Ruby Shella

Ruby Shella is a French cabaret artist living in New York. One day, while taking her nephews to the beach, an accident opens the door to her remorse, doubts and loneliness.

  • Antoine Zimmermann
  • Antoine Zimmermann
  • Paul-Lou Lemieux
  • Lisa Donier
    Key Cast
    "Ruby Shella"
  • Charly Wenzel
    Key Cast
  • Sam Urdang
    Key Cast
  • Magnus Newville
    Key Cast
  • Axel Newville
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 17, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, French
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Antoine Zimmermann

Antoine Zimmermann is a screenwriter and director who grew up in Besançon, in eastern France. After four years in an improv theater company, then directing cabarets and shows, his passion for cinema resurfaced. He moved to the French Riviera, where he enrolled in a film school (ESRA). He wrote and directed a number of experimental films, and built up a world in which dance and the stage never really left his side. At the age of 21, he flew to New York to make his first short film, Ruby Shella.

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Director Statement

How can an artist's ego deteriorate her family ties, isolating her and leading her to lose herself?
Ruby Shella deals with the complex and fragile evolution of an identity, of a stage persona in a foreign culture (in this case, France/United States).

The film deals with the balance of power in family relationships and invites us to reflect on the idea that we only realize the value of what we have when we no longer have access to it.
The backdrop is the up and downs associated with the use of euphoric substances (drugs/alcohol) in the performing arts, and the destructive addiction that this can lead to.

I made this film because I realized the extent to which the adrenalin of the stage could lead to blindness in one's personal life. It's hard to be applauded, noticed and acclaimed, but to face up to your responsibilities in the private sphere.
After six years playing in theater workshops, I had a few cabaret experiences and noticed how much the character you create goes beyond the fourth wall with the spectator, and how attractive it is to build yourself around it, all the more so when your personal life is perpetually riddled with doubts and questioning.

For me, this echoes our society, where social networks are pushing more and more young people to create a mask, a persona that gives them the illusion of assurance, brilliance and existence.
In most cases, this mask can hide a void, a heavy inner suffering, and ends up being nothing more than that of a sad clown.

I wanted to explore the balance of power within a family, where questions of maturity, trust, forgiveness and remorse arise.
The beauty of the family is that it escapes all logic and control, because it connects its members much more deeply to each other than any social relationship.
Developing a character's maturity was a challenge I wanted to take up in this short film. That's why the film is a cycle in which scenes respond to each other. The script, supported by the mise en scène, accentuates the contrast between these responses, creating a mirror effect in which the character of Shella evolves throughout the film, returning to her starting point but no longer being the same person.

For me, New York City represents this anthill where you have to exist as an individual, proving who you are by standing out from the crowd at all costs.
When this race comes to a halt, as it does for Shella, who finally comes face to face with herself and suddenly realizes how far she's come and what she's lost, New York becomes an antagonist, a heavy mass that crushes her and brings her face to face with her loneliness.