‘Boxes’ explores how different people process grief and how grief can challenge and strain relationships with loved ones. The story is near and dear to my heart and I wanted to showcase how easy it is to judge someone for the way they deal with the loss of a loved one. I sought to take that initial judgment and turn it on its head. Filmmaking for me is about building compassion for others and that is what I endeavored to accomplish with this piece.
The process of filming was difficult. As an unknown filmmaker, finding a team dedicated to bringing this story to life was a tumultuous task. We had a minimal budget and I had no previous work as a director or writer to show to potential DPs. Each time we had found a team to work on the project, scheduling conflicts would arise and we would find ourselves back to square one. We had the additional hurdle of filming during the pandemic and navigating a skeleton crew to keep set as safe as possible. When casting the role of Taylor, I knew I needed someone that could fill moments of silence and stillness with intensity. During the pre-production process, we lost the leading actress slated to play Taylor due to scheduling conflicts and Megan Raitano saved the day with her willingness to jump into the role.
The script was heavy and emotionally demanding, and Raitano handled it masterfully with a professionalism and work ethic that all actors should aspire towards. Because of the gravity of the material, the story is entirely character-driven. We opted for a cinematic style that kept the focus and intensity on the actors and the actors are not shown in a two-shot until the very end. This structure was designed to keep the disparity between the sisters and the distance between them constantly in the forefront of the audience’s mind throughout the story and when they do both finally occupy the frame together, it signifies a change in how they are handling their loss. It is no longer an isolated battle, they are going through it together. The script went through several revisions, and although the film is a short 7 minutes, it packs an emotional punch and has a lot to say within that timeframe.
The film is currently in the festival circuit and has already made a splash, earning Best Screenwriting, Best Acting, and Best International Short in various festivals worldwide. The short film will be released to the public in Feb 2023 and is currently only viewable at film festivals.
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