'Tangles and Knots,' by Renee Marie Petropoulos '17 Nominated for NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Award

Nina Mahesh
April 16, 2020

Tangles and Knots, written & directed by alumna Renee Marie Petropoulos '17 (pictured left), was nominated for both Best International Short Film & Best Performance in a Drama at the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Awards, which has been postponed currently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tangles and Knots follows the sticky, intimate relationship between a mother and a daughter that becomes threatened when the mother helps her teenage daughter throw a party to impress her new and popular friends.

The film is loosely based on Petropoulos’s relationship with her own mother. In an interview with Director’s Notes, Petropoulos said, “As a filmmaker, I’ve always been passionate about writing female driven stories and fascinated by the complicated bond between mother and daughter. While at Columbia, I was developing a few different projects exploring different versions of this special bond. So I decided to look inward and write a story based on my own unique relationship with my mother growing up. Our relationship is intimate, very open, flawed and of course, very complex.”

A white woman standing with headphones around her neck taking the scene in.

Of working with the nominated Leeanna Walsman, who played the mother character, Petropoulos said, “Casting is something I’m very passionate about (honestly it can make or break a film) and it was an absolute dream working with both Odessa Young and Leeanna Walsman... Leeanna Walsman is an Australian legend, I grew up watching her in Looking for AlibrandiStar Wars Ep II: Attack of the Clones and I loved her recent work in Wentworth, Dawn and Erin Good’s beautiful short film, My Mother Her Daughter. Leeanna takes on roles that are daring and complicated but it was the vulnerability in her performances that was paramount for the character of Michelle.”

The short has had much acclaim since its release. It played at the 2018 Berlinale Generation 14Plus Competition, SXSW, Palm Springs Shortsfest, Hollyshorts, Denver Film Festival, Athens International Film Festival and also in Petropoulos’s home country, Australia, at the Sydney Film Festival, St Kilda Film Festival, MIFF and Flickerfest. Petropoulos also won the Best Female Director Award at the Hollyshorts Film Festival for it.

Petropoulos was also recently a finalist at the Atlanta Festival Screenplay Competition for her short script Circles. Currently, while preparing for  Tangles and Knots online premiere, Petropoulos is writing a feature based on the film. She is also writing a horror feature set in Greece called The Love of Strangers and is in development on MASC, a web series exploring masculinity from the perspective of female identifying and non-binary filmmakers, supported by Screen Australia.  

Renée Marie Petropoulos is an award-winning filmmaker from Sydney, Australia. Her short films have received acclaim with nominations and screenings worldwide.  Since graduating with an MFA in Directing at Columbia University, Petropoulos has continued to push her cinematic practices with a focus on female-driven stories.

Two blond women taking a selfie