Shelli Ainsworth (Writer/Director) is a Minnesota-based artist whose work in experimental theater and film has earned her national recognition. She is the past recipient of grants and fellowships from ITVS, The Bush Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation. Ms. Ainsworth began her artistic career as a playwright working in experimental theater. With an extensive background as a playwright, director and multi-media artist, she was a frequent collaborator with the acclaimed Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis. Her plays were commissioned and produced by Red Eye Theater, Theatre Orange, Intermedia Arts, and Minnesota Public Television. Her screenplay, A Psychic Mom, was commissioned by the Independent Television Series (ITVS) for production as part of the TV Families series with James Schamus as the coordinating producer. A Psychic Mom aired in all major markets and was featured at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Ms. Ainsworth’s short narrative films have been seen in festivals and museums in the United States and Europe. Her featurette, This Is Destiny, produced in 1995, won the Director Award at the 1996 Charlotte Film and Video Festival. Spa a recent short film, premiered at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and has received several festival and public screenings. Stay Then Go is her first feature and is an official selection of numerous prestigious film festivals including Provincetown Film Festival, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, Palm Beach International Film Festival, and the Duluth/Superior Film Festival. While Ms. Ainsworth lives and works in Minneapolis, she has an affinity for the American South, particularly the central and coastal regions of Mississippi, where her father’s family lived and worked for many generations. Ms. Ainsworth has three children.
As Stay Then Go begins, Marion (Janel Moloney, The West Wing) awaits her only son Eddie (rising British star Matt Kane, The Last of Robin Hood) in the Emergency Room after a rollerblading tumble. Marion has always taken charge with Eddie, been there to protect him no matter what. But today, as a series of unusual events keep her frustratingly isolated from him, she is left alone to try to comprehend the twists and turns that brought her to this juncture. Once, Marion had been a young mother deeply in love with her husband Dick (Nicholas Bishop, Body of Proof). But when Eddie received the dismaying diagnosis of autism, Marion’s life suddenly veered in an unimagined direction. Determined to give her son the best possible chance, Marion transformed herself into a kind of 24-7 guide and interpreter for Eddie, mapping out step-by-step instructions for him to approach this beautiful, dangerous, and mysterious world and its routines that seemed to elude him. Unremitting, even obsessive, in her commitment to Eddie, who needed her so fully, she sacrificed almost everything else – her career, ultimately her marriage, and at times it seemed her every waking moment. But just as it seemed Eddie was finally turning a corner – becoming an artistically perceptive teenager grasping in his own way for independence – a sudden incident changed everything for mother and son. Now, as Marion waits in anxious limbo for Eddie, she begins to realize that after all these years of trying every which way to help her son, it is her son who can help her. In a reversal of everything she expected, it is Eddie pushing her to let go, while he heads into the terrifying, beautiful unknown of his own future.
October 16, 2014: Robinson Film Center, Shreveport, LA
October 17, 2014: Union College, Barbourville, KY
October 18, 2014: The Tennessee Valley Art Association/Ritz Theatre, Sheffield, AL
October 21, 2014: Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC
October 23, 2014: Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Madison, GA
October 24, 2014: City of Hapeville, Hapeville, GA