By Jeffrey Dunn ROVINELLI


First film - Completed 2016

A queer professional escort moves between cities and mental states as she attempts to kick her heroin habit, the lines between observation and performance and documentary and fiction becoming blurred along the way.

& Awards

FIDMarseille 2016
International Competition, awarded the Prix du CNAP
Jihlava IDFF 2016
BAFICI (Buenos Aires) 2017
Late Night
Art of the Real (NYC) 2017
    • Year of production
    • 2016
    • Genres
    • First film, Social issues, Documentary
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Duration
    • 83 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Jeffrey Dunn ROVINELLI
    • Writer(s)
    • Jeffrey dunn ROVINELLI, Em COMINOTTI
    • Producer(s)
    • Bill KIRSTEIN (100 Year Films), Jeffrey dunn ROVINELLI (JDR Films)
    • Synopsis
    • Following a heroin-addicted professional escort as she moves between New York City, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles, Empathy combines frank images of the actual labor of sex work with intimate portraits of her interpersonal life in an alternately humorous and harrowing look at a seldom depicted side of American life as well as a meditation on the performativity at the core of documentary filmmaking and the sex industry alike. Shot on a mixture of 16mm and HD digital video in luxuriant long takes, its disciplined style foregrounds the sensual texture of the everyday while playing with the conventions of narrative cinema, focussing on the profound interrelation of performance and identity within the socioeconomic fabric of the U.S. Written in close collaboration with its subject/star, Empathy marks the feature-length directorial debut for Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli, editor/producer of Bx46 (FID Marseille 2014).
Distribution Country
Release date
Local title
Company Country Roles