Blunt Force Trauma

Does witnessing a catastrophe render the world uninhabitable? BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA explores the incursion of an unimaginable event on everyday experience. The filmmaker gives her account of a mid-air collision between two prop planes over Lake Michigan, inventing stories to minimize the damage on her, other eyewitnesses and the passengers involved in the crash. As time expands and words lose their ability to comfort, she debates whether to stay frozen or continue forward.

  • Shayna Connelly
  • Shayna Connelly
  • Sharon Mooney
  • Wendy Roderweiss
    Location Sound Recording
  • Bill Connor
    Sound Designer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 5 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    200 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Iowa City International Documentary Film Festival
    Iowa City
    April 2, 2014
    Honorable Mention
  • Big Muddy Film Festival
    Carbondale, IL
    February 19, 2014
  • Athens International Film Festival
    Athens, OH
    April 19, 2014
Director Biography - Shayna Connelly

Shayna Connelly’s work explores hauntings, liminality and the boundaries between documentary, experimental and fiction filmmaking. Her films have screened at Sunderland Shorts, Toronto Short Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary, San Francisco Doc, CIMMfest, Chicago Feminist, Stranger Without a Face, Big Muddy, Columbus International, Breckenridge, Charlotte International, Crossroads, Chicago Underground, Sydney Underground, San Diego Underground, Oak Cliff, Brooklyn Film Festival, Bushwick Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival and Athens International among others. Newcity Magazine named her one of Chicago's 50 Screen Gems of 2016.

Contact information:
Shayna Connelly
773-858-7310 |
1150 S. Ridgeland Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304

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Director Statement

The day I finished this film I could not believe it. It was clear the night of the plane crash that I needed to make a film about this, but I struggled with the form. I completed two prior versions using live action and found footage news reports, but was not pleased with either result. Not only were the visuals too busy and distracting, I was having trouble with the voice over recordings from two very capable actresses. I found that I did not have the words to lead someone else to that place of shock and horror. In order to make the film I had to overcome that dislike of my own voice, but luckily my friend Wendy Roderweiss (Stage 1, 2, 3 and Stopping For Death) was able to record and edit the reading. One day it struck me that when I remembered the event, what I saw first was just the waves lapping at that plastic carmex bottle with the red cap and viola - I had my image for the film. Something that was meaningful, but could be carried by the sound design. This has always been about sound for me.