Ileana Pietrobruno

Director, Scriptwriter, Producer, Editor
Montreal , QC
Quebec CA
Lives in
Vancouver , BC
British Columbia CA

Director, scriptwriter, producer, editor. After several prizewinning experimental shorts, Montreal-bred, McGill- and SFU-trained, Vancouverite Pietrobruno made two deliriously stylized short features which were standards on the queer festival circuit and broke into the mainstream international festivals but failed to follow through into broader distribution. Her first feature Cat Swallows Parakeet and Speaks! (1996, 75) is a feminist gothic narrative, eerily subjective and lusciously stylized in both black and white and colour, about a paranoid model and an anorexic ballerina bonding within a creepy hospital (shot on location in an abandoned asylum). Along the way the film probes tabloid narrative and women’s body issues from eating disorders to menstruation. Liz Czach, programmer for TIFF 1996, was effusive: “Part feminist fable, part surreal dream and part horror flick, this hallucinatory first feature shows Pietrobruno is a director full of promise.” Pietrobruno’s next feature was seven years in the waiting: Girl King (2003, 80), a gender-bending buccaneer flick that charmed queer festival audiences with its swashbuckling butch-femme comic strip sensibility plus multi-racial casting. Xtra!’s Rachel Giese opined “Post-queer and post-feminist (and post just about everything else), it manages to tackle the complicated terrain of gender with insight and humour (15 May 2003).” Meanwhile, Pietrobruno edited five West Coast NFB documentaries, including Padgett’s two 2001 queer works for youth In Other Words and Sticks and Stones.