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Winner - Special Jury Award for Best Ensemble Cast

* CLICK HERE for our recorded Q&A with director David Gutnik, co-writer and lead actress Assol Abdullina, and producer Liz Cardenas

MATERNA explores the stories of four women and the events that lead to their fateful collision on the New York City subway.

Jean, a VR software developer, encounters real-life consequences while working in virtual reality; Mona, a struggling actress from Harlem, tries to reconcile with her estranged Jehovah’s witness mother; Ruth, a concerned mother, must confront the possibility she has created a monster – her son; Perizad, a Kyrgyz immigrant, returns to her homeland to bury the last male member of her family. 

When the four women descend into the subway, they are brought face-to-face with Paul, a troubled man. At the moment that the heroines’ humanity shines brightest, Paul upends the audience’s understanding of where the women's stories of personal transformation might lead them. 

Director's Bio:

David Gutnik is a Russian-American writer and director from Brooklyn, New York. MATERNA, David's debut feature film, was awarded Best Actress and Best Cinematography at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, where he was also nominated for Best New Director. David is also the editor of several acclaimed features, including Christina Choe’s 2018 Sundance award-winning NANCY. He was a 2017 Sundance Institute Fellow and received his MFA in Film at Columbia University.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    105 minutes
  • Language
    English, Russian
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
    West Coast Premiere
  • Rating
    "PG-13" equivalent
  • Director
    David Gutnik
  • Screenwriter
    David Gutnik, Jade Eshete, Assol Abdullina
  • Producer
    Liz Cardenas, Emily McEvoy
  • Executive Producer
    Amman Abbassi, Chantal Lian, Jade Eshete, Assol Abdullina
  • Co-Producer
    Katy Hallowell
  • Cast
    Kate Lyn Sheil, Jade Eshete, Assol Abdullina, Lindsay Burdge, Rory Culkin, Sturgill Simpson, Michael Chernus
  • Cinematographer
    Greta Zozula, Chananun Chotrungroj, Kelly Jeffrey
  • Editor
    Elizabeth Rao, Brúsi Ólason
  • Production Design
    Heather Yancey, April Lasky, Rasul Kochkorbaev
  • Sound Design
    Roland Vajs
  • Music
    Andrew Orkin