NEW STRAINS Trailer & Poster: The Couple Stuck Together During A Lockdown While on Vacation, Stays Together?

Editor, Canada; Montréal, Canada (@bonnequin)
NEW STRAINS Trailer & Poster: The Couple Stuck Together During A Lockdown While on Vacation, Stays Together?

No doubt there were many couples, in the early days of their relationship, who found that relationship tested in a more unusual way, by the pandemic lockdown of these past few years. Some might have flourished; others survived a little worse for wear but intact, and likely some were irrevocable damaged. But take a filmmaker couple, add in a lot of creativity and DIY spirit, and you can get a film like New Strains.

Kallia and Ram have just begun their first vacation as a couple, and they’re already bickering. Though a strange new illness is on the brink of exploding into a pandemic, and despite Ram’s protestations, Kallia insists that they are going to have a fun week in New York City. Within hours of their arrival, a nation-wide lockdown is announced, ruining their plans. Over the course of their stay, they descend to absurd depths of jealousy and co-dependence. Is their childish behavior simply the result of cabin fever, or is it something more?

Shot during the COVID-19 lockdown in New York City, Artemis Shaw and Prashanth Kamalakanthan  — a married filmmaking couple who both teach in addition to their creative filmmaking, often collaborating in numerous capacities and roles — relied on improvised dialogue, a decades-old camcorder, no operator, and a full cast of non-professional talent. Shaw and Kamalakanthan wrote, starred, directed, shot, and edited the feature that been praised as “a glimmering indie diamond” (Screen Slate). New Strains was produced by Shaw and Kate Stahl for Parori Productions. The film world premiered at the 2023 Rotterdam International Film Festival, where it took home a Special Jury Award in the Tiger Competition.

In addition to the film’s anticipated release, the New Strains original soundtrack, featuring a score by composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Will Epstein, will release on June 5th on Spotify and Apple Music. The music was written, composed, recorded, and mixed from his Woodstock home using an odd bevy of instruments including several vintage toy keyboards, an iPhone, and his own distorted voice.

New Strains begins its U.S. theatrical rollout next month from Memory, with screenings at Roxy Cinema New York (June 13th), Nitehawk Cinema Williamsburg (June 15th & 16th), and Los Angeles’ Now Instant Image Hall (June 21st & 22nd), with a North American digital release to follow on Friday, July 19th. Check out the (NSFW) trailer and select images below.

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Prashanth KamalakanthanArtemis ShawCynthia TalmadgeComedyRomanceSci-Fi

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