Chaotic Terrain

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: Narrative Short
GENRE: Science Fiction
STATUS: Pre-Production


Right after getting her first period, a 12-year-old Martian girl delivers the most shocking performance of the night to a mostly human audience at a middle school talent show on Mars.


A group of 6th grade girls participate in an annual middle school talent show on Mars, in honor of the Martian Peace Day. After several performances by human contestants, Aru-Izi, a 12 year-old Martian, shocks the audience with her unexpected powers.


When I first read about the Netherlands-based organization Mars One and their mission to establish the first human settlement on Mars, I was intrigued and excited. Then I listened to interviews with several Mars One finalists who talked about why they wanted to be amongst the first settlers. The reasons included feeling like they had no motive to be on Earth and wanting to live with a greater purpose. While listening to the interviews, I couldn’t help but sense in the candidates’ statements a longing for connection, a feeling of loneliness here on Earth, a yearning for love, and a desire to be special. Hence the intrigue I initially felt was replaced by sadness. In Alan Moore’s Watchmen, my favorite character Doctor Manhattan exiles himself to Mars as he is unable to connect with humans. He tells her girlfriend, Laurie Jupiter, “Life could have flourished here then, but Mars did not choose life. It chose this. It’s called Chaotic Terrain.” The sentiments of Doctor Manhattan toward living on Earth and feeling disconnected reminded me of the interviews with the Mars One candidates and their feelings of detachment. Doctor Manhattan could not stand the chaos he witnessed on Earth and exiled himself to Mars where he would be alone. Did these people want to do the same? As far as we know right now, there is no life on Mars. But! If there were life out there, how would a native react to a different species inhabiting her home? How would a native feel if that species brought change to her life and called it peace? I wanted to create an extraterrestrial world and explore both the human and the alien characters through their interactions with one another. I wanted to look at this new civilization through the eyes of a native, and I wanted this native to be a 12-year-old Martian girl, who feels lost, alienated, and confused, yet is strong-minded and has a powerful impact on the minds of those she interacts with. As the story builds up and approaches the end, Aru-Izi’s talent/supernatural powers deflate the egos of all the humans who take credit for making Mars a peaceful planet. Moreover, she makes the audience face the chaos in their heads and breaks the pretended calm they exhibit. She reminds people that the chaos they thought they ran away from by coming to Mars is still there. The film has its moments of darkness but it also has plenty of humor and ends on a hopeful note. It’s a chaotic, intense, and fantastical 15-minute film that bursts with these children’s energy and ends with an uncanny tranquility. As a 30-year-old female writer and filmmaker, telling the story of a bunch of 6th graders at the height of their development, hence exploring the themes of jealousy, competition, trust, and friendship at that age would let me get to the core of honest, unfiltered human behavior. This film will be both cerebral and emotional. In addition to presenting an adventure-filled, mysterious, humorous, and fantastical world, Chaotic Terrain will ask deeper questions about escapism, confrontation, alienation, and adaptation.


Eren Gulfidan - Writer/Director/Producer/Editor
Eren Gulfidan (1985) is an Istanbul-born filmmaker based in New York City. She has worked as a writer, director, video editor, and film curator for the past several years. In 2014, she formed Mumfus, a production company, to focus on making narrative films, music videos, interactive platforms, and mini-docs. This past year, Eren worked on three episodes of the National Geographic series, Explorer, and is currently editing a documentary about the Holocaust for Project Witness. Eren has also created the interactive platform,, which she has developed and exhibited at Made in NY Media Center by IFP. Her recent short film, Daydreaming, will be screened at festivals in the Fall. More info at

Holly Meehl - Producer
Holly began her career in publicity at Sony Pictures Classics and then transitioned to film development to work for feature director Tanya Wexler (Hysteria). Holly also worked at Salty Features and is a co-producer on the documentary feature (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies, directed by Yael Melamede, which premiered at Hot Docs and Full Frame Film Festival in 2015. In the same year, she produced a web series called “Young Like Us” which won an audience award at the FirstGlance Film Festival in Philadelphia. She recently launched her own production company, Lunamax Films, and is currently producing a digital series called “In Reality” which was selected for this year’s IFP Screen Forward Lab and a documentary featured called For the Birds, which was also selected for the 2016 IFP Documentary Lab.


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