Something Honest is my directorial debut. Filming was completed in 2023, and festival appearances begin in Summer 2024. It is a project born out of passion and collaboration with friends, blending thriller, suspense, and comedy. Chelsey Staple's feature screenplay inspired this short proof-of-concept.
The narrative of Something Honest resonates with an American struggle - the economic conditions that compel many to return to their childhood homes. This regression, often infantilizing, places us in situations of vulnerability, hindering our growth in healthy ways. The film reveals how the quest for belonging can lead us down unexpected paths. The support group meetings, led by the enigmatic Dominic, blurs the line between help and harm. In this film, I explore themes of vulnerability, the human desire for connection, and the courage it takes to confront our deepest fears.
Often overlooked in the realm of unsettling films is the pleasure they bring to both the viewer and the filmmaker. As I watch Something Honest, I find myself beaming at the characters' dramatic and sometimes ridiculous choices. This blend of tension and absurdity brings me joy and often, laughter.
My directorial approach was influenced by the filmmakers who masterfully blend psychological depth with visually arresting storytelling. The gorgeous Lost Highway and the unsettling
suspense of Silence of the Lambs are big influences. My style is an homage to these influences, aiming to create a similarly immersive and thought-provoking experience.
Visually, the film is characterized by a moody, almost claustrophobic atmosphere, reflecting the internal struggles of our
characters. The setting, an abandoned classroom, was intentionally chosen for its symbolic decay and the sense of a forgotten past it evokes. The lighting and color palette were important in defining the film's style. As the narrative progresses and the central characters confront increasingly disturbing tactics, the lighting shifts, reflecting the characters' and audience's growing awareness of the sinister revelations. The deliberate interplay of warm and cool colors adds a literal depth to the sets, highlighting elements I deemed vital in each frame. Regarding costume design, I drew inspiration from the impactful aesthetic of Funny Games.
Ultimately, my goal for Something Honest was to meld these stylistic and design elements into a cohesive narrative that tells a compelling story and leaves a lasting impression on the viewer well after the credits roll. I am currently in development for the feature film. Email me if you're interested in more information.