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Finding The Asshole


Finding The Asshole is a series of 3 short films created and directed by Melissa Stephens, co-created and produced by Tom DeTrinis, executive produced by Leslye Headland, and co-produced and starring Christine Woods. The short features are a Lynchian romp through a playful yet scathing social critique that is at once absurd and haunting and incredibly funny. The first of the three chapters will be screened at Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, January 25-29 2019, featured in the all-new Episodes category which focuses on the next generation of series storytellers who are distorting familiar story structures with unfiltered or unique setups and story arcs. Said Episodes program Co-Captain Craig Parish. “We continue to support and be excited by creators who are challenging perceptions and shaping their own art with fewer creative constraints than have traditionally been in place.”


In addition to the Episodes program screening at Slamdance, all three chapters will be released on Vimeo on January 25, 2019: the first day of the festival. 


Finding the Asshole explores the mundane minutiae of the human condition to show how we're all assholes. Chapter 1 explores the assholes of boutique clothing, Chapter 2 explores all the ways in which you can be an asshole when simply walking on a sidewalk, and Chapter 3 delves into parties and horror and all of the crossover asshole cliches lurking about. 


The series came about following Melissa Stephens’ first short film Peen (starring Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Christine Woods and Melissa Stephens) which premiered as a staff pick on Vimeo, tackling heavier gendered themes (Watch Peen Here). She came to Tom DeTrinis, explaining some other ruminations that had been haunting her about the absurd hilarity of humanity, with the objective of creating something beautiful and hilarious. DeTrinis agreed, so Stephens wrote and directed and DeTrinis produced. Drawing on influence and adoration for foreign films from Danish to UK and Korean works, Stephens has honed her specific cinematic voice throughout this series. She creates worlds and then allows the world and the camera to take part in the storytelling role. “It’s important as a female filmmaker and comedian to show how we can nail absurd comedy along with being in grounded reality. I love when someone gets the sadness and ridiculousness of this piece because it's like capturing a lightning bug in a bottle,” says Stephens. “I hope everyone laughs as hard as we did while making it, and I also hope they feel a little bit uncomfortable and confused because such is life.”

Executive Producer, Leslye Headland calls Stephens "a truly gonzo talent." Headland, a champion for diverse and female filmmakers and their unconventional content adds, "Finding The Asshole hits that artistic sweet spot between comedy and chaos. It transcends traditional sketch comedy to give audiences a wild experience with its feverish originality and social commentary. Melissa and her co-creator, Tom DeTrinis, have assembled a diverse and stellar team of collaborators who perform with manic enthusiasm."


Slamdance Screenings:
Saturday, January 26th at 7:15pm- Episodes Program in the Gallery
Tuesday, January 29th at 3:15pm- Episodes Program in the Gallery

For in-person media opp requests for cast and crew, contact Kathryn Musilek:



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