QUADRANGLE is an unconventional documentary about two 'conventional' couples that swapped partners and lived in a group marriage in the 70s, hoping to pioneer an alternative to divorce and pave the way for how families would live in the future. Quadrangle premiered at Sundance, where it won a jury prize and was broadcast on HBO.

A short and jewel-like
work of cinema

Austin Chronicle

QUADRANGLE writer/director Amy Grappell is currently writing a memoir that tells the quadrangle story from her perspective as a child and is adapting the group marriage story for a fictional TV series. For further information you can contact her at: amygrappell@me.com

About the Film

QUADRANGLE is an unconventional documentary about two "conventional" couples that swapped partners and lived in a group marriage in the early 1970s. Coming out of the era of free love, and struggling with the monotony of marriage and suburban life, my parents, Deanna and Paul, began swapping partners with another middle class married couple. This four-way affair became a kind of domestic living experiment when the two couples moved into one home, along with their children. While their individual marriages were failing, they found that together they were happy and thought they had discovered an alternative to divorce - a brave new world that would pave the way for how couples would live in the future. Instead it unraveled. Both couples divorced and married their foursome partners, but they could never truly separate because they were bound by the children they shared.

This film examines the story of the group marriage as told by Deanna and Paul in the present. They are forty years older and estranged, looking back in separate interviews that play simultaneously, cut together in split screen to overlap. A simulated conversation takes place as they recount their stories. Paul's archival photos of the group, woven throughout, create a visual link between the story from the past and the characters in the present. Certain themes emerge: How do we grapple with marriage, monogamy, and desire? What happens when you challenge the boundaries of social convention? And what, if anything, did we learn from all that sixties-inspired experimentation?


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As Seen On


Press & Awards

Best Documentary Short
SXSW Film Festival 2010
The Independent
"Quadrangle is Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice in real time... You won’t take your eyes off the screen. In 20 minutes [editor] Raff and [filmmaker] Grappell assemble the essence of four fragmented lives with intelligence and objectivity."
Honorable Mention Jury Prize
Sundance Film Festival 2010
Anthropology Review
"Suitable for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of sexuality, anthropology of family/marriage, and American studies, as well as general audiences…. Should provoke some lively discussion on these subjects."
The Austin Chronicle
"It's a short and jewellike work of cinema."


Amy Grappell


Amy Grappell’s documentary QUADRANGLE, premiered at Sundance in 2010, where it won a Jury Prize. It went on to win Best Short Film at SXSW, AFI, and Dallas Int. Film Festival, and had its New York premiere at New Directors / New Films (MOMA) before being broadcast on HBO. She returned to Sundance in 2011 with a short documentary titled “Kids Green The World.” She was one of the select writer/directors of Richard Linklater’s SLACKER 2011 and her feature documentary LIGHT FROM THE EAST, shot in Ukraine during the fall of Communism, premiered at SXSW, aired on PBS and is part of the collection at the Library of Congress. Grappell holds a BA in film and literature from New York University, is a graduate of the MFA acting program at The North Carolina School of the Arts, and is the recipient of grants from Austin Film Society, National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Council for the Humanities and the Trull Foundation. Grappell is currently writing a memoir about her experience growing up in a group marriage and adapting the Quadrangle story for a fictional TV series.

Aaron Raff

Co-producer / Editor

Aaron Raff is a New York based Visual Effects Supervisor whose credits include In The Heights, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and The Looming Tower.


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