An action sci-fi short film, "CUT" reinterprets my grandma's experience in a home for unwed mothers. This film tells the story of two best friends trapped in an unwed mothers home who fight to hold onto their memories, and ultimately their friendship.
Inclusion StatementOur film is about remembrance as resistance. We will show women who, through the simple act of remembering, resist the unfair expectations of the world they inhabit and erasure of their experiences. We are committed to assembling an inclusive team for CUT, on-screen and off.
About The Project
CUT is a story inspired by my Grandma Gwen, who in 1962 got pregnant at the age of seventeen. Without the freedom to choose what to do next, she was sent to a home for unwed mothers. After months of inner conflict, confusion, and loneliness, my Grandma Gwen gave birth to a baby. She asked the doctor if she could hold her child. They said no, and whisked the baby away. That baby grew into the woman I'm proud to call my mother. Forty years later, through much searching, my Grandma Gwen finally held her baby girl. Our families reunited and I heard her story.
~ Sofie, writer-director
In the decades before Roe v. Wade, millions of pregnant women were sent to homes for unwed mothers where they spent their pregnancies and gave birth amongst strangers. These women were forced to carry the heavy weight of this secret - many of them for their whole lives. Each home and each woman's story is different. Yet, most young women were coerced into giving their children away and encouraged to forget. Since Roe v. Wade, access to women's healthcare and family planning has evolved. However, few people are familiar with the impact these homes had on families like my own. With CUT, we call attention to the voices that were silenced and lifelong connections that were lost.
Our story opens in “The Home,” where young unmarried pregnant girls are sent for the duration of their pregnancies. Sam - barely older than eighteen - has just gone into labor. She reaches out to hold her best friend, Ava, who is on the brink of labor herself. Sam begs Ava to save her memories, which she’s otherwise bound to lose after giving birth. After all, it’s this special “cutting” procedure that makes The Home so special.
In the cutting room, Sam lies in a daze, with a contraption surrounding her head. A silver strip spools out from her temple and onto a collecting reel. Ava watches this process happen to Sam. Their whole relationship rewinds before her eyes. When the rewind is complete, a nurse lets down a large silver blade and Sam’s memories are cut.
Ava takes a stand against this, and realizes that the simple act of remembering Sam's and her stories is an active resistance against the unfair expectations of the world they live in. She rises up to a journey through The Home, stealing Sam’s memories back. She runs, crawls, and hides through The Home's sterile pink hallways, holding a little can of their friendship all the way through, until going into labor herself.
In CUT, cinematic imagery will be our way into the characters’ memories. Like the silver strip rolling out of Sam’s head, our 16mm film will be a part of Ava, whose point of view we will share from the very first frame. While our camera will not exclusively serve as her eyes, we strive to align the audience with her experience, such that watching our film will feel like watching her memory.
Costume and Production design will be key in aligning us with Ava’s experience and creating a unique world in a short amount of time. We want the world of the film to feel as restrictive to us as viewers as it does to the women who live there. Through detailed sets constructed by our extensive production design team, we will craft a Home that’s a little too perfect, too clean, and too pink for comfort.
These our some visuals that we are drawn to. The symmetrical long hallways have the foreboding quality we hope The Home that we construct will have. The long shots will make us feel the length of Ava’s strenuous journey.
WHAT WE NEED
While 16mm is expensive, we have been lucky enough to secure funds for film and processing. Still, that's only one aspect of the production costs. To make CUT possible, we need to:
- Create the world of CUT through production design. This includes crafting sterile pink hallways through which Ava must travel, storage facilities for discarded memories, and an elaborate memory erasing system. To service a story that takes place in a wholly unsettling atmosphere, we want to create a singular, distinct world that is precisely detailed and color-coordinated.
- Define our characters through a complementary color palette in costume design. We need to buy/make pregnant suits for our lead actors as well as for an ensemble of extras.
- Purchase production insurance in order to secure our particular shooting locations and use certain equipment.
- Secure funds for sound mixing in post-production in order to make sure the film sounds as good as possible.
- And take great care of our unpaid cast and crew by compensating for travel between shooting locations, and feeding them well!
Check out these mockups of our costume and set designs:
Please contact us with any thoughts or questions! We hope you join our team and help us tell this story.
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About This Team
Sofie Somoroff (Writer/Director) is a Film Studies and Theater major at Wesleyan University. With a strong interest in directing, production and costume design, Sofie loves how the tiniest detail of a frame is an opportunity for storytelling! Her experience includes directing student theater, costume designing for Wesleyan, the Williamstown Theater Festival and Ars Nova, and production designing short films. She was grateful to be named a New York State Woman of Distinction for her animated anti-bullying film, “Me,” which also screened at the New York Film Festival. With a background in oral histories and documentary filmmaking, Sofie is excited by history on film, and the power of movies as collective memory.
Ruby Fludzinski (Producer) is a student at Wesleyan University. She has a strong interest in directing, writing and producing. In the past year, she has produced numerous short films while continuing to screenwrite daily. As a double major in Film Studies and History, the bulk of her creative work focuses on telling neglected stories at the heart of American history. She currently works on the production team for an ABC News documentary series about the recent emboldenment of racially motivated hate throughout the country.the power of narrative working with a talented team to watch a simple idea come to fruition. Ruby is driven by the power of narrative storytelling to spark conversation about stories that rarely catch the spotlight.
Tatiana Ettensberger (Producer) will be a senior at Wesleyan University in the fall. She originally intended on going the larger production company route, spending her summers getting coffee and refilling parking meters. Not quickly enough, she realized her desire to produce projects independently, from the ground up. She most recently worked with RCA Records to produce a visual album for the pop band MUNA. When asleep, she dreams of putting out production fires and films that wrap under budget.
Matt Kleppner (Director of Photography) is a Film and American Studies double major at Wesleyan University who works primarily as a DP on short films and music videos. Experienced with both the technical and creative sides of cinematography, he endeavors to enhance the emotional context of a story through lighting, camera, color, and lens. He also works as a freelance filmmaker and recently as a 2nd AC on Investigation Discovery's "A Crime to Remember." His most recent 16mm film, "Summertime," can be viewed on the "additional videos" section of our page.
Hope Fourie (Assistant Director) is a junior at Wesleyan University majoring in Theater and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minoring in Film. With design experience in both theater and film, she is excited to step up and help to achieve the aesthetic and literary goals of this incredible film.
Celina Bernstein (Art Director) is a Senior Studio Art and Theatre Major at Wesleyan University. She's worked on every Theatre and Film production Sofie has let her help with (plus some other stuff), in roles ranging from Stage Manager to Actor, stopping off at Designer along the way. Her undying love for making good art will guarantee that she will work tirelessly to make CUT sensational. Also, she is a student supervisor at the Wesleyan Costume Shop, a rather solid painter, and her Pinterest is dope.
Isaac Gotterer (Associate Producer) (they/them pronouns) is a junior at Wesleyan University. They are double majoring in Theater and Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies. Isaac runs the queer comedy collective at Wesleyan University and is also in other forms of comedy groups at school. Their interests include (and are not limited to): writing/performing, soccer, master chef junior, golfing with grandma, community-based art and performance, eating, and FILMMAKING!!!
Campbell Silverstein (Script Supervisor) is a Psychology major and Film minor at Wesleyan University. He has interned at Pudding Boy Productions, as well as studied film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where he produced several shorts of his own. He is very excited to work with this incredibly talented team.
Ruby Lanet (Set Decorator) has always loved making things. From working in the printshop, to building in the set design studio, to directing and designing theatre pieces, to working on on student films- she has devoted her time at Wesleyan to collaborating on student projects. With a deep love for film and artistic design, she is excited to be combining these passions to help create the elaborate world of CUT.
Annie Ning (Set Decorator) is a prospective Film and English double-major at Wesleyan University. She has worked on three short films this past year as a set decorator and assistant director, and is currently an editor on Intercut, Wesleyan’s first student-run film publication. She also loves theater, and designs as well as produces for Wesleyan's Second Stage, a student-run theater company.
Shane Bannon (Set Decorator) has a high school diploma and has attended eight hours of job readiness workshops. He applied for a position as a story intern at Lucasfilm, but was turned down. He once acted on the hit TV series Mysteries at the Museum as "farm boy who sees a ghost". He also happens to be a film studies major at Wesleyan.
Sofia Navarrete Zur (Wardrobe) is half Mexican, half British and has lived Oaxaca, Mexico and London, England for the majority of her life. Four years ago, Sofia moved to the United States, where she specialized in Production Design at an art based high school in Oakland, CA. There, she directed and participated in the production of musicals (Rent, Fame, and Les Miserables), plays (Three Sisters and The Clean House), and fashion shows, with costumes featured on Project Runway Junior. Now at Wesleyan, She works at the costume shop as well as continues to participate in costume production for theater and film. Also, she recently directed a short documentary on a Break Dancing community in Middletown Connecticut!
Meg West (Gaffer) is a Film and English major at Wesleyan University. She has worked as a gaffer, grip, and script supervisor on a number of student films, both 16mm and digital. Some of these films include The Huntress - a short shot in that crazy blizzard that happened in March, Three of Wands - an exciting experimental 16mm short film shot at Wesleyan, Plain Fiction - a feature film about an author who goes crazy, to name a few!
Our team is evergrowing! Check back soon....