One of this year’s most powerful and inspired performances comes from Kate Nowlin in Blood Stripe, the story of a Marine vet (Nowlin) who is trying her best to acclimate to her daily life after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Directed by Remy Auberjonois, the feature won the Audience Award at the Austin Film Festival and the U.S. Fiction award at the LA Film Festival.
Simply known in the film as Our Sergeant (Nowlin), she finds herself in a loveless marriage (This Is Us actor Chris Sullivan is her husband) and is also suffering from PTSD. On a whim she visits the summer camp from her youth and finds gainful employment from the camp’s sole employee (Rusty Schwimmer). Though there are various characters who hover around Our Sergeant’s life, the story is mainly focused on her point of view and perceptions of reality.
“We found that the power from the beginning was staying right in her POV as much as possible,” said Nowlin. “We were tracking, in some ways, her perspective and her emotional life . . . and what she is capable of handling and where that release is and where it opens out into some peace and serenity and that where that is seized up by unpredictable threats and triggers in the world. We were going off of her as our compass and our heartbeat.”
Nowlin candidly added that the tone of the film was found during post production, as various dialogue sequences were cut. Sans any heavy handed exposition, the movie’s storytelling is often told through arresting visual compositions (the lake and surrounding wilderness play an important character in the story) and Sergeant’s laser focused physical activities. “It’s difficult to put words into these experiences,” said Nowlin, who added that a Marine Corps veteran was on set to give some valuable insight into Our Sergeant’s journey.
Click on the media bar to hear Nowlin talk about her physical preparation (she was on a strict training regimen for four months prior to production) for Blood Stripe:
Blood Stripe opens in Los Angeles Friday, October 13. For more info on the feature, go to its official site.