Look at Me


TYPE
: Narrative Short
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Post-Production

LOGLINE

On a New York City winter night, the fate of a young intoxicated boy is determined by his brief encounters with strangers, exposing a deeper underlying American truth.

SYNOPSIS

On a New York City winter night, the fate of a young intoxicated boy is determined by his brief encounters with strangers, exposing a deeper underlying American truth. The modern day yogi, the pseudo social media activist, the young binge-drinkers, and the first generation American: all bound by their desire to be seen, yet blinded and divided by it, unable to look into the eyes of another. This is a story about the American inability to connect.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

This story is about an America I see. As many of us today, I have been grappling to understand many of the social issues that our society faces: mass shootings, police brutality, immigration bans, and an increase in suicide rates among others. This project began as a reflection of this peculiar time we live in, one filled with rife social activism and pervasive online communities yet dominated by a generation that appears apathetic and even more disconnected from one another than before. I aim to explore what appears a precondition to many of these issues found within modern American society: the inability to connect. In breaking down this phenomenon, I find it vital to reflect and examine the different ways in which we prioritize our individual selves above all else, and the consequent inability, fear, and assumed threat of acknowledging another’s humanity. Nowhere is this more apparent than in face of “the other”. I tell this story to question our individual and collective priorities, and explore how this shared system of values can ultimately lead to dire consequences. The narrative structures, events, and characters reflected in this world each came from my own lived experiences. Each character represents a precise and uncomfortable depiction of a kind of American today. The modern day yogi focused on self-wellness to a crippling degree. The pseudo social media activist, more obsessed with altruistic self-portrayal than the causes she defends. The first generation American willing to abandon his self for an “American” community that does not exist. The young binge-drinkers who only know connection in the form of disconnection. All these characters are bound by their desire to be seen, yet blinded and divided by it, unable to look into the eyes of another. The visual style in which the world of this story exists is a very raw, very gritty, very real one. The majority of shots will be handheld with natural light. I aim to present the film in a style of a fable or a modern Grimm’s fairytale. In the world, as in people, there is good and bad. I aim to reflect the bad to deconstruct it, make it something tangible so it can grasped and alleviated, but also to present the good, to touch the spirit and remind us of the humanity we often forget. It is important to reflect the time and society we live in, especially when it appears to be crying out in pain. This story was made to create a confrontation with this truth.

KEY CREW

Nika Fehmiu - Director, Writer, Producer

Nika Fehmiu is a 23-year-old writer and director. She was born and raised in New York City, although her parents immigrated from former Yugoslavia during the war. She spent much of her life going back and forth between the two countries. Early on, this sparked a lifestyle embedded in travel. She has lived across continents and travelled to over 25 countries. While receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College, she produced, wrote, and directed several short films. Her last film, The Visitor, was a story about the potential for human connection in the current technological age; and her film prior to that, Honey Brown Eyes, followed a love story that took place in the middle of the Yugoslavian war in the 90s. At the start of 2018, Nika finished two new scripts and is currently in development for both: "Stone By Stone" and "Look At Me." Nika has been making short films as a student since she was about 15 years old. She became proficient in cinematography, editing, and screenwriting through the multiple courses she took in high school and college. She has worked jobs as a still photographer, DIT, and assistant editor on various projects ranging from documentary shorts at Human Rights Watch to narrative features in Serbia and NYC. Nika believes in the power of storytelling to let others live what they have not, yet feel what they feel and see what they see, and in doing so create understanding and form connection. https://vimeo.com/user14222401

Hannah Vicente-Kliot - Producer

Hannah Vicente-Kliot is a 23-year-old filmmaker and broadcaster born and raised in New York City. She is currently working with the Investigative Unit at CNBC after graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University last June. Hannah was a member of the Medill Justice Project, an award-winning group that investigates potentially wrongful convictions and researches various topics in the criminal justice system. She co-published a piece investigating the quadruple murder conviction of a man on death row, and her team visited and interviewed him at a maximum-security prison in Florida. Last spring, Hannah co-directed, produced and edited “Mr. Leather,” a short documentary that follows a member of the gay leather fetish community in Chicago. The film seeks to break stereotypes about the BDSM community. At CNBC, Hannah has investigated cryptocurrency companies and worked on several documentaries. Through storytelling, Hannah seeks to expose underlying truths, examine injustices, and understand various subcultures and people throughout the world. Her curiosity about human behavior led her to minor in psychology, which has been a crucial aspect of her work.

Wayland Bell - Director of Photography

Wayland Bell is a NYC-based cinematographer and a 2014 graduate of School of Visual Art, NYC. As a director of photography, he has worked on everything from feature films, music videos, commercials, motorsports, live events, and documentaries. His most recent work in 2018 has included Take a Look at This Heart, a feature documentary about love, sexuality, and the human bond within the disabled community, and Siberia and Him, a narrative feature that follows the story of two men who fall in love in a run-down town of Russia. With more than a decade of filmmaking experience, Wayland’s dedication to craft and his unique eye have taken him on projects across the United States and as far as the Siberian Tundra. He is at home behind a camera, and is always looking for the next shot. For further information on his work, visit his website: http://www.waylandbell.com

Dylan Hurley - Sound Mixer and Sound Editor

Dylan Hurley has traveled to 10 different states on-assignment, planted a microphone on the secretary of the navy aboard a Navy Amphibian, and is HBO’s youngest credited sound recordist yet. An audio-wiz and experienced editor from USC’s Film School, Dylan is the associate producer/editor for the Telluride/DocNYC official-selection documentary, California Typewriter, and has worked extensively with director James Redford as a sound recordist on Toxic Hotseat (HBO Documentary), Paper Tigers, Resilience, and Happening. He currently is working as an post-production sound editor and rerecording mixer at Cozy Post Production in NYC. For further information on his work, visit his website: https://www.dylanhurley.com

Anton Vicente-Kliot - Producer

Anton Vicente Kliot is a 22 year old writer, producer, and director. Born and raised in New York City, Anton went on to study History at Amherst College in Massachusetts. Alongside his work in history, Anton took numerous courses in film and photography production and theory, including NYU Tisch’s famed Sight & Sound film course. At Amherst, Anton received a fellowship grant from the Andrew G Mellon Foundation, allowing him to travel to London to conduct archival research, on which he and a group of fellow students co-wrote an article, currently under review for publication by scholarly journals. Simultaneously, Anton worked to help found a streetware brand called Leftovers. With only pocket money for capital, Anton and designer Noah managed to successfully produce 5+ unique drops, organized pop-up shops, parties, and concerts in both Massachusetts and New York. This past spring, Anton led the charge in turning Leftovers into an environmentally responsible company, finding a clothing supplier which produces textiles using recycled cotton and plastic, saving both materials and water. Currently living in New York, Anton is developing a feature length script.  

Curtis Colton Green - Composer

Curtis Green’s music ranges from melody-driven to abstract experimental, motivated by visual story-telling. His compositions can be heard in the College Emmy Award-winning miniseries “Playhouse of Cards” and Tropfest Australia 2018 Finalist “Mi País, Tu País,” in addition to multiple award-winning student and short films. He has also contributed additional orchestration to Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and Disney Pixar’s “Incredibles 2”.

He has trained in both classical and jazz, but his original love of film music remained an inspiration and he began scoring films in high school. Since 2014 Curtis has worked for Michael Giacchino, who has given him opportunities such as the aforementioned “Spider-Man,” as well as arranging a song written by director Pete Docter and doing score preparation on “Coco,” “Incredibles 2” and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”  A senior in USC Thornton’s music composition program, Curtis studies privately with Vince Mendoza. In 2017 Curtis was selected to pilot Thornton’s first semester-long exchange between Thornton and Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, where he studied for four months.

Curtis recently scored a film about Ann Gottlieb for her 2018 Fragrance Foundation Award, and he is currently working with photographer and director Ruedi Hoffman on a documentary feature about the legendary foundry artist, Dick Polich.

 

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