Women of the Now, the female-centric video and event production company founded by local director Layne Marie Williams (An Atramentous Mind), celebrates its one year anniversary with a short-film showcase at the New 400 Theater this Sunday, April 25. There is plenty of exciting work included in the three-hour lineup but writer and director Maggie Scrantom’s Atoms of Ashes deserves special mention.
Atoms of Ashes is a surprisingly confident, masterfully-made dramatic short, especially considering that Scrantom, an actress who has appeared on Chicago Med and Chicago P.D., has no directing credits yet listed on IMDB. Written in collaboration with Hilary Williams and June Thiele, Scrantom's film offers a poetic examination of one woman’s grief in the wake of a miscarriage. Beginning with a shot of an ultrasound and continuing with scenes of a would-be mother (Siobhan Reddy-Best) imagining a future of quality time spent with a daughter who will never be born (Kara Grace Williams), this emotionally affecting, sci-fi-tinged mood piece combines powerful but wordless performances with an evocative score, quotes from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (which appear onscreen as hand-written text) and startling visual effects involving the solar system, to conjure, like Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life in miniature, a sense of the cosmic and the eternal. The result is an exhilarating journey through cycles of love, loss and rebirth that seems to encapsulate the entire universe in just seven minutes.
More information about Women of the Now’s 2018 Anniversary Showcase can be found on the WOTN website.