Distance is about a couple in love that just happen to live very, very far from one another. Each episode is split into two sides - HIS and HERS (his directed by a male, hers directed by a female), and you as the audience pick which side to watch first!
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About The Project
I met Lauren on a film set. She was funny, and kind, and beautiful, and I fell hard. There was only one problem - she lived far away and was leaving after the film. So we did what any two irrational humans would do - we began a three year long distance relationship. It was a crazy magical time, and it was really hard. And its the basis for this show. I poured my heart and soul into it and I hope you enjoy.
-- Alex Dobrenko
“Distance” is a web series that explores the funny, weird, and very difficult dance that is a long distance relationship. Our story focuses on Emily, an extroverted, ambitious urban farmer in LA and Sam, a sensitive, emotional photographer in New York, and their cosmic joke of trying to love someone that lives 3,000 miles away. The show stars Ashley Spillers (Vice Principals, War Dogs) and Alex Dobrenko (Krisha, The Program).
Each “episode” is split into two parts, one from each of the character’s perspectives - HIS (directed by Jack Lawrence Mayer) and HERS (directed by Carlyn Hudson) - and you as the audience choose which side you want to watch first!
We’ve already shot a pilot of the show which has been shown at SXSW Digital Domain, New York TV Fest, and Seriesfest where we won a Virgin Produced Choice Award! After the festival run, our eight person writing staff wrote a six episode season (6 Sam episodes, 6 Emily episodes) of the show, and now we’re ready to crowdfund that season to life!
Each episode of the show is split into two sides - HIS and HERS (his directed by a Jack Lawrence Mayer, hers directed by Carlyn Hudson). As you watch both sides of the story, you'll see the world of each individual as they weave in and out of each other's lives. And all those times they're together, you'll see those as each individual character sees them: through the lens of their subjective reality.
Perspective-based storytelling is the engine with which we tell our show, creating a “choose your own adventure” story for viewers that showcases the myriad ways in which subjective reality affects one’s experience and, in our case, relationship. We’ll see how Sam and Emily experience the same exact moment completely differently given their current state of mind, how secrets create dramatic / comedic irony for both characters, and how you as the audience relate to and experience the story based on which side you choose to watch first.
All long distance relationships need to have an answer, however vague, to the question of “when will the distance end?” Sam and Emily begin with a plan - Emily will leave LA after her final year of grad school to be with Sam. Though as with all best laid plans, opportunities on both sides of the story cause things to go awry.
We'll also watch as Sam and Emily struggle to balance their day to day realities with their long distance relationship As a couple, they’re great. Sam makes Emily laugh and Emily calms Sam’s crazy. The love isn’t the problem - it’s just about everything else that gets in the way, including the people they are becoming in their own cities.
Succinctly stated, the central question of the first season is: “Who do I put first, me or you?”
Our third protagonist is technology in all of its various forms - texting, video chat, emails, Facebook, etc. These modes of interaction, clearly heightened when in a long distance relationship, are universal to the way that people in their 20’s (and of any age) communicate, love and understand one another.
Inclusion StatementPerspective is at the core of our show, and we strive towards equal opportunity both in front of and behind the camera in terms of class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc. To authentically represent the female's perspective, all of the HER episodes are written and directed by females.
About This Team
Alex Dobrenko is the creator of "Distance." He recently acted in "Krisha," which won SXSW 2015's Grand Jury and Audience Choice Awards before being purchased by A24 and released theatrically. Before that, Alex starred in the comedy-mystery "Arlo and Julie" which premiered at SXSW 2014 to rave reviews from Variety, BadAss Digest, Austin Chronicle and others including Wired Magazine calling Alex one of the "15 Most Fascinating Filmmakers and Stars at SXSW." Alex has also acted in "The Program" starring Ben Foster, Lee Pace and Dustin Hoffman (Alex played Dustin Hoffman's son - a personal dream come true), the indie comedy "Here We Are" (premiering in 2017), and the romantic comedy “Quaker Oaths” which premiered at Austin Film Fest in 2016. can also catch Alex at improv theaters across Los Angeles CA. He is currently taking classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Alex also retains an active role at Tugg, a film start-up based out of Austin.
Ashley Rae Spillers is an actor and producer on “Distance”. You can catch her in HBO’s Vice Principals with Danny McBride and Todd Phillips' new dark comedy, “War Dogs” starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill. Her recent work includes a role opposite Robert DeNiro in Last Vegas and SXSW selections +/-, Arlo and Julie, Two Step, Loves Her Gun, and Magpie. Even though she is moving and shaking in California, she hails from deep in the heart of Texas, and Texas remains deep in her heart. Thats right ya'll.
Carlyn Hudson (writer & director) has directed short films that have premiered at SXSW, Austin Film Festival, LA Comedy Shorts, and was a part of the 2012 Texas Filmmakers Showcase in Los Angeles. She was selected as a segment director of the remake, "Slacker: 20 Years Later," and field produced the Richard Linklater-directed “Up To Speed” series for Hulu. Carlyn co-produced Andrew Bujalski’s “Computer Chess” (Sundance 2013) and was the casting director for his latest effort “Results” (Magnolia Pictures). She also programs the popular indie film series Cinema East, was one of Austin Monthly's 20 in their 20s, and her first feature “The Big Spoon” just had its world premiere at the Austin Film Festival. She is directing the Emily episodes of Distance.
Jack Lawrence Mayer (writer & director) is the co-writer and director of Single Long, a seven-episode HBO GO digitalcomedy. He is the co-creator of numerous web series, including L.A. Famous (2014), and Pushing 23 (2010). He is the co-founder of Screen Door, a live movie company based in Chicago. He was the 2012 recipient of the Edes Prize for Emerging Artists. He is directing the Sam episodes of Distance.
Lauren Wilde (producer) is a Local 706 Makeup Artist based in Los Angeles specializing in makeup design, special effects, prosthetics, and wig building. Lauren has worked on the TruTV show Adam Ruins Everything and the Netflix show American Vandal. She also started her own eco-friendly animal head art organization called Wilde Animals. She's a producer on Distance and half of the real life long distance relationship the show is based upon.
Phil Kaye (writer & producer )is an award-winning poet / artist who has shared his work around the world – performing and teaching in sixteen different countries. Phil’s work has been viewed over five million times online, and he has performed in venues from Lincoln Center in New York City to the Malthouse Theater in Melbourne, Australia. He is a writer and producer on Distance.
Chase Joliet (producer / actor) is the recipient of the Independent Spirits Awards John Cassavettes Award for Best Feature Under $500,000 as well as winning both the SXSW 2016 Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for his work on Krisha. He recently produced It Comes at Night starring Joel Edgerton (Loving, Black Mass), Carmen Ejogo (Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Selma), and Riley Keogh (Mad Max: Fury Road, American Honey) for A24 Films.
Brian Parsons (writer & producer). In addition to mixing it up with the rest of the Distance team, Brian serves as the Director of Content Partnerships at Tugg - the first of its kind cinema on-demand model. A part of Tugg since outset, Brian helped develop the Tugg theatrical model, working with promoters, filmmakers, and theater partners to bring on-demand cinema to cities across the country.
Drew Daniels (Director of Photography) is a Texan cinematographer whose credits include the John Cassavettes Indie Spirit Award winning “Krisha” and 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Award winning short film “Thunder Road”. This year, Drew is one of Variety Magazine's 10 Cinematographers to Watch and just wrapped Trey Shults' second feature with A24. He shoots features, shorts, music videos and commercials all around the world but currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Margaux Rust (Production Designer) With a background in ceramics and installation art, Margaux Rust received her BFA in Sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston in 2008. Shortly after, she moved to the west coast, opening a gallery and retail space in Portland, Oregon in 2010. From connections made there with the local film-making community she made the jump to production design that same year, relishing in the collaborative and adventurous world of music videos,short films, and commercials.
She designed the short film BEST WISHES FROM MILLWOOD, which won the 2015 Austin Film Festival Audience Award for a narrative short; and her most recent short film work, COME SWIM, is written and directed by Kristen Stewart and is premiering in competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.