What Lies West, the new film from Bay Area filmmaker Jessica Ellis, will hit VOD services on May 11 from Passion River Films.
A contemporary coming-of-age drama set in the midst of a lush northern California summer, What Lies West tells the story of new grad Nicolette (Nicolette Ellis) desperate for work, so she takes a summer job “babysitting” a sixteen-year-old Chloe (Chloe Moore), who’s suffocating under her mother’s over-protective rules. Together, they set out on their biggest adventure yet: a four-day hike from the backwoods of Sonoma County to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
Chloe and Nicolette have nothing in common. Nothing at all, that is, until Chloe starts dragging her on longer
and longer hikes every day. Nicolette soon susses out that she is not just enjoying the excellent weather
outdoors. Her recalcitrant, reluctant summer partner has a secret plan….one that might play into Nicolette’s
own need to stand out from the crowd if she wants to sneak her way into Hollywood.
Says Ellis, “My aim with What Lies West was to expand our canon of films about female friendship. Thanks to movies and television, I found myself extremely adept at socializing with men as a young woman – men were my friends and romances; I learned by cultural osmosis how to relate to them. Despite having three sisters, however, I struggled to see other women as real friends.”
Deftly exploring the awkwardness of navigating female friendships, What Lies West examines the importance of learning to live with and manage anxiety, and what’s at stake when our lives are starved of true self-discovery and confidence.
The film was written and directed by Ellis, produced by Sean Carroll and Jennifer S. Milliman, edited by Matt Coleshill and shot by Sean Carroll.