There was much mystery awaiting those who saw Coil at its premiere at the Chicago Underground Film Festival. There were only two pieces of information going around the circuit about the film: That it is a story about a news reporter who commits crimes and then reports them the next day, and that the entire movie is shot from the bird’s eye view perspective of surveillance cameras. Both piqued my interest; I saw the film and was blown away that what I had already known wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg behind this great new example of “Guerilla Filmmaking”.
The film is about Morgan Bianco (Kozicki), a known local news reporter who is sexually assaulted by one of her co-workers in a nearby laundromat. Even though the surveillance camera at the laundry mat picked up the ordeal, the court rules that there is not enough behind it to convict her co-worker. While feeling alone and suffering from massive breakdowns, she decides to take matters in her own hands by committing small acts of assault, and reporting them the next day to try and educate the public of the deterioration of the city. As her popularity increases, she discovers a video of her rape on the internet shot from a camera at a nearby convince store. This takes the movie to a whole new direction that I cannot bring myself to discuss, for it will ruin the edge-of-your-seat ending that this film offers.
Barbara Kozicki gives an amazing performance as the beautiful news reporter who is slowly reaching the end of her rope. Her performance shows that there is much fresh talent still untouched in the independent circuit. Director Jesse Heffring shot the entire film from the perspective of overhead surveillance cameras and news cameras, eliminating the omnipotent eye and giving us more of the raw, cold feeling that makes the film so intoxicating.
Completed for under $12,000, shot over 10 weekends, and edited over a year, Coil is a major staple in the rise of “Guerilla Filmmaking.” It is Heffring’s first film, which he has put together marvelously with little prior experience in filmmaking. Soon to be attending film school in the Canada, Heffring is a name that we should all keep our ears open for in the future. If you weren’t able to make it to CUFF to see it, it will be at Toronto’s Planet Indie film festival in September…and so will I. So I say to those “up and coming” filmmakers, set Clerks aside for awhile, because Coil is the next teacher in independent filmmaking.