DEDALUS is a fiction triptych portraying community, love, and loss. 1) In rural Iowa, a grocery cashier watches helplessly as classmates conceal their act of sexual violence against his teenaged step-sister. Will she keep the child? 2) A hustler tricks for food, shelter, and intimacy during a winter in New York City.  A young woman takes him in, but nothing satiates his unrequited love for an older gay client. 3) Mortality compels a father to leave his home in Los Angeles and move in with his daughter.

Jonah Greenstein‘s slow-panned feature debut laces loneliness with beauty to create a film of startling cinematic intimacy. The focus is more on the imagery, than the dialogue. In fact, the first words aren’t even spoken until about 10-minutes into the feature. The abrupt cuts between the three separate stories are indicated by the number of dots, one to three. Other than that viewers maybe confused with the introduction of new characters and a new plot. This allows viewers to question what’s going on, and wait for answers. Answers that may never be addressed, yet the story will continue to captivate the mind into thinking, what’s next.

The film was developed in collaboration with the communities depicted and thus shaped a story that transcends the individual and embraces collectivity. Greenstein used both professional and non-professional actors cast through an open call throughout regional school and community theatre programs in New York and Iowa, as well as the same gay chat apps that inspired the film. Greenstein’s style is marked by an ensemble of richly detailed characters, minimal dialogue, with a reliance instead on complex, nuanced imagery that emphasizes characters over plot.

Parts of the film are a modular series of encounters while others are entirely unscripted. Greenstein’s experience editing vérité documentaries has taught him to continue the writing process through post-production, continually building and rebuilding story structure and meaning that is informed by the footage. 

Now available from First Run Features., who are known for releasing independent film productions since 1979.

Director Jonah Greenstein is an independent filmmaker. DEDALUS is his feature directorial debut. In 2019, he became one of the youngest contributors to the Whitney Biennial, as the editor of TRIPLE CHASER, a collaboration between Forensic Architecture and Laura Poitras, narrated by David Byrne. His other collaborations with Poitras include RISK (Cannes ’16), featuring Julian Assange, and installations at Manifesta and at the Whitney Museum. He edited Jenny Perlin’s short documentaries DOUBLEWIDE (Berlinale ’20) and FORTITUDE. He was associate editor on the Emmy-winning CRIME + PUNISHMENT (Sundance ’18). His work with Josh Begley – CONCUSSION PROTOCOL and BEST OF LUCK WITH THE WALL – has screened at MoMA, IFC, and Pink Floyd’s live show. He was assistant editor for Richard Mosse’s THE ENCLAVE (Venice Biennale ’13), and he frequently works with Art21 .

Cast Biographies

Alexander Horner had no acting experience when writer/director Jonah Greenstein discovered him and cast him as the unforgettable, haunted lead in part two of DEDALUS.

Thomas Jay Ryan is an American stage and film actor. He may be best known for his starring role in 1997’s HENRY FOOL, and its sequels FAY GRIM and NED RIFLE. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ryan attended Carnegie Mellon University and has worked in such theaters as Guthrie in Minneapolis
and Yale Repertory in New Haven. In addition, he has worked with avant-garde playwright Richard Foreman and played roles ranging from Dracula to Degas. He has supporting roles in a variety of films, including STRANGE CULTURE, TEKNOLUST, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, THE BOOK OF LIFE, and DREAM BOY. He played pioneering gay activist Harry Hay in the initial production of the play THE TEMPERAMENTALS in 2009 in New York. In 2016, Ryan played Thomas Putnam in Ivo van Hove’s production of Arthur Miller’s THE CRUCIBLE at the Walter Kerr Theatre on Broadway. Recently, he reunited with van Hove for WEST SIDE STORY, also on Broadway.  

Ashley Robicheaux is a choreographer, performer, and teacher based in Los Angeles and Nashville. After studying dance at NYU, she joined the cast of SLEEP NO MORE. From 2011-2017, she presented her own works at venues including The Irondale Theater, National Sawdust, Gelsey Kirkland Theater, and Peridance Capezio Center. In 2017, she was an artist in residence at “The Hollows”, where she created an immersive mixed media performance,
MATTRESS. She has worked as choreographer and movement coach for musicians such as Maggie Rogers, Lennon Stella, FKA Twigs, Billie Eilish, and Avril Lavigne, and was the assistant choreographer for the MUSE Simulation World Tour 2019. Her commercial work has represented brands including Gucci, Tatras, and TNT.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.