Can Progressives Live Up to Their Ideals

 Film explores the difficulties of walking the walk

Eugene, OR: In a single stroke Paul Bright’s latest film PAINTING THE LINE reveals the conundrum liberals confront on a daily basis: How to live morally uncompromised as a consumer while trying to fight climate change and rescue refugees from Syria.

Earnest and idealistic James (John Vaughan Lemhouse) surprises his older and wealthier wife (Heather McBride-Anders) with an original Diego Rivera painting which she rejects because of the painter’s infidelities to his wife Frida Kahlo. He fails to comprehend how artists’ personal lives can be used to critique their art. Though his wife supports political speeches at the Oscars, she refuses to see a Woody Allen film because of the director’s indiscretions.

In the final moment of the film James rages “Oh yes, we are living a life of moral righteousness, condemning the oil companies while driving a car!”

The film was inspired by an online social media thread and originally written for last year’s Northwest Ten short play competition. The film adaptation was produced in early 2017.

“It’s impossible to live in our society without paying money to corporations that do things progressives detest,” film writer/director Bright explains. “This was the impetus for the play and film. I even use the Buycott app on my phone at the grocery store to find out what political agendas I’m funding with my purchases. I’d starve if I kept to my moral diet.”

PAINTING THE LINE is underscored masterfully by the Isaac Ibéniz Suite española Op. 47 (Asturias) arranged for guitar and performed by Gordon Rowland. “After I finished the edit I began searching for music and considered bringing in a composer for underscoring,” Bright said. “I discovered Asturias, fell in love with it, and was stunned when it fit perfectly with the rhythm of the film. I used the entire piece un-edited. The synchronicity was extraordinary, as though I knew I was writing, filming and editing to the music before I’d ever heard it before.”

Casting the film presented a challenge because the older woman had to naturally exude wealth. The director elaborates “It’s difficult for an actress who has never actually lived as part the ultra-rich to understand they don’t flaunt money but simply expect comfort and convenience. Heather (McBride-Anders) nailed it. She evoked the hypocrisy of aspiring to live environmentally and socially conscientious while demanding a lifestyle of heavy consumption.”

John Vaughan Lemhouse, with his dashing looks and innocent face, fit the young husband’s role perfectly. His performance of a man eager to please while strangled by his wife’s expectations captures the essence of what most Millennials face today. The wealth of the older generation is out of their reach and the call for environmentalism rings hollow as they recognize abundance was generated through environmental destruction.

The short film (7 minutes) will be touring film festivals this year.

It is currently streaming online at