Esme, My Love director Cory Choy had two inspirations for his feature debut, an award-winning mother-daughter story of a woman who takes her distant daughter on a trip to their abandoned family farm when she sees symptoms of a terminal and painful family illness.
The first inspiration was hearing someone’s very personal story of seeing a mysterious figure following their daughter through their home — and realizing that the mysterious person was an angel.
The second inspiration came when Choy — who is a sound mixer, producer and owner of New York City’s Silver Sound — traveled upstate to Hague, New York, for a music video. The family that owned the property where the shoot was taking place told him about a great-great grandmother who was almost abducted as a child, but was saved when a neighbor recognized her by her bright red hair.
Esme, My Love doesn’t directly retell either story. But Choy and co-writer Laura Allen kept them close to their hearts as they plotted their haunting tale of Esme (Audrey Grace Marshall) and Hannah (Stacey Weckstein).
Cory Choy Started With Sound for Esme, My Love
As a sound mixer since his early teens, Choy started out by recording all of the dialogue, then shot most of the film in the dark and hypnotic woods of upstate New York. The team then re-recorded the dialogue again once Choy saw how the actors performed it in the wild.
The approach has paid off: Among many awards, Esme, My Love won best thriller/suspense film, best director for Choy and best cinematographer for Fletcher Wolfe at the Cannes World Film Festival. Wolfe also won best cinematographer at the Richmond International Film Festival and the iHollywood Film Festival.
Additionally, the film won best psychological thriller at the Manhattan Film Festival, Weckstein won best female actor in a feature at the Something Wicked Film Festival, and both Weckstein and Marshall won the audience award for best actress in a feature film at the iHollywood Film Festival, where Marshall also won the audience award for best supporting actress.
Marshall’s acting is especially impressive given that she was nine years old at the time of filming. The young actor, who was nominated for a SAG award as part of the ensemble cast of The Flight Attendant and who stars in The Fairly Oddparents: Fairly Odder on Paramount+, earned praise from The Independent Critic‘s Richard Propes, who wrote:
“Esme, My Love soars on the strength of Audrey Grace Marshall’s rather miraculous performance as Esme. Marshall… occasionally gives off early Abigail Breslin vibes yet always makes this character her own and serves up a performance that deserves to be seen far and wide. If she wasn’t already an up-and-comer, I’d be shouting from the rooftops that Hollywood needs to take notice.”
The film has earned distribution from Terror Films, which will release it on June 2 via VOD platforms including Tubi, Amazon Apple, and Google Play, with more to be announced.
Cory Choy and Silver Sound are close collaborators with MovieMaker Production Services, so we strongly vouch for his vision and artistry. We can’t wait for everyone to see – and hear — the film’s artistry for themselves.
Main image: Audrey Grace Marshall in Esme, My Love.