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I actually was in Prague on the night of December 29th, 2013. I actually did go with my sister. And I actually do have questions (more than I can ask here) for my family. As for the embarrassing drunkenness...I’ll never tell.
Months later, an ocean away, on the verge of graduating Tisch School of the Arts, my teacher Geoffrey Horne said to me,
“Everything you hate about yourself... every embarrassing trait you are covering up,
is what makes you unique, human, and unlike anything anyone has ever seen before
....These things will make you, not break you.”
Giving voice to those embarrassing traits, my impending graduation, a set of dying relatives, and an uncertain future, I sat down and wrote the first draft of ‘The Disenchantment’ fusing my experiences of the real December 29th with a fictional confrontation of those inner monsters.
I made my monsters into girls.
Two girls: Rachel and Hazel.
In confronting each other, they confront the questions:
'Who are we?'
and 'How do we become that way?'
It is this ‘becoming’ that transfixes me—you are not what you were and not what you will be yet; like metamorphosing Lepidoptera: neither caterpillar nor butterfly. That’s where this story takes place, in the chrysalis, on the verge of emerging with a new identity...
...an identity you don’t get to choose. Although they share the same past and blood, the girls want to emerge as radically different beings:
Hazel fancies herself a rebel bohemian artist;
Rachel is on track to become a sophisticated, elite lawyer.
Both want to be beautiful.
As the film devolves from fun to dramatic, these ideas unravel. Identity—like beauty—is in the eye of the beholder, not the manipulator, and in grappling with this disparity, Rachel and Hazel, Shannon and I, and the audience, undergo a DISENCHANTMENT. This Disenchantment dispels millennial and female cinematic stereotypes: yes, Rachel and Hazel can be selfish twenty-somethings but they call each other out on it; and Shannon and I defy sexist Hollywood ‘types’ by fleshing out those molds until they shatter.
As far as having two female leads, that’s just not what this is about. This is not a film about ‘being female,’ it does not revolve around men, nor does it revolve around ‘not-revolving-around’ men. Rachel and Hazel are two compelling characters who just happen to be women. That’s it.
And most importantly they grapple with growing up:
Does growing up mean surrendering my spontaneity?
Should or shouldn't I be an artist?
Would that be selfish?
How do I become good?
Can I live with myself if I forgive people who hurt me?
If I don't does that define me?
Who I am?
What decides that anyway?
Or...can I choose?
I can't answer those questions. I won't pretend to. The Disenchantment of a Young Adult and a Wild Child is a film about asking. My goal is simply: To ask. To make a film for anyone who has had a difficult family relationship. For anyone who has stood on the verge of huge change. For anyone who has grown up.
...And for anyone who won't.
LEAH MEYERHOFF (Executive Producer)
An award winning filmmaker whose debut narrative feature I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS was released theatrically in 2015 after premiering at SXSW, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Atlanta Film Festival and additional awards from Woodstock Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, First Time Fest, Tribeca Film Institute, IFP, NYU and the Adrienne Shelly Foundation. Meyerhoff's previous work has screened in over 200 film festivals and aired on IFC, PBS, LOGO and MTV. She is a fellow of the IFP Emerging Visions program at the New York Film Festival. Meyerhoff is also the founder of Film Fatales, a female filmmaker collective based in New York with over a dozen local chapters around the world. She hold a BA in Art-Semiotics from Brown University and an MFA from NYU Tisch's School of the Arts.
WILD OBSCURA FILMS (Production Company)
An independent production company focused on stories, characters, and content driven by the female gaze. Striving for the complex, the dark, the unexpected, they want to revolutionize the modern cinematic experience. Their goal is to bring light to new voices previously unheard and unseen through narrative material. WOF produced THE GOBLIN SONG, an Official Selection of The Sacramento Film & Music Festival, Hollywood Sky Film Festival; and Winner of Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Producing, and Best Cinematography at the First Run Film Festival. WOF were also honored as the Filmmakers of the Year at the SheROCKS 2016 Awards.
NORA UNKEL & DEVIN SHEPHERD (Producers at Wild Obscura Films)
CARYN WAECHTER (Director)
A film director and photographer based in New York City. She is a graduate of Colombia University's MFA film program where she concentrated in Directing. Her first short film BEAT, shot guerilla-style on super 8mm film in underground NYC clubs, marked her voice as "bold, mysterious and musically-driven." Her awards include New Line Cinema Award for Best Director for her short film GOD IS GOOD and Best Female Director from Tangerine Entertainment for her directorial debut feature film THE SISTERHOOD OF THE NIGHT (2015) starring Kal Penn, Georgie Henley, Kara Hayward and Olivia DeJonge about teen girls finding their way through the digital age. SISTERHOOD was released theatrically and on all VOD platforms in April 2015. On the day of its theatrical release, The New York Times raved: "Caryn Waechter, the director, is impressive here in her first feature."
VALENTINA CANIGLIA, AIC IMAGO (Director of Photography)
has transcended to the highest levels of modern cinema as one of the foremost recognized cinematographers in the world. Caniglia is known for her work on the film "Pomegranates and Myrrh", which won the Golden Dagger for Best Cinematography and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Other shorts which have won awards and accolades specifically for Valentina’s cinematography include "Shade Of Love" (Hoboken International FF), "Fred Won't Move Out" (AIC IMAGO awards), and the critically acclaimed film "Assolo" described by the world critics to be a movie with “astonishing and elegant cinematography”. Valentina has shot for HBO, Showtime, and Netflix, and made music videos for The Roots. She and her work have been featured in American Cinematographers, IndieWire, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The New York Times, The Village Voice, and Elle. Valentina is originally from Italy and speaks English, Italian, and Spanish.
HANNAH ROZE (Hazel, Co-Director, Writer)
A graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a major in Drama and a minor in Art History. Short films in which she has appeared have been featured at the New Hampshire Film Festival, the Big Apple Film Fest, and Another Hole in The Head Film Fest. "Haunted", the directorial debut of Katie Ennis (editor, "The Americans") in which Hannah was featured won Best Short Drama at the SNOB (Somewhat North of Boston) Film Festival in 2015. She made her Off-Broadway debut as Marie in "The Final Days of Vincent Van Gogh." Hannah is currently the Membership Coordinator of The Film Fatales, and was Party Coordinator for the College Group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She reads tarot, is certified in the use of eight weapons by the Society of American Fight Directors, and lives in Manhattan.
SHANNON SPANGLER (Rachel, Producer, Assistant Writer)
A graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a double major in Drama and History. Short films in which she has appeared have won the IndieWork's Audience Choice Award, Best Film at the Seoul International Extreme Short Image & Film Festival, Indie Fest's Award of Merit, and have been featured in festivals such as Cannes, the Female Eye Film Festival, and WorldFest Houston. A production of Red Light Winter she starred in won awards at the International Theatre School Festival in Warsaw, Poland in 2015. She is a meticulous planner (usually color-coded), and avid reader and runner. She also lives in Brooklyn.
JOANNA NAUGLE (Editor)
Born and raised in the suburbs of NJ, Joanna moved to NYC in 2008 to attend NYU's Kanbar Institute of Film and Television. While at NYU, she received a Faculty Commendation in Editing for her work on several short films. Since 2012, Joanna has been the Lead Editor at Senior Post. While there she edited over 25 short films and worked with clients including Vice, Vevo, Refinery 29, Facebook, Reebok and Elite Daily. Her first feature film, Kate Can't Swim, premiered at the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival and was awarded a Jury Honorable Mention in the Narrative Features Category. She also recently edited Chris Gethard: Career Suicide, a comedy special presented by Judd Apatow which will premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and be distributed by HBO in the spring. Her greatest professional goal is to work with Roderick Jaynes.
SENIOR POST (Editing Facility)
is a boutique production and post house based in Dumbo, Brooklyn that focuses on films, documentaries, and branded content. Senior Post has worked on award-winning films that have screened at festivals including Sundance, Slamdance, Tribeca, SXSW and Palm Springs Shortfest. Their collaborations have also been featured on Refinery 29, New York Times Op-Docs, Short of the Week and Amazon Instant Video.
CHLOE JURY-FOGEL (First Assistant Director)
A director, writer, and actor from the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she received her BFA in Film & Television Production. Her short films have played in film festivals internationally. She loves collaborating with other artists to tell original and moving stories. Chloe also works as an Assistant Director.
MADELINE WALL (Production Designer)
A Seattle-born, New York City-based director, costumer, and designer. She received her BFA in Film from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Since moving to New York, she has worked for ABC, NBC, Showtime, Parkwood Entertainment, and 11th Street Workshop. Her work as a designer has been featured on international ad campaigns, as well as in festivals around the world. She recently won three Craft Awards at The First Run Film Festival for her work as a designer and editor. The short film, Girl in the Chair, which she designed and produced, was a Student Academy Award nominee. A proud feminist, she is thrilled to be working on this compelling piece with an all female crew.
LEE ANN HOOVER (Script Supervisor)
Lee Ann's creative work began in classical theater, a background she believes endowed her with discipline and ferocity of spirit. After receiving her BA in Theater at Drew University, she shifted her attention to film. Nowadays Lee Ann script supervises on narrative indie projects. While script supervision engages her logic-driven left brain, Lee Ann also loves firing up that right brain for her personal film projects. She will premiere her first short film HAMARABI in January of 2017, which she wrote directed and produced. She is the director and co-executive producer of WONDER: A WEBSERIES, which is now a 2016 NYC Web Fest Official Selection. She is also hard at work on an original feature film script, which she plans on directing. In her professional film projects Lee Ann has worked with three-time Emmy-nominated director Paul Starkman, Emmy-nominated producer Steven bennett, and 2016 Albert Maysels New Documentary Award winner David Feige.
MONIKA KOLODZIEJ (First Assistant Camera)
graduated with a BFA from Montclair State University's Filmmaking program. She has been working professionally now for six years in the camera and grip electric departments. Over the course of her time in the industry, she has worked on many shorts, documentaries, features, and commercials with various independent filmmakers as well as networks such as A&E, The Weather Channel, and NBC. Monika, originally from Poland, is fluent in English and Polish.
BRITNEY BRIGGS (Second Assistant Camera)
is a New Jersey native filmmaker currently attending Montclair State University for a BFA in filmmaking.
KATELYN REBELO (Key Grip)
is a recent graduate of Tisch School of the Arts with a major in Film & Television and a minor in Social and Cultural Analysis. In addition to being a cinematographer, Katelyn works as a graphic designer and animator. In the past she has shot numerous short films, music videos, and documentaries that have been screened at Doc NYC, New Filmmakers New York, Fusion Film Festival, and the Sundance Ignite program. She is especially interested in the ability of film to coincide with socially minded causes.
ANDI OBARSKI (Best Boy Grip & Electric)
A New York City based cinematographer whose work includes short and long form narrative fiction, music videos, web series and documentaries. She has shot in South Korea, France, Canada and will travel for work. Andi is also a member of the NuWave section of the Cinematographers XX.
KRISTIN MURPHY (Best Boy Grip & Electric)
earned a bachelor's degree from NYIT Manhattan in only three years while persistently asking for and being granted opportunities to gain experience on professional sets. She is now a professional set electrician based in New York City, with a desire to be as heavily involved in the lighting process as each project allows. She happily transitions from working on name brand beauty commercials to independent short films, finding a way to learn and improve consistently. She continues to work diligently with the goal of leading a stellar lighting team as the director of photography through the shaping of light in meaningfully composed shots.
MARIA CABRA (Gaffer)
An Italian freelance cinematographer, based in New York. She attended Politecnico di Milano in Italy and has a university degree in Industrial Design. In Milan she started as a follower under the expertise of Maurizio Montagna, researching lighting and film stock as photographer. When Maria moved to New York, she attended a one-year, hands-on cinematography immersion course at New York Film Academy. Since 2011 she has been working in Film and TV productions both in the Camera and G&E departments.
KAT JIRLES (Sound Mixer/Boom Operator)
is a graduate of NYU's Music Technology program with a focus in production sound. Working professionally now for two years, she has been on a variety of different film sets, from narrative and documentary to corporate and commercial, working with networks like NBC Universal, Logo TV, Food Network, and the History Channel. This year, a film Kat mixed also debuted at Sundance. Kat loves the collaboration of working on set, and applying her technical and creative skills to solve any problem.
AMANDA FORSYTH (Hair and Makeup Artist)
has been a professional Makeup + Hair Artist for over fifteen years. She began her career in Australia, and it has led her to other parts of the world, expanding her knowledge and skill in her craft. She has worked extensively in different areas of the make up world, has an easy-going manner, adaptable approach, and a deep appreciation of the creative process.
ALICIA RODIS (Stunt Coordinator)
A stunt performer, coordinator, combat teacher, actor, and trainer here in NYC. Originally hailing from Cleveland, Alicia has sent the last 10 years in NYC working in entertainment violence and storytelling. Most recently she doubled in the feature film Block Island, and has starred and coordinated for a number of Discovery ID series. She is a professor at LIU Post, AMDA, and Fights4. Working with The Disenchantment cast and crew has been an absolute pleasure.
JENNY LIU (VFX Artist)
is an editor, animator, and visual effects artist. She has edited television shows for HGTV and DIYNetwork, and also edited and animated several corporate videos for PricewaterhouseCoopers as well as clients in the beauty and food industries. Having a wide variety of skills in post production allows her to think outside the box and find the best way to tell the story. She has a BFA in Film/TV from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts.
WILL MAYO (Assistant Editor)
is a director and post-producer living and working in Brooklyn. He grew up on a horse farm in Thompson's Station, Tennessee, and went on to receive a bachelor's degree in Film and Television Production from NYU. The films he's directed have been featured by Vimeo Staff Picks, io9, Kotaku, Out, Film Shortage, and international film festivals like Aspen Shortfest and Outfest Los Angeles. His short First Night Out won a $25,000 grant at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) for the production of him most recent film, a short documentary called A Beautiful Inside. Will has extensive experience in post-production, and has worked as an editor, sound designer, and post-production manager. The film's he's sound designed have been recognized by SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival, and the Student Academy Awards.
JULIANA AIDEN (Production Assistant)
A NYC-based actor, writer, and activist originally from Miami, FL. She was last seen playing Hamlet at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). New York credits include Electra (Theatre Row), For the Love Of (Rattlestick Festival), Vessey Street (Actors Studio) and the last 24-Hour Play at (INTAR). Select TV/Film Credits: "The Mysteries of Laura" (NBC), "The Bodega" (Hulu), Boundary, Tarpit, and 79 Parts. She is a proud new members of UNIT 52.
ERICA SCHARN (Production Assistant)
A New York City-based writer, copywriter and editor. Among other projects, she is a Freelance Writer's Assistant for Wild Obscura Films and a Freelance Writer for Prose Media. Before moving to Manhattan on a whim in 2014, she worked at Ceres, and advocate for sustainability leadership, and as a Contributing Writer for The Somerville Times. Originally from Massachusetts, Erica graduated from Brown University with a Master of Public Policy and from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Psychology.
EMILY HERRELL (Production Assistant to the Art Department )
MISTY GOH (Producer's Assistant)
A student at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts pursuing a major in Cinema Studies and a career in entertainment. She has dabbled in production as an intern for films such as Mr. No Problem (2016), We Will Rise (2016, CNN), and TV short-form series: Engineering the Perfect Season (2016, CBS Sports). Her hobbies include watching movies, cooking, and acting as the Production Manager for the Chelsea Music Festival. Misty is extremely grateful to have been part of The Disenchantment and Wild Obscura Films, to be on her first film set- she hopes for similarly exciting experiences in the future!