February 2021
Need that Consumes a World
Local filmmaker wins international awards

The dancer is anything but your typical ballerina — no buff-colored leotard, matching tutu or leggings, no hair pulled back in a tight bun. Instead she has raven black punk-style hair and a steampunk outfit, torn nylons and a black mask covering her eyes. She’s beautiful, mystical, magical, elegant, and mysterious with each evocative movement.

The compelling and mesmerizing story left me wanting more from this refreshing short film. Mistress of Tears pulled me into her world, making me forget everything around me. I didn’t want to leave.

Nicole A. Romine wrote, choreographed, and directed. “The film tells the story of the Mistress — her need to seek outside herself to fill the void she feels within. The Mistress of Tears is the addict; seductive as greed can be, yet shabby. She craves light and drinks the tears of others because she cannot shed her own. She is a victim caught in her own prison of blind need.”

Romine is an international award-winning director and choreographer. As I talk with her about Mistress her face lights up and she gets animated, her voice passionate as she explains that the story has been in the making for years, stemming from her own journey through life.

“Dance is my first language. Dance is about learning to live from the inside out,” she says, speaking from the experience of dancing since age eight. “It’s about forgetting our small sense of self and becoming a part of something larger, because only then is one free to become the dance.”

Her first film, ing, also won international honors. Mistress of Tears is her second, made right here in Prescott. Romine pulled in top talent for it, including composer Dave Klotz, dancer Alisa Sinteral-Smith as Mistress, and cinematographer JJ Bukowski.

Mistress was selected from thousands of submissions from all over the world for the 18th Signes de Nuit International Film Festival in Paris, where it had its world premiere. From there it won official selection for screening at several film festivals, including Cannes, Venice, Istanbul, Montreal, Vienna, Tokyo, and the list goes on.

The film took honors at the White Unicorn International Film Festival in India, and Romine won Best Director at the Eastern Europe International Film Festival, the Prague Indie International Film Festival, and again at l’Age d’Or International Arthouse Film Festival. The film continues to compete and win, recently taking Best Original Score at the New York Movie Awards.

I hope to see more of Nicole Romine’s films, in particular, the further story of Mistress of Tears as it continues to unfold. 

Check out the film trailer here.

Photo by ChrisMarchetti.

Anne Glasser is a homeschooling mom of two teens who's passionate about all things LGBTQ+.

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