FREYA2022 Official Selection / Etheria Film Night
Directed by Camille Hollett-French
Canada | 16 min
Jade considers FREYA (her Federally Regulated Enquiry and Yield Assistant) a friend, but when a one-night stand doesn’t go as planned, Jade is forced to question FREYA and the system she represents.
Freya is no easy pill. Written by and starring the award-winning screen and voice actor Rhona Rees, it’s a film that will make audiences feel a mounting sense of discomfort as they watch our lead character’s personal sovereignty unravel in four short days. This is a film about what it means to be a woman and the complicated choices we must face to not even thrive but to survive. It’s a warning, a vision of what could happen if we as a society continue down paths that strip women of their reproductive rights, paths where we sign away our privacy. It’s a film about our relationship with technology, with sex, and with one another. It’s also about self-awareness and connection, which we’re especially desperate for right now. Best of all, it takes place in one of my favourite eras, the “not-too-distant future.” I’m a 90s sci-fi girl. When I was 15, I spent an entire summer watching The Matrix every single night after my shift at Dairy Queen. I saw it about 65 times in a row. (A girl needs to wind down.) The Fifth Element, Gattaca, Contact and ok, Water World-these are the films that shaped me as a young film lover because of the genre’s ability to start a conversation. As a filmmaker, I prefer to ask more questions than I answer. I think there’s no greater honour than for your work to be a source of a debate. Freya has the ability to be one of those films, to cross the line of mere entertainment into a cultural experience. At a time when our political systems seem to be taking a giant leap backward, it’s that much more important to reflect on the “what-ifs” of our actions today. If we pass this law now, what will happen tomorrow? Thirty years from now? Will we like what we see? Or despise it and want to take a coat hanger to it? Will we start changing it now? Are we willing to? These are the questions that excite me. These are the types of questions I hope we ask with this film.
A Slamdance alum and current programmer for Narrative Features, Camille is a Trinidadian-Canadian actor, writer and director from Toronto and Montreal, now residing in Vancouver. She’s made appearances on shows Man In the High Castle, The 100 and now National Geographic’s Valley of the Boom playing the real-life person Tara Hernandez, a manager at Silicon Valley’s 90s tech company Netscape, the famed startup responsible for Mozilla Firefox. Her latest roles are on The Twilight Zone and the soon-to-be Motherland: Fort Salem for which she’s quickly become known as “the butch babe” to fans. Camille has most recently directed Freya, a sci-fi/dark comedy short written by Rhona Rees about a young woman attempting to regain control of her body in a future where social media and the State operate as one. The project was funded by the Harold Greenberg Fund (Bell Media), Creative BC, and the National Film Board of Canada. Camille’s first project as a filmmaker was a short film anthology series called Her Story (In Three Parts), which she wrote, directed, produced, and starred in. It’s a collection exploring the shame associated with different elements of sex, sexuality, and sexual assault and how they relate to us no matter our levels of involvement, all told from the female perspective. The first part she made and her first film, No. 2: Hush Little Baby, won the world’s largest cash prize for a short film. The cross-country series gained international traction as a 2017 finalist for the Cayle Chernin Awards (Toronto) and a 2020 finalist for the Lindalee Tracy Awards (Toronto). The script for No. 2: Hush Little Baby was the first short film script for LiveRead/LA’s 2017 session with Industry Insider Mickey Fisher, the creator of Reverie and the Halle Berry-led Extant. No. 3: In the Absence of Angels, which premiered at the 2019 Slamdance Film Festival (Park City), has won several awards including a Special Jury award at the 2018 Awareness Festival (LA) and the 2018 Canadian Film Fest (Toronto). No. 2: Hush Little Baby has also brought home several awards, including Best Debut and The Craghoppers Film Prize of £20,000, from the 2018 Discover Film Awards (London). The film was competing against films starring Whoopi Goldberg and Marissa Tomei and Minnie Driver. The following year, the same festival awarded No. 3: In the Absence of Angels with Best Director and Best International Drama. Camille is a cohort of the 2019 Women In the Director’s Chair Story & Leadership program and the 2020 Producers Lab, both programs in conjunction with the Whistler Film Festival, for her first feature film in development called Man In Pieces, a psychological horror set in the 60s about a disillusioned psychiatrist overseeing the case of Bradley Park, a black man with schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder on death row for his white girlfriend’s murder. Camille has trained extensively in Toronto, Vancouver, and LA. For two years during the production of the series, she lived mostly on the West Coast in a decommissioned Shortbus with her chef partner and their cat-son.