Preview: Comfortless: Young Filmmaker Tackles Difficult Subject Matter

By Jody Key – Managing Editor

According to Campus Safety magazine, 1/4 of high school girls report having been in an abusive relationship. Whether mentally or physically, young girls often find themselves at a loss of how to get out. They get swept up on the moment, don’t see the signs, and infatuation turns into over possessiveness.

The subject matter of 16 year- old Ryan Manley’s Film Comfortless tackles this difficult dilemma and serves as a cautionary tale for young people, whether they are the abused or the one abusing.

I sat down with Manley, and the cast of this indie film set to open October 6th in Atlanta. What impressed me was not only the age of the filmmaker, his producer, and the actors but their focus and dedication to the project. We hear so much about the next generation bring a bunch of snowflakes, but getting a glimpse of these kids assures me the future is in good hands.

Manly has recently been nominated by Creative Loafing for the best of 2018 in several artistic categories: best actor, best writer, and best poet. Having two films under his belt thus far, he’s a very focused individual, dedicated to his craft. Having written and directed Comfortless, he’s now working tirelessly to prepare for the premiere of the film. Ryan has learned his craft through trial and error,  apprenticing on projects as a writer or director.  Comfortless is his first foray into both writing and directing one film.  His inspiration for the project comes from films he’s watched.  He wrote the screenplay in January,  put out a casting call in May,  and wrapped up filming in August at the Basement Theater,  a local improv club where I caught up with the cast and crew.

Madison Sturges plays the lead character, Rebecca. The story is a psychological thriller told as a cautionary tale to young girls about the dangers of getting into a relationship with a person you’ve just met, before getting to know them. “This story tells how bad a relationship can be, how you shouldn’t treat a relationship, and the consequences. It should bring up to the audience, ‘Why would you do this? Why would you do such a thing to another person?’ It also goes through the warning signs and red flags to look for..” The moral being, “Learn more about a person before you start dating them.” Madison isn’t new to the Atlanta film industry, having worked on a couple of projects currently in pre-production and also the upcoming web series Aaron and Kadeem. 

Jared Battle plays the antagonist Jared, Rebecca’s boyfriend who turns out to be the abuser in the relationship. When asked how he prepared for the role, he stated, “I’ve had friends in an abusive relationship and asked them how they were treated. He also spent some time along thinking about how he would feel if he had a girlfriend and how it would feel to be easily jealous”

Rounding out the cast is Madeline Smith as Anna, Rebecca’s friend. Of the film, Madeline says, “Rebecca ignores the red flags, and there are consequences to that. It’s gong through her psychological journey and recounting of the events that led to what happened to her. It shows that you shouldn’t keep people in your life in the dark. If your significant other tells you to push other people in your life away, that’s not a normal thing that people do. When Rebecca ignores the signs and pushes her friends away it has horrible consequences. You should always talk to your friends about the things that are happening to you.”

Comfortless Premeires on October 6th at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Dr NE, Atlanta, GA 30308. Tickets are almost sold out at $6.00 and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/comfortless-movie-premiere-tickets-48383692928?aff=eac2

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