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Sensitivity Training
Directed by
Melissa Finell

USA / 2016 / 87

East Coast Premiere

Screening Times and Venues:

Q&A Attendees
*subject to change:
Melissa Finell, Anna Lise Phillips
Serena, a workaholic microbiologist on the verge of a scientific discovery, is as abrasive and downright rude in her manner as she is brilliant in her research. When her insults seemingly result in tragedy, Serena is slapped with an ultimatum: submit to intense sensitivity training or we shut your lab down.

Reluctantly, Serena allows Caroline, a perpetually chipper sensitivity coach, to shadow her everywhere -- the lab, home, even her favorite pastime, the movies. As their relationship vacillates between combative and chummy, each struggles to remain true to her image. Nonetheless, in one another's presence, they ultimately discover who they really are.

With razor sharp, yet humorous dialogue, the characters are so well handled that what could be off-putting is, instead, endearing. While "Sensitivity Training" portrays two people of opposite temperament who in truth are surprisingly similar, their journey to becoming their true selves is completely universal. -- Svetlana Krotek

Melissa Finell is an award-winning director and screenwriter based in Los Angeles. "Sensitivity Training" is her first feature film and it premiered at the 2016 Los Angeles Film Festival. Her script for the film won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Production Grant and a Samuel Goldwyn writing award.

Finell's short film "Distaster Preparadness" was a semi-finalist for the Student Academy Awards and aired on PBS stations as part of KQED's Film School Shorts series. The film premiered at Palm Springs International ShortFest, where it was named an Audience Favorite. It also screened at Mill Valley, Cleveland, Frameline, and NewFest, won the Best Short Film Jury Award at the Seattle Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, and was selected for Best of Fest at Outfest and nominated for the Iris Prize.

Finell is a graduate of UCLA's MFA program in Film Directing and a 2014 Film Independent Project Involve Directing Fellow.

Cast/Featuring: Anna Lise Phillips, Jill Alexander, Quinn Marcus, Charles Haid, Amy Madigan
Executive Producer(s): Charles Haid
Producer(s): Melissa Finell, Megha Kohli
Director(s): Melissa Finell
Screenwriter(s): Melissa Finell
Cinematographer(s): Paul Cannon
Editor(s): David Egan
Production Designer(s): Richard H. Perry
Composer(s)/Music: Paul Chihara, Bryson Barnes
Sound Designer(s): David Raines
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The Woodstock Film Festival is a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization with a mission to present an annual program and year-round schedule of film, music, and art-related activities that promote artists, culture, inspired learning, and diversity. The Hudson Valley Film Commission promotes sustainable economic development by attracting and supporting film, video and media production.
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