Whole + Six Feet Apart
A young Black boy in the suburbs discovers that Blackness can be more than what he's been told. A queer Latinx man in a Texas border town remembers, and buries, his father within an unbearable reality. A pair of "brother" short films about challenging one's culture to reach who you truly are.
Mission StatementThese brother-films ask us to look back to our beginnings and confront ourselves in order to better see who we are, and seek to cultivate empathy across the boundaries built between us.
About The Project
FROM WRITER/DIRECTOR MONTY COLE: Isaac and I have always considered each other brothers, but we actually only met six years ago. Over that six years, we've developed into award-winning and critically acclaimed artists who have worked across the United States, but our brotherhood has always felt like something deeper.
Our upbringings couldn’t be more different. I was raised in a suburb just west of Chicago, with a childhood akin to the Huxtable children. Growing up as a young, Black and gifted boy, I pushed up against the expectations of Blackness in a part of town that was mostly white. Isaac Gómez grew up in the border town of El Paso, Texas where his mom worked at Walmart and his father built his mobile home from the ground up. As a young queer Latinx boy, he pushed up against the expectations of masculinity.
Both of us have confronted and challenged some expectation of who we were meant to be. And while we can pretend that we’ve come out on the other side of adolescence full of acceptance of ourselves, it's just not true. These films, WHOLE and SIX FEET APART, are simultaneously based on true stories from our lives, and they're also fantasies, stories we wish we could tell our younger selves. Stories that tell the younger us and people that look like us: you no longer have to feel distant, you are whole.
“WHOLE” | written and directed by Monty Cole
Growing up in the suburbs, 12-year-old Brandon Peterson feels like he’s missing parts of his blackness. When his friend’s aunt accidentally takes him into a part of the city where he’s not supposed to go, Brandon discovers that maybe he’s not missing anything at all, maybe he is whole.
“SIX FEET APART” | screenplay by Isaac Gomez | directed by Monty Cole
In El Paso, Son stands in the shower, his cinnamon skin glistening, as he prepares for his father’s funeral. Memories flood into his head of the contentious relationship between a gay Latinx man and his religious Dad, as he journeys to a funeral in the times of COVID.
Location is a character unto itself in both films. With “Whole”, there’s the dichotomy of the green and lush suburbs and the orange streetlight of the city that at first glance is ugly, but becomes something beautiful. In “Six Feet Apart” there’s the wide landscape of the desert and the expansiveness of Texas, with touches of neon. We're excited to use non-professional actors in both locations to create a sense of authenticity. The aim is to create iconic characters in iconic locations. The way the Coen Brothers cinematically engage with location and landscape comes to mind.
No Country for Old Men | directed by Joel & Ethan Coen (2007)
Both stories center on memories crashing into and on top of each other. They also strangely both have sudden dance breaks (you’ll see!). We want to give a spirit of unbound creativity, of playfulness that reminds us of the work of director Michel Gondry.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | directed by Michel Gondry (2004)
We also want to use the black and brown skin of the characters to refract color, conveying the pure beauty of this skin. Both central characters show deep wells of emotion and the camera wants to be able to access those human-centered moments, inspired by the ways director Barry Jenkins can bring audiences into the hearts of his characters through the filming itself.
If Beale Street Could Talk | directed by Barry Jenkins (2019)
Thank you so much for considering supporting our films! We have already started pre-production for these films. Your support through this campaign will provide the necessary funds to pay our talent, secure our equipment and prime filming locations, and make these films a reality. Our ultimate goal: submitting these shorts to film festivals, to be shared with individuals and communities around the globe who need to experience their stories.
Here's a brief breakdown of how the funds raised will be utilized:
$11,000 for CAST + CREW
It is a core value of our team that everyone who works on our films should be compensated for their time and effort. Your contribution helps strengthen this standard. Plus, we're planning on casting and hiring locally. Support community-based artists!
$4500 for EQUIPMENT
The tools that help all of the pieces come together. Your support goes a long way toward us accessing the highest quality tools we can get!
$7000 for LOCATIONS
Securing locations can get very complicated very fast. Between permits, rental costs, insurance and so much more, we’ll need all the help we can get!
$4000 for POST-PRODUCTION
Editing is pure magic. As the film is slowly sculpted and becomes itself before our very eyes, your help will go toward making this magic.
$3500 for TRANSPORTATION + CATERING
Each of these films contain multiple locations (and will be shot within COVID-secure parameters). On top of that, folks gotta eat! It's about investing in the details that help us take care of our people.
There are 2 main ways you can help make these vibrant stories a reality!
1) CONTRIBUTE AND RECEIVE REWARDS! We've got some incredible rewards and opportunities lined up to thank you for helping these films become a reality. Contributions of any and every amount are immensely appreciated. Take a look at the sidebar list to see what rewards peak your interest!
2) HELP SPREAD THE WORD! As the old cliché goes, word of mouth is the best form of advertising, and words from your mouths - whether literal or digital - can have an enormous impact on the success of this campaign. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@wholesixfeetapart), share our campaign and our posts about the films, and help us build a groundswell of support for these stories!
We are currently planning to film these shorts in the Spring of 2021 on location in both Chicago, IL and El Paso, TX utilizing local crew members and talent. The aim is to both support the local creative communities and help maintain the highest levels of containment, safety and precaution during this global pandemic. The health and safety of everyone involved in these productions are our top priority. Every precaution will be taken throughout this process to ensure the security of each and every member of the team.
We are deeply grateful to you for reading and learning about our work! We hope that you will consider supporting us. With your help, we can empower these stories to nurture empathy across barriers, boundaries and identities - exactly the kind of art we love to make. Please consider contributing and helping us bring these beautifully personal films to life!
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About This Team
MONTY COLE (writer, "whOle" / director) is an award-winning theatre and film writer-director from Oak Park, IL. He has directed for Steppenwolf, Center Theatre Group, The Goodman Theatre, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Victory Gardens Theater, the Center for New Performance, Cape Cod Theatre Project, Alley Theatre and others. His plays include American Teenager (a commission from the Goodman Theatre) and Black Like Me, an adaptation of the 1961 novel currently in development with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. He recently finished his residency as one of four writers in the Goodman Theatre's Playwrights Unit. He is currently an Artist in Residence at the Center for New Performance. Monty has a BA in Theatre Studies from Emerson College and an MFA Directing degree from the California Institute of the Arts. He is represented by William Morris Endeavor. www.monty-cole.com
ISAAC GÓMEZ (writer, "Six Feet Apart") is an award-winning playwright and television writer originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His plays include La Ruta (Steppenwolf), the way she spoke (Audible) starring Kate del Castillo, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Steppenwolf), among others. He is under commission with Lincoln Center, Alley Theatre, South Coast Repertory, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Television writing credits include Narcos: Mexico on Netflix and another project for Netflix currently undisclosed. He is the recipient of the Dramatists Guild Lanford Wilson Award, the Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, and a 3Arts “Make A Wave” grantee. He is represented by the Gersh Agency and Circle of Confusion.
JOSH SOBEL (producer) is a Los Angeles-based director, producer, educator and content developer with a passion for the intersection of the high concept and the commercial in storytelling, and is currently pursuing his MFA in Directing at California Institute of the Arts. He specializes in putting challenging human experiences through a contemporary pop lens, creating robust and imaginative stories that speak directly to the heart of today’s audiences. Josh’s live work has garnered numerous award nominations and recognition from the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out and others. During his time in Chicago, where he worked as a producer and director of theatre and live performance for 10 years, he was named one of Newcity Stage’s “Players 2019: The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago.” Josh has been fortunate to work with such artists as John deLancie (actor, Star Trek: TNG), Laura Jacqmin (writer, Grace & Frankie) and Isaac Gomez (writer, Narcos: Mexico, The Way She Spoke). He has studied under the tutelage of Colman Domingo (actor/director/writer, Fear The Walking Dead, Passing Strange), and was awarded an Observership of a master director through the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. BA, Oberlin College.
DIANA PEREZ RIVEROS (co-producer) is an award-winning actress and producer originally from Bogotá, Colombia. With over 4 years of experience, this young producer has had the opportunity to work in the production department in sets like Gente-Fied (Netflix) and Grey's Anatomy (Season 16) as well as multiple award-winning short films. Diana debuted in the industry with her short film In a Heartbeat which premiered worldwide at Cannes International Film Festival, the Short Film Corner. Her film was later nominated and won numerous awards for which she had big recognition in her home country Colombia. As a strong Latinx young woman, she's always looking to bring forward stories about her culture and strong female leaders. Diana has a BFA in Acting for Film and has transitioned smoothly into the production side to complement her as an artist.
JULI DEL PRETE (digital content producer) is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer. She is the co-creator, -writer, and -star of The Right Swipe, an intersectional feminist romantic comedy web series (Austin Film Festival, Urbanworld, OTV | Open Television). She was the assistant director for the world premiere of Tracy Letts’s Linda Vista (Broadway, Steppenwolf, Mark Taper Forum). Juli’s plays have been read and produced in Chicago, New York, and Boston, and her full-length play The Art of Losing was a finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. As a photographer, her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and on MTV’s Catfish. She also spent two years running the social channels at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Juli interned under Isaac when he and Monty worked at Victory Gardens Theater and is particularly excited and grateful to reunite with them on this project. http://julidp.xyz