Joyce Soho, to name a few and have toured the US and Canada. The company has received support from The Dance Films Association, The Alvin & Louise Myerberg Foundation, The Harkness Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, Altria, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Field.

The company’s varied explorations include delving into the lives of Holocaust victims in the literary works of Bertolt Brecht and Cynthia Ozick, exploring adolescent yearning in Carson McCullers’ “The Member of the Wedding”, examining the nature of forgiveness in a work inspired by the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission, and celebrating the life of pop icon Tina Turner in their original musical RIVER DEEP. TURNING HEADS, FROCKS IN FLIGHT, a site-specific dance performed at Battery Park City, was produced by Sitelines 2009/LMCC as part of the River to River Festival.

Other creative projects include choreographing the musical play “Shangri-La” for Queens Theater in the Park, for which she received an Innovative Theatre Award nomination for Best Choreography, “Cyrano de Bergerac” for Lehman College, Paul Scott Goodman’s musical “Him and Her” for the 2002 New York International Fringe Festival, Nancy Magarill’s musical “The Boy with the Glasses” at New York Theater Workshop.

Lansner has also choreographed episodes of Law & Order: SVU, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

She is a member of SAG, New York Women in Film and TV, the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, is a former Board Member of the Dance Films Association/DFA, NYC and was instrumental in developing PS 122 in NYC as a rehearsal and performance space.

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Writer Statement

I once asked my mother is she ever had an affair while married to my father. She responded, “it was a different time back then.” It was Paris, the early 50’s. As it turns out, she did have an affair. After her death in 2010, a close friend of the family confided in me that my newly married mother had had a torrid love affair with a French composer and almost had a child with this man. She miscarried. I was intrigued and surprised, but was not upset.

Hearing about my mother’s past ignited my imagination and inspired me to write STILL LIFE. I wanted to write a story about regret, trust, and the choices women make surrounding having or not having a child.

STILL LIFE is fiction, but grounded in various aspects of both my life and my mother’s. I realize now that I was unconsciously processing the parallels between myself and my mother, and the many reasons why I never had children.

It is also a universal story about love and motherhood. We have always been faced with the complicated dynamic of balancing work, love and family. And, we have all been in relationships where we have lied or chosen to hide the truth for various reasons and lived with the choices we have made, the repercussions and the regrets that may or may not remain.

I hope my film will spur audiences to reflect on their lives, their passions and the choices they want to make going forward.