Yesterday, we shot our newest short, "Affliction” (previously titled “Toxic Women”). It’s kind of a chilling drama with a touch of body horror.
Logline: Two coworkers contemplate the aftermath of an encounter.
The short was originally born out of a weekly writing group between Kelsey, Ryan and me. We try to meet up every week to either give feedback to each other on new pages of ongoing projects or practice pitches that are either inspired by our own experiences or come out of challenges we give each other in session (like from news stories or a draw of the hat type of exercise featuring genres and settings). This particular piece was a script Kelsey presented that was inspired by contemporary frustrations. Ryan and I really liked the way it played with a both timely and timeless issue and did so through a high concept portrayed through a small contained encounter. We ended up workshopping it over a few meetups and eventually Kelsey and I decided to collaborate on it together with me as director.
Once we decided to shoot it, we reached out to our usual crew and everyone was really excited about it. Having worked with Nabil Vinas in About a Donkey, I was eager to work with him again and knew he’d bring so much to this project. We offered him the role, and thankfully he accepted! Briana Swann was a recommendation from our frequent team member Ricardo Manigat. Having never worked with her before, I can now say I’m very excited to do so again because she not only had so much nuance within her performance, she was also really lovely to have on set. Everyone truly was, and we’re so grateful to all who helped bring the film together! (Shout-outs below.) Other than our original sound person ending up in a car accident at the top of the day (thankfully she’s ok!), and losing a couple hours to a quest to replace her, the day was super smooth. We got everything needed and managed to finish within 12 hours. I’m really looking forward to jumping into the edit with Matt next week!
See behind the scenes:
Check out a couple stills from our footage:
Thank you to:
Kelsey, for writing such a powerful script.
My mom, Marlene, for catering & driving everyone to set.
Extended family Joan & Larry and their generous coworker Georgia for letting us shoot in their office.
My stepdad Jay for helping with pickups and drop-offs.
Peter Westervelt, for being the best cinematographer & collaborator.
Matt Gershowitz, our always reliable AD on set & excellent Editor in post.
Ryan, for advising on the script early on & for taking such thorough & thoughtful notes as script supervisor.
Sean Mannion, who jumped in for location sound last minute on a Sunday AND loaned his gear.
Henry Hodges, for making double duty as gaffer & grip look easy.
Diana Molina Sosa, 1st AC, who always pulls focus like nobody’s business.
Shivanna Sooknanan, our Art Director (and my cousin), who has a great eye and really brought the look of our set together throughout the day.
Mike Dimitroulakos, who killed it in creating a certain makeup effect.
Kimberly Drew Whiten, who not only worked as a great 2nd AC but also shuttled people to & from Long Island.
And, of course, our absolutely phenomenal cast: Nabil Vinas & Briana Swann.
Couldn’t have done it without any of them!
We’re excited our short “The Gaze” will screen at Fem.Cine.Anarchy, which is a free popup screening event in its 5th year celebrating "diverse, intersectional, edgy, female-driven, short narrative films, directed by female-identified persons." It's run by the founder of the prestigious but now discontinued Bluestocking Film Series. And it's in beautiful Portland, Maine on September 21st!