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Things Don't Stay Fixed

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Things Don't Stay Fixed
Directed by
  • Bo Bartlett
  • Betsy Eby
Produced by
  • Betsy Eby
  • Stacy Cunningham
Written by
  • Bo Bartlett
  • Sandra Deer
  • William Gregory Lee
  • Tara Ochs
  • Brenda Bynum
  • Desi Evans
  • Melissa Saint-Amand
Music by
  • Betsy Eby
  • Dustin O’Halloran
  • Jane Antonia Cornish
  • Lola Marsh
CinematographyBryan Fowler
Edited byMatt Garner
Running Stag Productions
Distributed byIndican Pictures
Release date
  • February 12, 2021 (2021-02-12)
CountryUnited States

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Things Don’t Stay Fixed is a 2021 American Southern Gothic drama film. It is the first feature film by husband-and-wife team Bo Bartlett and Betsy Eby. The film tells the story of a worldly photojournalist returning to the Deep South to stop his daughter’s wedding and save her future, only to find that it is he who has been stuck in the past.[1]


Things Don’t Stay Fixed follows a photojournalist, Sam Grace (William Gregory Lee), as he returns home to the Deep South in an attempt to stop his daughter, Nina (Melissa Saint-Amand), from what he sees as a misguided marriage. Sam’s return home becomes more telling as he discovers that he’s the one that has been stuck in the past all along.[2]

There are many parallels between the experiences of Sam Grace and Bartlett's own life. Sam returns to his wife’s family home much in the way Bartlett, and his artist wife Betsy Eby returned to Columbus in 2012 to live in Bartlett’s childhood home. “Andrew Wyeth taught me how to be inspired by your own life, by your experiences, and how to get it into the work,” says Bartlett.[3] “At its heart, this is a film about grief, and finding joy and beauty in the midst of it,” says star Melissa Saint-Amand.[3]


  • William Gregory Lee as Sam Grace
  • Tara Ochs as Kate Hampton
  • Brenda Bynum as Agnes Hampton
  • Desi Evans as Chris
  • Melissa Saint-Amand as Nina Grace
  • Lorenzo Battle as Nathan
  • Yolanda Sewell as Miriam
  • Lucy Sheftall as Victoria Partee
  • David Silverman as Ben Partee
  • Jonah C. Miller as William White
  • Jackie Prucha as Miz Nestor
  • Luann Brown as Mrs. Baker
  • Ta’Varis Wilson as Reverend Lewis
  • Neal Brumbeloe as Mr. Jenkins
  • Butch Anthony as Light Man
  • Trenton A. Thompson as Boy Clark
  • Jase Shehane as Harley
  • Ishmael Harris McKinstry as Police Officer


In exploring the passage of time, the film is intentionally ambiguous in its time setting. As Bartlett explains, “It is kind of a classic film that is not set in time. It is not set exactly in the ’60s, or exactly in the ’80s or exactly now. Other than a few cars here and here, it could be any time.”[4]

Things Don’t Stay Fixed is a surreal and subtle hero’s journey, drawing inspiration from the Southern Gothic literary works of Tennessee Williams and Carson McCullers. With dreamlike imagery and a painterly stream of consciousness, the film both evokes and bends the Southern genre of films such as Cool Hand Luke, Driving Miss Daisy, and Beasts of the Southern Wild.[1]Bo Bartlett co-wrote the screenplay for Things Don’t Stay Fixed with playwright Sandra Deer in the 1980s, as Bartlett received a Certificate in Filmmaking from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. While it was optioned in Hollywood, the film was never produced until now. Bartlett and Eby worked as co-directors and producers on the film, as they have on previous documentary projects, Snow Hill (1995) and SEE: An Art Road Trip (2013). As the product of visual artists, Eby describes the film as “the biggest painting we have ever made. ... a very visual film and a smart screenplay.”[4] The film also features original music by Eby.[1]

Before he began production on Things Don’t Stay Fixed, Bartlett sought out the advice of fellow Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts alum and painter-turned-filmmaker David Lynch. Lynch gave Bartlett two pieces of advice. "He said, 'Only work with people you like,' then he said, 'Focus on the doughnut, not the hole.' It was wonderful, obtuse advice, but we made a big mantra of it on the wall."[5] In response, Bartlett "kept working, kept moving, and things fell into place.”[3]

Things Don’t Stay Fixed is set and filmed in Bartlett’s native Columbus, Georgia and was done in conjunction with the Georgia Film Academy with an all-Georgia cast.[4] [6] Bartlett said, "To me, there’s nothing worse than having a bunch of Hollywood actors trying to fake Southern accents. So we had all Southern actors.” [7] The film is distributed by Indican Pictures and was released in select theaters on February 12, 2021 and on streaming platforms on February 16, 2021.[1]


On Amazon Prime Video, Things Don't Stay Fixed has an average rating of 4.9/5 based on 26 reviews.[8]

Felicity Feaster of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution called the film "visually accomplished — a bit grandiose — with a romantic, timeless vision of the South." [3]

Peter Rainer of FilmWeek had a more mixed review, saying "It's a pretty minor movie with some nice touches around the edges... The director has some gift for atmosphere that could be better utilized with a better script."[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Running Stag Productions". Running Stag Productions. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  2. "Things Don't Stay Fixed Trailer". The Bo Bartlett Center. 2021-01-20. Retrieved 2021-02-01.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Feaster, Felicia; AJC, For the. "Georgia painter Bo Bartlett makes his first feature film". ajc. Retrieved 2021-03-13.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Williams, Chuck (20 June 2017). "Columbus artist Bo Bartlett keeps it local for his first feature-length film". Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved 1 February 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "Bartlett forges ahead on Lynch's advice". Arkansas Online. 2021-03-05. Retrieved 2021-03-13.
  6. "On Location: Years-in-the making "Things Don't Stay Fixed" finally has its day". ARTS ATL. 2021-04-05. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
  7. Rice, Mark (23 February 2021). "Made in Columbus with local talent, here's how to watch Bo Bartlett's first feature film". Ledger-Enquirer. Retrieved 3 March 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. "Things Don't Stay Fixed". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 2021-03-13. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. Mantle, Larry (2021-03-26). "FilmWeek: 'Tina,' 'The Marijuana Conspiracy,' 'The Vault' And More". Retrieved 2021-04-11.

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