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a feature film by erica fae


“fae’s film displays a gift for both masterful composition and mesmerizing drama as she imparts this involving story of an embattled woman relegated to the fringes of society but determined to be respected.” - women in film & tv vancouver

"a truly exquisite film... portraying the challenges that come with cracking the glass ceiling..." - vox magazine


"from start to finish... a work by a visionary artist" - fipresci 

"a purity of style, a remarkable sense of place and time, that seems long matured and yet the beginning of something new and exciting... the revelation of a new directing talent.” - camera lucida

a gripping portrait... wonderfully mysterious... fae’s abbie is an entrancing blend of delicacy and strength... just stunning.” - santa fe new mexican 

"beautifully shot, building tension against the harsh landscape... fae proves to be a true new talent.” - nashville scene

"gorgeously shot and intimately written... mesmerizing... a stunning portrait... it’s easy to see why fae has rightfully been anointed as an emerging talent." - the washingtonian

"quietly mesmerizing...the film takes on an ingmar bergman feel in the second half... its beauty and confidently methodical pacing..." - orlando weekly

"with this her first feature film, i sincerely hope fae continues her work in the cinematic arts... an early candidate for my top films of 2016.” - cinema365

"a poignant expression of the ignored and uncredited contribution of women in the 1870s..." - the maneater

"weds stunning visuals to the compelling story of a lighthouse keeper’s wife caring for her husband, their home and herself...” - columbia tribune

"a glimpse into the lives of often forgotten heroines..." - williamette week

"a unique film with a fascinating lighthouse-keeper heroine..." - indiewire

"a kind of synchronic beauty..." - culturecapital dc

"a unique film with a fascinating heroine who is as sturdy and distinctive as the maine coastline where the story takes place...” - ktvz


i still think tammy banister at vancouver international film festival described the film best with her film catalogue text:

The setting, captured with arrestingly atmospheric cinematography, is an isolated island along the windswept coast of Maine. There, salt-of-the-earth homesteader Abbie is left to her own devices while caring for her bedridden husband, the lighthouse keeper. When a seafaring European washes ashore, Abbie fears she may have caused his ship to crash. Now also nursing this foreigner, Abbie is tasked with keeping the household afloat and working the evening shifts at the lighthouse—a post forbidden to women at the time. She finds purpose in this new role, but secrets once submerged in the Atlantic waters threaten to resurface, putting her opportunity for independence in jeopardy.

Set in 1867, and amalgamated from the true stories of female lighthouse keepers, To Keep the Light is an empowering assertion of womanhood. It illustrates the complexity of loss and offers an untold (her)story of women’s liberation in an era when they were meant to be seen and not heard. As writer, director and lead actress, Erica Fae is like a shimmering light through the fog. She delivers a layered and restrained performance, deconstructing the inner workings of a strong, sensual and stoic woman bumping up against the glass ceiling of her time. (VIFF)



FIPRESCI PRIZE/international critics' award - mannheim heidelberg

BEST DIRECTOR award - berlin independent film fest

BEST OF SHOW prize - bendfilm

2 BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE awards - ojai film fest & port townsend film fest

BEST EMERGING DIRECTOR award - st louis intl film fest

2 BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY awards - woods hole film fest & las vegas film fest

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