Iris Fraser-Gudrunas is a Toronto-based filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist.
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When Odessa returns home to visit her father, he piques her interest with what he calls an operatic tale; Odessa learns of Brother Frank, an 85-year-old monk and sole habitant of a 390-acre monastic estate near her hometown. The monk’s church wants to sell the property and put him in a home, but Brother Frank is adamant about staying. Acting against his 70-year-long vow of poverty, he opens a bank account for the first time in his life, in hopes of buying the farm and living out his days in the Monastery. The church ostracizes him, but he remains on the property on Squatters Rights.
Spurred by the tale, Odessa decides to visit the monk, hoping to ask Brother Frank to be in a video essay she would like to make about craft and handwork, art forms that are close to her heart and that she feels are disappearing in the digital age.
Coincidences and recurring imagery float by Odessa’s awareness, but her young insecurity holds her back from capturing all the poignant moments on film. As Odessa and Frank bond over their mutual enthusiasm for craft and music as humble pastimes, the sunlight streams in and lights their gentle conversations in ways that make Odessa wish she were more brave with her camera. Through jilted conversation, Odessa finds out more about Frank’s unfortunate situation with the monastery he refuses to leave, until an unexpected turn of events changes the course of her visit.