Cassidy, Shatzky finish 'Francine'

While their feature docu bow “The Patron Saints” is set to world preem in Toronto Wednesday, co-helmers Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky of New York-based Pigeon Projects are not waiting in the wings.

The husband-and-wife duo just wrapped feature drama bow “Francine,” starring Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) as a recently released inmate who moves to an isolated small town and rejects human connection in favor of working with animals.

“We made (‘Francine’) as an ode to our own lingering feelings of detachment and the deep sense of salvation we’ve both always felt in the presence of animals,” the duo said in a joint statement. “Melissa Leo brought to the role of Francine just the kind of nuance and quiet ferocity that we were looking for in a protagonist.”

Pic was shot in Hudson Valley, N.Y., with Cassidy and Shatzky (Hurricane Katrina short “God Provides”) co-scripting and co-directing and Pigeon and Washington Square Films producing. The couple fly into post-production following the Toronto fest.”Saints” takes an unorthodox look at day-to-day life a nursing home for the aged and disabled, featuring narration from the home’s youngest resident.

The duo’s short docu and fiction films have screened at Sundance, Rotterdam, Toronto and Edinburgh film fests, as well as at museums and art galleries.

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