Playing Cards Turns Deadly in Gabriel Olson’s The Bridge Partner

thebridgepartnerWord of The Bridge Partner, a 14-minute short directed by Gabriel Olson, landed in our inbox; and since it recently won the “Wes Craven Best Horror Film Award” at the Catalina Film Festival, we thought we’d bring it to your attention so you can keep it on your radar as it makes the film fest rounds.

To date, The Bridge Partner has screened at 20 festivals worldwide while earning “Best Horror/Suspense Film” at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival 2015 as well as the “Audience Award” at D.C. Shorts.

With regard to the Catalina fest, Olson’s psychological thriller was selected by legendary horror filmmaker Craven himself prior to his passing.

The Bridge Partner is based on a short story by Hugo Award-winning author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) and stars Beth Grant (No Country for Old Men, Donnie Darko) as housewife Mattie Whalen, four-time Emmy nominee Sharon Lawrence (“NYPD Blue,” “Desperate Housewives”) as her bridge partner/stalker Olivia Korhonen, and Oscar nominee Robert Forster (The Descendants, Jackie Brown) as her dismissive husband, Don Whalen.

The film explores what human beings do when confronted with real danger — do we trust our own instincts or the advice of those around us? The story uses an allegorical tale told by one character to another. “We had fun tackling the psychological dance between the two characters,” says Olson. “With the allegory of the sheep and dog in the story, the question became: Can a sheep become a dog, and vice versa? Sometimes we play the sheep in life and take a more passive or timid stance. Other times we’re the dog, capable of lashing out and standing up for ourselves. I loved the symbolism here.”

The Bridge Partner was shot over three days at a Women’s Club in Altadena, California, as well as locations in the San Fernando Valley. It was produced by Sean Barney and Cathleen Alexander with executive producers Jason Michael Berman and Andrew Carlberg. Olson praises the seasoned actors and crew who all brought their passion and utmost professionalism on and off the set.

“It was exciting to rehearse with Beth and Sharon for the first time,” effuses Olson. “They’re so good at what they do, and I loved the depth of thought they put into their characters. It was great to watch Robert step on set and bring the history of the marital relationship to life so beautifully. Crew-wise, I was able to bring a lot of talent from my work in commercials. DP Robby Baumgartner (The Guest and 2nd Unit DP on The Hunger Games and Argo) also brought his vast filmmaking experience beyond commercials and was an incredible collaborator. And [author] Peter S. Beagle was not only super supportive of my noir-ish interpretation of his story, but he also made a cameo in it.”

Currently Olson is planning to capture a larger online following for The Bridge Partner once the festival circuit is completed. He’s also developing several features and looking for other thriller scripts to direct.

For more info, including upcoming screenings, visit: thebridgepartner.com.

Synopsis:
A timid housewife is jolted into a fight for her survival — or her sanity — when her new weekly bridge partner whispers a threatening message.

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Debi Moore

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