Inclusion StatementThe creative team and cast is comprised mostly of women, with our AD, most producers, and most of the cast being female, and a wide array of ages represented. Female characters are portrayed in a three-dimensional way and are not simply vehicles in a male-dominated story.
About The Project
Aperture is the story of Gavin, a student about to graduate with his MFA in Photography, whose life gets turned on its head when his aunt and uncle die suddenly and name him the guardian for his younger cousin, Alina. Despite his concerns that he is not a suitable fit, he agrees to raise her.
What ensues is a process any new parent would recognize -- struggling to balance work, school, and take care of this little person who relies on him for everything. Gavin has to deal with the stress of his impending graduation while still learning that Alina cannot, in fact, make herself breakfast every morning or pick herself up at school. Not only that, but she's going through her own struggles, trying to somehow function in her everyday life while processing the loss of her parents, not always comprehending the gravity of her situation and yet still feeling this immense emptiness inside her.
Through this journey, however, they both discover something very important: it isn't about the situation you're in, it's about how you deal with it. If you can learn to adjust your perspective, you may discover something beautiful.
A Note From the Writer
As a recent graduate trying to make my way in the world, I myself can relate to Gavin on many levels -- I am discovering my artistic identity and finding new interests and talents and forging new relationships, both personally and professionally. When I was a kid, adulthood seemed so amazing and easy, but, as we all do, I learned that it's much more complicated than that.
One of my passions is working with kids, and this project was the opportunity to tell a story in which both the adult and child characters had nuanced arcs. After seeing several films involving adoption, I decided I wanted to heighten the situation -- instead of a late twentysomething or thirtysomething inheriting a kid, like films such as Raising Helen or The Game Plan, I found intrigue in the concept of someone adopting a child who was not only ill-prepared to be a guardian, but most likely wouldn't even have a child that age. Gavin is 24, and Alina is 7. It's not impossible, but it's also not particularly likely. Gavin is not at all in the headspace of being a parent, and yet he suddenly must act as a replacement parental figure for this child who, though she tries not to show it, is seriously hurting.
It is extremely important to me that all characters have realistic portrayals, and no one acts as a crutch to prop up someone else's story. Despite Gavin being the main character, this story is just as much about Alina as it is about him. In many films, kids are there to act cute and deliver a few jokes, or get rescued from danger. In this film, Gavin and Alina are equals, trying to get through this situation together. They find their groove not as parent/child, but as partners on a crazy new adventure, one that neither of them really wanted to take but they learn to embrace anyway.
Why create this film now? Well, is there ever a time in which everyone in the whole world feels completely content with who they are, with their life decisions, with the insane stuff life throws at us? This is the kind of film that provides us with a glance into an ordinary life in a way that makes us feel understood. Much like This is Us or Parenthood, this isn't a story of extraordinary people with crazy super powers or immense intelligence or anything like that. It's a story of regular people trying to find their way, which can be a lot more emotionally compelling to watch than Batman going at it with Superman (though that film has its time and place as well!)
This is a chance to tell a human story, an emotional story, one of belonging and compassion and the willingness to see things outside of yourself. It's a story of growing up, even when we don't want to. It's a story of love and family and realizing that a different perspective (or a different aperture, if you will) may be the best thing ever to happen to you.
Our current goal is $7,500, which is expected to cover our production costs for our November shoot.
If we're able to get $8,500, we'll be able to rent more camera lenses and rent a super fancy location for Gavin's apartment, raising our production value!
If we raise $9,500, we can afford to hire a second ("B") camera, so we can capture twice the footage from twice the angles, creating a more nuanced final product. We won't miss a moment!
If we raise $10,000 or more, we'll begin to stash funds for post-production, marketing, and festival submissions!
We cannot wait to bring this film to all of you!
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About This Team
Luke Winter - Gavin
Luke is a recent graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Acting. He has extensive on-camera and stage training with the likes of Tony-nominee Bryce Pinkham, Tony-nominee Liz Swados, and Obie-winner Lucas Caleb Rooney. Most recently, he appeared in The Window is Open and its subsequent web series incarnation How to Do Everything as Greg, which he co-wrote with Alex Kraft, and A Million Tiny Reminders as Luke, which he wrote in collaboration with the cast and co-produced with Yuko Kudo. He will take on a similar role in Aperture, serving as the writer and producer.
He also has a feature film, If You Say It Is, a controversial love story tackling morality and the origin of human connection, in development.
He is thrilled to be surrounded by such a talented and dedicated team of artists for the creation of Aperture!
Samarah Conley - Alina
Samarah is a New York based actress with a strong background in singing who also trains in musical theater, piano, ballet, tap and jazz. She had been in several commercials, student and independent films, and TV shows. In her spare time she really enjoys song writing, painting and drawing, and swimming.
Christine Verleny - Lois
Recent theatrical highlights – Beth Stanton - Composure (Workshop Theater), Mistress Quickly - Verona Walls (Workshop Theater), Pya – Keep On Truckin’ – It’s War (Oberon - MITF – nominated for best actress), Joyce – Daughters of the Sexual Revolution (Workshop Theater), Mrs. Bennett – Moonlight and Love Songs (Gayfest NYC), and Bianca – Desdemona: A Play About A Handkerchief (Other Side Productions). Can also be seen in the following short films making the festival circuit - Panic at the Pole, Legit (also Co-producer) and If Only.
Dana Marisa Schoenfeld - Ms. Davis
Dana Marisa Schoenfeld has been working in the entertainment industry since she graduated from the University of Michigan. She began her career as an NBC Page where she worked on Saturday Night live and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. She also worked in production on various network and cable shows for some of America’s most distinguished talent. Dana won a two-year scholarship to study screenwriting at Writers Boot Camp in Los Angeles, and after she completed her studies. She was hired to write several screenplays for a production company in Los Angeles founded by the former chairman of Lionsgate.
Dana has spent the last four years acting, writing, producing, and directing in New York. In 2016, Dana founded Main Sequence Entertainment, a production company based in New York. Since then, Dana has written, produced, directed, and starred in several short films, was cast in her first feature film, and produced a web series. In 2017, her television pilot, EAST, won the Best TV Pilot Competition at the Hoboken International Film Festival. Her film “Swiped Right” which she co-produced, directed, and performed in, was nominated for an audience choice award at the same festival, and recently won the Best New Jersey Comedy at the Brightside Tavern. Swiped Right is also an official selection at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival and the New Jersey Film Festival. Dana recently directed the short film, Cayenne Pepper, which is still in post production, and produced Patiri in the Promised Land with Page Cooper Anderson. Dana was recently cast in her second feature film which will be coming out in 2018.
Dana is excited to be working with Luke Winter and the rest of this fantastic team!
Margaret Reed - Teacher
Look for Margaret Reed in John Turturro's upcoming feature film,"Going Places", on NBC's Seeso in "Hidden America" with Jonah Ray-Nashville, and as Tom Sizemore's wife in the supernatural thriller, "Central Park Dark", by Cybil Lake. Many may remember her as Shannon O'Hara McKechnie on "As the World Turns", or as the vengeful ex-date of Jerry Seinfeld on "The Baby Shower" episode, or saving the universe from the pollution of Warp Drive as Dr. Serova on "Star Trek, TNG", amongst the many roles on the many "Law and Order" incarnations. TheMargaretReed.com.
Yuko Kudo - Associate Producer
Yuko is so excited and honored to be a part of "Aperture". Native Japanese. A healer, singer/actor... Happiness Promoter. My mission is for everyone to remember how beautiful they are inside out and celebrate who they are. for more..www.yukoislovelivelife.com Thank you, and congratulations Luke and all the team and cast of Aperture.
Amanda Bruton - Associate Producer, Locations Manager
Amanda Bruton is thrilled to be a part of the Aperture team! She previously collaborated with Luke Winter and Yuko Kudo as an Associate Producer and Actor on the musical Short A Million Tiny Reminders. Amanda is also the creator and star of the comedic webseries Confessions by Connie which won an Award of Merit at the WRPN.TV Short, Tight, and Loose Festival. The series was also an Official Selection at the NYC Indie Film Festival. Amanda recently shot co-star roles on a new Marvel series for Netflix, Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and HBO's High Maintenance. She is currently writing a one woman show titled UnCastable that will be premiering at The Duplex in NYC this fall. Follow her adventures at www.amandabruton.com.
Samantha Winter - 1st AD, Co-Producer
Samantha Winter works as a 1st AD with a focus in film. Her latest project was a feature film entitled Price for Silence. Samantha is passionate about people, collaboration, and the magic that can happen on set when a group of people come together with a common goal. She loves helping organize sets in a way in which everyone feels connected and time expands to create the best films possible.
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