March 23, 2023

SCREEN | 'Until Branches Bend' Invades the Okanagan x SXSW 2023

"Peaches just rot."
Alexandra Roberts Grace Glowicki Sophie Jarvis | Until Branches Bend | VIFF 2022
SXSW Film & TV Festival
Vancouver-based production designer turned director Sophie Jarvis explores small-town drama in her captivating debut feature, Until Branches Bend. Filmed in and around Penticton on 16mm, the low-budget film shows Okanagan life through communal tensions as a result of looming oncoming invasions.

Edmonton-born actress Grace Glowicki stars as Robin, a pregnant cannery worker who discovers an invasive insect inside a locally-grown peach, alongside sister Laney (Alexandra Roberts). She tries to convince her tight-knit community to take the possible threat seriously. Everyone reacts differently as Jarvis mediates on unravelling emotions when people feel threatened by an otherwise unseen hazard.

As hostilities rise in the fictional British Columbian peach grove town of Montague, Robin's internal struggle of what to do and how to warn others of dangers others do not want to believe are real becomes harder and harder for her to ignore. How panic and the town's resources swiftly disappear as she also struggles to control her own body only further heightens her sense of lost identity and obsession.

Jarvis makes an impressive (albeit flawed) film with strong socioeconomic messages about complicity and being punished for doing the right thing. Until Branches Bend paints its setting with a glowing yet unsettling brush by revealing the lurking threats against the idyllic nature of the environment.

Until Branches Bend screened at the 2023 South by Southwest Film & TV Festival (Austin, Texas) as part of the Visions section and the 2022 Vancouver International Film Festival as part of the Northern Lights series. It also screens at the VIFF Centre.

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