Creator of Cathartic Realism genre of filmmaking
The young and charismatic Claire Chubbuck is healing the world, one film at a time. A Director and Producer, she’s the international award-winning creator of the ‘Cathartic Realism’ genre of filmmaking. Inspired by her parents, the late film director Lyndon Chubbuck and world renowned acting coach Ivana Chubbuck, Claire’s work is a mix of their life’s work and her goal is to take the shame out of the human experience by using the tool that changes culture most notably – film.
“I always dreamt of following in my father’s footsteps. There were very few female directors at the time and I was afraid that I didn’t have what it takes to break out in the business. Specifically, I didn’t have a penis. I decided to be practical and started my career on the studio side of creating content.”
However, life had other plans. After tragedy struck Claire’s personal life, her emotions needed an outlet and an office job wasn’t offering that. She thus joined the Ivana Chubbuck Studio and started teaching the Chubbuck Technique – an acting technique all about using your pain as fuel; and started directing as well. In 2021, her father passed away – right before her first short made it to theaters. Realizing the fragility of time, she decided to take her directing to the next level.
Since then, she has chosen to be part of the wave of women making their voices heard and changing the landscape of filmmakers. Her film portfolio is all about exploring trauma from the perspective of using it to win – a miscarriage brings a couple closer, a kidnapping forces a woman to find her power, erectile dysfunction shows a man he is looking for the wrong women, etc.
“Through the acting work done in the Chubbuck Technique along with the previous pieces of Cathartic Realism we have created, we have found that winning is an important part of taking back your pain. By attempting to overcome trauma through storytelling, we can find the beauty in our brokenness.”
This theme drives Claire’s work in her Cathartic Realism films, along with traditional narrative pieces. The thing they all have in common is really great acting because Claire asks her actors to use their pain to find purpose, instead of using it to self-destruct.
“Cathartic Realism is a process of filmmaking I created with my best friend, Sofia D’Marco, that uses Science and Art to empower survivors to find catharsis. It is based on the work my mother, Ivana Chubbuck, did in her acting technique that had Halle Berry thanking her at the Academy Podium. Then we added current research such as Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s Research on Trauma and Shame Resilience Theory by Brene Brown in order to increase the effectiveness of our approach.”
Today, Claire counts the creation of Cathartic Realism among her most cherished achievements. It all started with her 1st Cathartic Realism film – ‘How I lost my virginity’ – which also helped Sofia to heal from her trauma of being kidnapped and raped. When they showed the film in theatrical and festival settings, a number of people came up to them and shared that they had never told anyone about the abuse they experienced because of ‘shame’.
“Us telling the story in the way we did helped them ‘come out’. The positive impact that taping into Sofia’s shame to find beauty in her brokenness was so transformative that I felt we needed to bring this to the masses. The several cathartic realist pieces I have made since have resulted in the same catharsis that Sofia experienced.”
‘How I lost my virginity’ was just the beginning. Claire has made short form content that was broadcast internationally on Sundance Channel Intl and film festivals worldwide, along with producing documentary films and docuseries such as ‘Pussy riot: the movement’ and Vice’s “Search For”. Claire’s films such as ‘Corona viral monologues’, ‘A way home’, and “Resilient”, all of which have won numerous awards at film festivals across the globe.
We wonder what drives her passion, to which she replies – “I am passionate about connection, and using truth to get there. When I am directing, I am 100% focused on the actors. I have spent 10 years as an acting teacher, and another 5 as the VP of Chubbuck Studio. As a result, I know what works with actors, giving them both the direction and space to craft a performance that creates a meaningful connection to the story. My actors cannot get to the vulnerable places they need to go if they feel unsafe.”
Further adding how one can fail only if one quits, Claire reveals, “A big challenge I face in my line of business is that no one wants to talk about shame. Yet, the beauty of the domino effect when one person opens up, is incredible!”