I directed, co-wrote, and produced this indie film with Jules Bruff on a shoestring budget. We won eightfilm festival awards and it is streaming on Amazon. I am currently in development on my next film with Jules Bruff called “The Good Side Of Bad.”
I was hired by Kim Waltrip to direct this music video for the up-and-coming artist Azhia Velazquez. It went on to win three music video awards: Best Music Video at AMFM Fest, Best Music Video at California Independent Film Festival, and Best Music Video at Laughlin International Film Festival.
I directed this short film for a fellow Bennington College alumni, Ryan O’Connor, who was the writer and executive producer. I decided the story would play better in French, so I cast actors who spoke both French and English. We shot for one day, switching between French and English, in an historic home in Pasadena. The English version is called “Beautiful,” but I prefer the French one.
I directed this short parody of “Orphan Black” and “Orange is the New Black” for Jennifer Sorenson, who wrote, produced and stars in all ten female rolls. We shot for two days in Orange County. It has won 2 film festival awards and has over 10,000 views. It has screened at Comic Cons all over the United States and Canada as fan fiction with GeekFest.
Orphan is The New Orange – facebook
I directed this sketch video for the AutocorrrectFU team. They take real text messages, that sound “wrong” because of the autocorrect feature and turn them into little skits.
I co-directed this fun little web show with Bobby R. Poirier a long time collaborator, friend and editor. Working with Hamish Linklater was a dream.
I directed and produced this pitch video and pilot to help Stephanie Stephens, the creator and host of the 30 min TV show “It’s About Time” market her idea to investors.
I co-produced this thriller with Kim Waltrip. We shot for 2 weeks in Palm Springs and I got to hire my husband, Shawn Dufraine to be the DP, along with other crew members from past films I directed.
I produced this promotional ad for the AMFM Festival. It went on to win an Emmy for “Best Short Form.”
I produced this Nissan spot for the AMFM Festival. Nissan was a sponsor of the festival and this ad ran on local networks leading up to the festival.
I co-produced this episode that aired on Funny OR Die.
I line produced the re-shoots for this film.
I line produced the re-shoots for this film.
Alethea Root is an award winning director and producer. Her first feature film, “Part Time Fabulous,” available on Amazon, won eight festival awards, including two “Audience Choice Awards,” the “Film 4 Change Award” as well as the “Exploring Humanity Award” for her directing. Her first music video “Lonely” won her three film festival awards for “Best Music Video.” She also produced the promo for AMFM Fest called, “A Love Story” which won an Emmy for “Best Short Form.”
Alethea got her start, in 11th grade, when she directed the comedy “13 Past Midnight” to great success. Not only did Alethea fall in love with directing, her production was the first at her high school to make a profit. She was hooked. She went on to be the student director on the spring musical, both Junior and Senior year, and again both saw a profit at the box office. After high school Alethea started working as a director for local productions, including her first paying gig as the director of an improv group that toured to local schools and colleges.
In addition to Alethea’s film credits her theatrical director credits include “Suburbia” for Barrington Stage Company, “Extremities” for Rail Road Street Youth Project, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” for Lennox Middle School, and an original play, “Seneca’s Children” at Bennington College, which was awarded the top honor of being one of only two plays that semester to be fully produced by the college.
After moving to Los Angeles, Alethea got her start in film production as a production designer. She is best known for her work on the Academy Award Winning short film “West Bank Story,” and the Emmy Winning web-show, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” directed by Joss Whedon. She has Production Designed several feature films, and countless music videos and commercials. View her Production Design work.
Alethea currently serves on Woman In Film’s Executive Committee for their PSA program. She has several features in development and is committed to telling paradigm shifting stories that help elevate the human condition.
Berkshire International Film Festival’s Sixth Wraps in Style
The “Part Time Fabulous” team: actor Jules Bruff, Great Barrington-born director Alethea Root, and producer Don Presley.
The late-night crowd gathered at Fiori to celebrate Great Barrington filmmaker Alethea Root’s homecoming with her directorial debut, “Part Time Fabulous,” which won the Festival’s Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature.
‘Part Time Fabulous,’ On the Ice, !Woman Art Revolution
Berkshire Fine Arts
A Berkshire native, Alethea Root’s career as a director started at Monument High School. Standing in front of the Beacon Cinema in Pittsfield, Massachusetts just before the Sunday morning screening of her first feature film, “Part Time Fabulous,” Root commented that the play she directed was the “first to make a profit” for the high school.
Let’s hope that luck prevails for the compelling and insightful film she wrote with Jules Bruff, who stars in the film as a woman suffering from clinical depression. That’s defined as a state of depression and anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure from normally enjoyable activities, that is so severe that it requires clinical intervention. When Bruff, who is also from the Berkshires, joined the dialogue, they agreed that the film has a narrowly-targeted subject and potential audience, but they want “to make films that matter.”
Flixster Review of ‘Part Time Fabulous’
When you put the word, “Fabulous,” in a movie title, you’re setting the bar pretty high. Even if you qualify it with a “Part Time,” you’ve got expectations to consider. “Part Time Fabulous” will fulfill those expectations and then some, but maybe not quite like you would expect per your…expectations.
Berkshire Film Festival Transforms a Town, a Season
The Boston Globe
Great Barrington native Alethea Root, now pursuing a filmmaking career in Los Angeles, celebrates her homecoming with “Part Time Fabulous,’’ screening on Friday and Sunday. Aiming to dramatize the effects of clinical depression, her directorial debut is based on the personal experience of producer-star Jules Bruff. “I think a lot of people who go through clinical depression really don’t talk about it to people, so it is misunderstood,’’ Root says. “Jules had never really told anybody the things that she told me, and that I put into this movie.’’
Berkshire Native Alethea Root’s Feature Film Addresses Silent Epidemic of Depression
Berkshire Film Commission
Great Barrington-born Alethea Root returns home to screen her directorial debut, “Part Time Fabulous,” a feature film she made with Jules Bruff (TIXE Films) and Don Presley (Truth 13 Productions) in partnership with Eleonore Daily and Cheryl Stewart (howUNoriginal Productions). The film addresses the silent epidemic of depression.
This compelling feature-length film weaves its tale of love, pain, and healing by chronicling the hidden struggles and controversial perspectives of real-life depression survivors against a modern love story. The film is proudly supported by the National Alliance for Mental Illness Berkshire County Chapter (NAMI) and was inspired by Bruff’s intensely personal experience with clinical depression—she was diagnosed at the age of 20 and battled the disorder in secret for years.
“Part Time Fabulous” celebrated its world premiere at the Monaco International Charity Film Festival, where creator and lead actor Jules Bruff was honored with a “Best Actress in a Narrative Feature” award for her portrayal of a woman coming to grips with her depression.
The production team began principal photography for the film in November 2009 and continued through May 2010. Bruff and Root documented more than 200 hours of personal accounts from 25 depression survivors across California. These real-life experiences are woven throughout the intense and modern love story surrounding the main characters, Mel (Jules Bruff) and Don (Bjorn Johnson).
The Berkshire’s own award-winning folk singer Meg Hutchinson lent her poignant song, “Being Happy,” to the trailer. “Part Time Fabulous” will screen on Friday, June 3 at 9 p.m. at the Triplex Cinema #2 and on Sunday June 5 at 11:15 a.m. at the Beacon Cinema. For more information on the film, cast, and crew, please visit the website for “Part Time Fabulous“; for screening information and festival passes, please visit the website for the Berkshire International Film Festival.
nthWord Interview with Filmmakers Jules Bruff and Alethea Root
A conversation with independent filmmakers Jules Bruff and Alethea Root on their narrative feature, “Part Time Fabulous”:
nthWORD: Your website mentions the World Health Organization’s projection of depression reaching second place in the ranking of “Global Burden of Disease/Leading Cause of Disability Worldwide” by 2020. One of the early taglines for the film was, “Exposing the truth about her dirty little secret.” Can you talk about this choice of language when referring to clinical depression?
JB: I can’t remember who came up with “dirty little secret,” me or Alethea, but it’s something that has been in the dark and people have been ashamed of having it, or of a family member having it.
AR: We actually toiled with “the dirty little secret” because our whole point of making this film was to take away that it’s dirty, or to take away that it’s a secret, but that is what we were coming up against: that nobody wants to talk about depression, so it is a dirty little secret. Our hope is to change that perception and start a conversation where people can talk about it and not be afraid or ashamed.
nthWORD: How did words like disease and disability impact your making of the film? This secret implies shame, it implies guilt, it implies stigma. Can you talk about that?
JB: There’s so much stigma around clinical depression—and mental illness in general—but our focus is clinical depression, and it seems like people who have it are embarrassed that they have it, and they don’t feel comfortable saying that it’s a disease and a disability. I think a lot of people who have it think it’s their fault.
(Note: nthWord is no longer published.)
The Six Questions
Who: Jules Bruff, a Montclair native, living in Los Angeles
What: Bruff is a Hollywood actress who has worked in more than 40 commercials, network television shows and feature films including David Fincher’s “Zodiac.” She recently finished writing and producing an indie film on depression (in which she also acts) called “Part Time Fabulous.”
When: Bruff’s interest in acting started at 7 when her parents enrolled her in a class at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. She landed her first role at 11, playing Woodstock in the Julia Morgan theater production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” “I was just a bird, but that didn’t deter me,” says Bruff, who adds they probably gave her a part with no vocals because she couldn’t sing.
Where: Bruff went to elementary school at Joaquin Miller, Corpus Christi and Bishop O’Dowd, where she took honors English, which helped her develop writing and storytelling skills. “I’m an Oakland girl to the core and am somehow surviving and thriving in the concrete jungle of L.A.,” she says.
Why: Bruff is successful because she’s involved in a number of different projects.Her latest endeavor is probably closest to her heart. She made “Part Time Fabulous” to unveil the dark cloud that surrounds mental illness. “Growing up I felt I had it all together and then I got sick. My message to the community is don’t be ashamed of it … help is out there.”
How: Bruff feels unknown artists now have a chance to break into the business and have their work seen, appreciated and maybe even rewarded monetarily. “The entertainment industry is going through the kind of changes seen in the music industry,” she says, with the internet being called “The Wild West” for film and television artists.
Oakland Native Makes Film About Battle with Depression
East Bay Times
Jules Bruff’s aspirations of making it big in Hollywood as an actress, writer, producer or director—perhaps all four—has just become intensely personal.
She has turned the camera on herself.
Bruff, an Oakland native, is starring in “Part Time Fabulous,” an 80-minute movie that she plans to enter in the Sundance Film Festival on Sept. 20—or in as many film festivals as it takes to achieve recognition.
Bruff also is the film’s co-writer and co-producer. The director is Alethea Root.
The movie’s subtitle, “Exposing the truth about her dirty little secret,”suggests someone who’s been living with something awful for a long time. That someone would be Bruff. Her dirty little secret? Clinical depression. She was diagnosed with it at age 20.
“It’s semi-autobiographical, this story,” she said last Friday at the Thornhill Coffee House upon returning to Oakland for a weekend visit with her family. “It’s a hybrid of a narrative story and a documentary.”
Narrative Documentary Hybrid Film Exposes The Secrets of Depression
Production team: Producer/Co-writer/Director: Alethea Root; Executive Producer/Producer/Co-Writer/Lead Actor: Jules Bruff; Producers: Don Presley and Eleonore Dailly; Cinematography: Justin Duval; Editor: Bobby R. Poirier; Production Design: Lee Tosca; Costume Design: Marlene Guidara; Sound Design: Lauren Farley; Documentary Cinematography: Shawn Dufraine; Score: Patrick Soluri; Casting: Emily Hope Webster
About the film: “Literally and figuratively, one morning I awoke determined to face my personal battle with depression. Having been diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 20, I have alternately felt confused, angry, embarrassed, sad, responsible, hopeless, ashamed, and alone. I lived within that world of emotions, living with my depression without reaching out for information or a community. I kept my diagnosis and my experience close to my chest. My nuclear family and only a very select few friends knew about my problem, but only what I felt comfortable telling them. I never let anyone into the heart of my very real illness…I hope our film, “Part Time Fabulous,” will help illuminate what it can be like to live with clinical depression. Once you’ve seen it, please spread the word. In making this film I discovered that most people I spoke with had a family member or friend whose life had been adversely affected by depression. I want to spread the word: depression isn’t your fault, nor should you be ashamed of it…help is available.”
— Jules Bruff
Current status: The team is currently in post-production on the film. The sound editor/mixer and composer are working on the film currently, with color correction to follow. They hope to be included in the Sundance ‘11 NEXT FEST.
Part Time Fabulous – Tackles The Stigma Associated with Clinical Depression
Jules Bruff (writer/producer/lead actor), Alethea Root (writer/director/producer), Don Presley (producer) and Eleonore Dailly (producer) are in the final two months of post-production on their feature film, “Part Time Fabulous” (PTF). They are in the home stretch! Their goal is to reach as many people as possible with their story. In order to do that, they need the best film possible, which is why they are asking you for help. It is time to unveil the stigma associated with clinical depression: help is out there and you are not alone if you are living with clinical depression.
PTF combines narrative and documentary to weave its story of love, hurt and healing. PTF explores and exposes what it is like to live with and manage clinical depression. The film follows Mel (Jules Bruff), a young woman who suddenly falls in love with a man on vacation (Bjørn Johnson). So taken with each other, he moves in with her twelve days later. It’s not until then that her deep-rooted and untreated clinical depression reveals itself. Her inability to deal with her illness pushes a wedge between them and ultimately breaks them apart. Mel is forced to finally face her disease alone. In the quest to heal herself, she sets out to make a documentary that exposes her truth, and the heart felt truth of others dealing with clinical depression.