A Dream Beyond The Dark


TYPE
: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Production

LOGLINE

Disillusioned by the death of his mentor, a blind painter is bequeathed a wondrous gift.

SYNOPSIS

"A Dream Beyond The Dark" tells the story of Daniel, a young 12 year-old painter. Daniel is partially blind & struggling to find meaning in his world. In spite of Daniel's physical disability, Jean, his grandfather, continues to encourage Daniel to become the painter he's always dreamed of being.

The story begins one sleepless night, when Daniel stumbles downstairs to find his grandfather rummaging through an old jewelry box in his study room and pulling out a letter from his wife. As Jean wistfully reads it to himself, Daniel wanders in curiously. Daniel sees his grandfather crying. Jean takes Daniel's hand and brings him to his bedroom to sing him a lullaby. Jean tells Daniel about how he met the love of his life, grandma. He reminds Daniel to “never be ashamed of who you are” and that “the forces which guide our lives are written in the stars.”

Weeks later, Jean finds Daniel struggling with his sight. Jean asks him "What are you doing?" Daniel says, "I'm playing a disappearing game. Sometimes I see the boats on the river with both my eyes, but most of the time, they become so blurry I can't see anything.” Jean is concerned and contacts an eye doctor for Daniel the following day.

At the doctor’s office, Daniel waits in the prep room & finds it hard to read words in an art book provided to him by Doctor Florent. Moments later, the doctor examines Daniel's vision, sight, cornea and as each test continues Jean & the Doctor begin to share a common worried expression with each other.

Next day, a worried Daniel asks his grandfather again about his eyes. Jean is struggling to explain that Daniel has a condition called 'choroideremia' - a degeneration of the retina that will eventually make him go completely blind. Daniel erupts in pain, fearing that people will abandon him & that life is not worth living.

Flash forward to 14 years later in Art School, Daniel is now a young adult, partially blind. His debonair friend, Tomas, arranges a farewell dinner with his close friends. Amidst the lively debate, Daniel's vision begins to blur while reading a menu. Although frightened, he resumes conversation with Tomas. Suddenly, Daniel sees a beautiful red-haired woman seated across the bar. This mysterious woman reminds Daniel of an angel appearing to him in a dream. He looks at her in awe as the camera blurs out of focus. The next morning the phone rings. Tomas passes it over to Daniel as he learns that his grandfather has died. Daniel's world is cast into darkness without Jean.

Daniel moves to NYC with a mixture of isolation & hope. Months later, Daniel goes completely blind & collapses in his art studio. Suddenly, an apparition appears: a mysterious red-haired woman. Celine lies delicately by Daniel's side. She gently weaves reality into a dreamworld, drawing Daniel into a sensory reunion of memory & discovery, helping him reconnect with all things that inspired him to be an artist in his youth.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

"A Dream Beyond the Dark" is a visionary artistic film. It reflects the nature of a painter struggling with a physical disability of blindness. The story is set in New York City and is an embodiment of the city's international spirit. The film's dialogue is in both French & English. With characters coming from England, Canada & Italy, our film is a universal human experience of 'the artist.'

Laura & I have very similar backgrounds. She is the daughter of immigrant parents, who came here with nothing and couldn’t even speak English. Similarly, I came to New York City alone, without any family. I was terrified of years of working under the table without a green card. But it was the spirit of New York City that helped me persevere and eventually become a U.S. citizen in 2015.

Our films naturally have an international quality within them, like the lining of our human skin.

Laura & I recently completed a short documentary on the #MeToo movement titled “The Girl Who Cannot Speak,” which was broadcast on NBC.com. It was during this powerful period that we understood the personal impact of a film. Women & men from each screening would come into our arms to cry. To share intimate secrets they have never told. We knew not intellectually, but viscerally we had connected with our audience. This led us down a path to make narrative films that have that same quality & impact. Raw, sensual, authentic, films. Our ambitions are to find our niche colleagues in programs like “Semaine de la Critique” at Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and make niche 3-4 million dollar films that are hidden gems - ones that often address human disabilities, as we have done since we were in film school.

KEY CREW

Stefano Da Frè - Director/Producer

Stefano had his first big break in Oscar-winner Ang Lee’s feature film, “Taking Woodstock.” He has since landed guest-starring roles on CBS’s “Blue Bloods,” MTV’s “One Bad Choice,” and a lead role alongside Emmy-winner Rena Sofer in the Holocaust drama “Immunity.” Stefano has recently won a Best Shorts Competition Award of Excellence for his work in “In Parallel” and was nominated for a Best Actor award at the Chelsea Film Festival. This past October, he and his business partner, Laura Pellegrini, sold a documentary called "The Girl Who Cannot Speak" to NBC, and both Stefano and Laura were featured on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports." 

Laura Pellegrini - Director/Producer

Laura Pellegrini is a New York City-based filmmaker and proud co-owner of Rosso Films International. Two of Laura’s films have premiered in the Court Métrage at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016. One of them, “In Parallel”, secured a distribution deal from France-based Gonella Productions, and also enjoyed its New York debut at the Chelsea Film Festival. In 2017, a film she produced and co-directed called "Tu Me Manques" screened in the Creative Minds Program at Cannes, and won First Place at the World of Film International Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. She is currently shooting a feature film called “The Secret Dream" a romantic fantasy about a blind painter. Footage from the film was screened in the film market at Cannes and was met with high praise. This past October, Laura sold a documentary to NBC called "The Girl Who Cannot Speak," and was featured alongside her business partner, Stefano Da Fre, on Andrea Mitchell's show, '"Andrea Mitchell Reports."

 

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