Inclusion StatementRoots in Houston TX, one of America’s largest and most diverse cities, BLUE’s team behind and in front of the camera is a natural melting pot of fringe perspectives. While overcoming our own adversity, we strive to tell stories which emotively transcend & unite all man-kind—despite classifications.
About The Project
BLUE centers on Lena, a young woman catapulted into a world of facing deep depression, anxiety, and dissociation after losing her job-- compounded by the highs and lows of entering a long distance relationship. Although prescribed and attending regular therapy sessions, Lena struggles to cope with an embattled sense of self and worth. She finds herself dreaming in a wild neon-hued world to escape from her harsh reality.
As she further fixates on the health of her relationship, Lena's foundation becomes that much more fragile and her coping mechanisms begin to blur the lines between what’s real and what isn’t.
"BLUE" strives to explore how the need to be loved can leave us feeling fragile and how far our minds will go in order to protect us.
Lena, at the core of her soul, simply wants to figure out her place in the world through meaningful human connection, which defines the human race. Who are she? How does she leaves our mark in the world? What can she do to make an impact on others' lives? The only thing that gets in her way is her own mind; it is hard to connect with someone when you cannot control your own being. She suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, preventing her from making lasting and meaningful connections.
At the start of the story, Lena recently loses her job, and she enters a new relationship. This is an interesting juxtaposition--a life event that is negative and another that is postitive. We then explore the duality of how her mind handles these two situations in tandem with each other and what happens as everything suddenly goes south.
I TEND to put a lot of myself in the projects that I do. It helps me try on the shoes of the people of the world that is being created; how do my experiences relate to the experiences and the situations that are presented in a story? It becomes tangible, and from there, it becomes real and honest. With "BLUE", it pulls me to a part of myself that I am still very much struggling with--the anxiety and the depression--and while my struggles are nowhere near those of Lena's, I can begin to unbox a sense of understanding of what she is going through. By doing this, I am on the journey with her, and through directing, the audience will be able to as well.
"BLUE" is important not only because we are delving in discovering a character with complex mental disorders, but because of the team we built for this project. It is so essential and pertinent to see and hear fresh female voices in the film industry. This is Victoria's first screenplay, and I am so honored to be able to help bring her vision and voice to life. We are contributing to the rising strength of women and LGBT and racial minorities' involvement in film--behind and in front of the camera. It is not about being color-blind; it is about consciously making the decision to lift up these voices and present them to the world. The world is not one-sided. It is a spectrum in which all types of people deserve to be represented.
AS THE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY I want to put an emphasis on creating character for the image. This goes beyond just color. Lenses play a vital role in telling the story visually-- which is why I've chosen to use anamorphic primes. Specifically the SLR Magic Anamorphot range. These lenses were created to mimic the look of vintage anamorphic lenses that add a lot of artifacting and flare to the image. There is a distortion on the wider lens as well as character flaws in the boundaries of the frame, i.e. It gets softer as the image gets closer to the border of the frame. These will help us see the world through the eyes of Lena, as she navigates her world from the club to her own apartment.
The other half of the visual style draws from our three primary locations in the film. When we are alone with Lena in her apartment we see her as she sees herself--a normal person in a relationship. Here we use a combination of tracking shots and non-jerky handheld movement to showcase a casual image. Conversely, during her therapy sessions we move to a style that explores negative space more prevalently. In Lena's dreams we see her from a shaky handheld perspective outside the clubs. However, the moment she passes through the doors of the club--where she feels most comfortable and alive--we transition to silky smooth steadicam style, gliding with and around her as she experiences the music and people in the club.
Through these visual styles, we intend to help the audience get a personal sense of Lena's struggles as she shifts mental states and enviornments.
--Alvin G. Morris
As I try and remember the moment that the idea for ‘Blue’ first came to me, I am reminded of a quote by Nina Simone. “You can't help it. An artist's duty, as far as I'm concerned, is to reflect the times.” I kept hearing countless stories, both in news and in articles on social media, involving depression and anxiety. I was struggling in my own life to cope with the changes happening around me regarding being an actor and uprooting my life and moving to Los Angeles. I couldn’t help it. I wrote a story that reflected my surroundings.
My experience with anxiety and depression has never been debilitating but I can tell you that many times there are voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough, strong enough, beautiful enough talented enough or deserving of success. Soon these thoughts begin to feel like the truth and as a result it’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to have fun doing everyday tasks and it’s hard to feel happy. What happens then? You remind yourself of the things in your life that are beautiful. You practice gratitude. I began to wonder how it must be for the millions of people who on top of dealing with what life throws at them, are also fighting a real battle with anxiety and depression.
My goal for "BLUE" was mainly to share a story of mental and emotional struggle in hopes that it may help someone feel not so alone. In a society where we can manipulate others to always see us in a positive light through the simple posting of a picture or comment, it is now more important than ever to see someone struggling and be able to empathize with them. Lena is imperfect, raw, honest and all she wants is to find some sort of freedom. I think we can all empathize with that.
As human beings, we are not all different as we tend to tell ourselves. Sure, the consciousness inside of every person is unique and individual, but we all experience the same emotions that in turn have an effect on our mental state. When I first read BLUE, I felt such a connection to Lena and what she was experiencing. Now, I myself have never been diagnosed or experienced what it is like to have a borderline personality disorder, but I do know what it is like to deal with depression and anxiety (as do all humans) which are common traits of this particular disorder. I do know what it is like to feel as if you have no control over your life due to the effects of depression and anxiety. To be a mere spectator to your own life, and not be able to grasp any sort of handle of it. That's what captured me to the script and incited the urge to be a part of this project. This is a beautiful story of someone experiencing various emotions that are effecting her mental state which I think we have all experienced. I, myself, have lashed out or done things due to various levels of depression, anxiety, and other emotions that I could not control. The human body is a vessel experiencing differet levels of emotions and the brain is a ticking time bomb that we are constantly trying to control. This story connects to every human being because it touches home. It talks about mental issues that are still too taboo to discuss in the world. It sheds a light on the effects of issues in a beautiful way and I believe people will be able to see themselves in Lena as I did when I first read it.
We plan on submitting this short film to various festivals in America as well as the Cannes Film Festival. Principal photography is currently scheduled for November 17-20, 2017.
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About This Team
Our team is made of a close group of artists from all backgrounds. We have worked together for years and have assembled a powerhouse team for this film.
Peter Ton Director\Producer
Peter Ton. Beer Connoisseur. Visionary. Woke. Peter is a local Houston filmmaker and theatre director and designer! He pulls his aesthetics and inspiration from Beyoncé (a Houston native), Quintin Tarantino, and his rich Vietnamese background. As an openly gay Asian man, Peter is an advocate for diverse stories and fresh young voices as he understands the desire to shed light on stories that need to be told. Peter's passion for storytelling pushes him to ask questions that furthers the human experience and what it means to make a true and honest connection with one another. To him, film is a medium where everyone can come together and simply feel something--sharing a particular moment in time.
Victoria Villarreal Screenwriter\Producer\Actress (Lena)
Victoria Villarreal. Margarita Lover. Dedicated Dog Mom. Dreamer. Victoria's love for film and acting began at an early age. She's a Houston native and is currently based in Los Angeles. After seeing Hollywood's need for diversity (She's first generation Mexican American and fluent in Spanish) along with constant auditioning and yearning for a creative outlet, she decided to start writing her way in! "BLUE" is her first baby and she is so eager to share it with you.
Alvin G. Morris Director of Photography\Editor
Alvin G. Morris. Bear. Gay Ally. Resident Badass. Alvin is a local Houston filmmaker who works with Rival Studios. He dedicates his time to sound mixing, directing, and editing. He earned a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Broadcast Production from Sam Houston State University. He was also the recipient of an honorary film degree from SHSU for being instrumental in bringing a film program to the college for the first time in decades. A director of numerous shorts, Alvin is stepping behind the camera this time to be the Director of Photography for this beautiful project.
Clifton J. Adams Producer\Social Media Marketing
Clifton J. Adams. Side-Eye Master. Twerk Enthusiast. Advocator for Love. Clifton is a native artist from Houston, TX currently residing in Los Angeles. Since receiving two degrees in Acting (B.F.A. & M.F.A.), Clifton has always had a passion for storytelling, and discovering what it means to experience different levels of the human consciousness. As an openly gay black man, Clifton knows firsthand how it feels to not have your story (or anything similar to it) authentically represented in art. One of Clifton's goals in life is to make sure inclusion and representation is not only possible, but demanded. With inspirations from various artists around the world whether visual, performing, or literary; Clifton hopes to provide a new manner in which art and the human experience is digested around the world. Art and storytelling are the first steps to acknowledging the truth of human connections and experiences, and spreading love and understanding to the masses. They are the ultimate defense against the human ego. It begins with us. As the great poet Rumi once said, "We are born of love; Love is our mother".
Ashly Smith Production Coordinator\Locations Manager
Ashly Smith. Music Enthusiast. Ultra-Amateur Cat Voice Actress. Ray of Freakin' Sunshine. Ashly is a local Houston filmmaker who works with Rival Studios. She dedicates her time to Production Coordinating and Makeup Artistry. Qua Nei.
Fariha Alam Production Manager
Fariha Alam. Humanity's #1 fan. Cultivator. Chronic workholic. With an unlimited reservoir of patience, Fariha is dedicated to bringing together the right pieces to faciliate another's growth and vision-- given whatever limitations and resources. As a rule, she believes in finding and bringing the mountain to her-- never waiting on it to come to her. No different for the projects she works on. While a Data Analyst by day, she has a long involvement in the fine arts, both in the theatre, film, and in 2D & 3D mixed media. As a whole she has produced, managed, and assistant directed over 8 independent shortfilm projects and is excited to be a part of BLUE-- getting to work with both new and old friends on a project that is finally their own.
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