New York City, New York | Film Short

Drama, Thriller

Charlie Gillette

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $36,842 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

254 supporters | followers

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"TAL" explores the clash between what we owe to the parents who gave us everything, and what we owe to ourselves both as artists & individuals. Gabriel Park stands on a fault line between two seemingly irreconcilable identities - a dutiful son & a secretly queer artist who dreams of acting again.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
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  • The Team
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Mission Statement

"TAL" is a reflection on the pressures Asian Americans face, often pushed towards lucrative careers by well-meaning immigrant parents, usually at the cost of their true selves. This script is a meditation on the life I nearly led, echoing the internal conflicts many immigrant children navigate.

The Story

An all-nighter at the office goes nightmarishly wrong when an overworked attorney is forced into a deadly game of hide-and-seek with his literal inner demon. A Korean-American story of filial piety, identity and mental health. Think Black Swan meets Pan's Labyrinth.

Gabriel Park, a junior associate at a top NYC litigation firm, gave up his passion for acting long ago. Although he has tried to put his artistic ambitions behind him, he still holds onto a small collection of souvenirs from his acting career, including a neutral mask which displays in his office. One night, after realizing how much work he still has left, he calls his mother to let her know he’ll be out late. We learn over the phone that Gabriel’s mother is unwell and that he has chosen a legal career in order to support her. Upon returning to his office, he is startled to find his neutral mask missing, only to discover it is a prank by his coworker, Evan. The two colleagues share an intimate moment — which a mortified (and closeted) Gabriel cuts short.

The evening takes a sinister turn when Gabriel, after accidentally cutting his finger with a boxcutter, discovers the mask missing yet again. Instead of Evan, a pale, humanoid creature reveals itself as the thief, and chases Gabriel through the office building. With no one but himself to save the day, will Gabriel manage to pull through? And exactly who or what is the creature behind the mask?

Writer's Statement

This script is more than a little autobiographical - I spent three years working as a paralegal at a Manhattan litigation firm, and I had plans to put my artistic ambitions aside in favor of the kind of financially secure lifestyle that my mother wanted for me. (To this day, she wastes no time in reminding me over the phone what a great lawyer I’d be, and how handsome I’d look all suited up in court). But between the grueling days that I saw the associates and partners putting in week after week, and my own sense that a little more of me died with each day spent away from my craft, I came to better understand what was truly important to me.The concept for this piece came to me in bits, over countless nights of overtime. I was often the only person left in the office, and the overhead fluorescents and oppressive silences always left me unsettled. It was an uncanny purgatory of sorts, and by 1 or 2AM, I was losing all sense of time, reality, and self. Where was I? What was I doing? Just what was I sacrificing to be here? Did I hear something moving in the shadows, or did I just need some sleep? After a while I would start to imagine that I was, in fact, not alone in the office — but I was never sure if it was some sort of monster, or my own demons. And thus, this script was conceived.

In the entertainment industry we talk a big game about representation, but the fact remains that even with so many huge milestones for Asians, we’re still not all that represented in day-to-day casting. We are simply not a major presence in the industry - or in the arts at all - because our parents are so quick to push us into careers in finance, medicine, tech, etc. Not only that, but we are discouraged from being expressive, sensitive, or even emotional. And while it would be easy to just rage against the injustice of such rigid parenting, we also have to acknowledge that it comes from a place of care. And it’s at this intersection where Tal found its inspiration - this convergence of love, duty, and self-actualization. 

The story of Tal is a meditation on what my life would have almost certainly looked like had I committed to this little death, and on what many children of immigrants experience every day.

Director's Statement

Tal explores themes of filial piety, identity, and mental health. Gabriel exists on a fault line between two identities - an openly queer artist in pursuit of his own passions, and the faithful son dutifully living out his mother’s dreams. His chilling encounter with a creature—representing the aspects of himself he has suppressed, including his sexuality, desires, and ambitions—highlights the inner turmoil stemming from his dual life. By mixing horror with an intimate personal drama, I hope to use the genre to explore deep psychological issues in a visceral way.

The duality between Gabriel and the creature illustrates the conflict between his true desires and the life he’s been pressured into by his obligations to his mother. The horror elements reflect how genuinely frightening it can be to look inward and confront one’s own truths. Gabriel's confrontation with this creature underscores the destructive consequences of denying integral parts of one’s identity.


The setting of the film, predominantly taking place in an empty office building at night, highlights Gabriel's isolation. This physical isolation mirrors his emotional detachment from his own desires and those who care about him, such as his mother.

“There are three masks: the one we think we are, the one we really are, and the one we have in common” Jacques Lecoq

Korean masks called tal (탈) were used in war, on both soldiers and their horses; ceremonially, for burial rites in jade and bronze and for shamanistic ceremonies to drive away evil spirits, to remember the faces of great historical figures, and in the arts, particularly in ritual dances, courtly, and theatrical plays.

The Neutral Mask, which Gabriel displays in his office, revolves around the idea of universal humanity – a shared pool of emotional states and feelings that go beyond personality and individual background. Working with the Neutral Mask we ask two essential questions “Who is a human being before they put on the mask of a character?” and “What all human beings have in common?”

Given Gabriel's background in acting, a profession that revolves around illusion and portrayal of different identities, the film plays with the blurred lines between reality and illusion. The mask, a symbol of acting, becomes a central element in this theme, questioning what is real and what is a facade in both his personal and professional life.

We are scheduled to shoot over three days in MAY 2024. We need to raise funds for the above expenses. We have high ambitions for this film and want to tell a quality story while taking care of the team working on set.

With your help getting through production, we aim for TAL to be represented at various genre festivals and midnight short blocks in the 2024-2025 festival season. We also intend to secure public distribution through platforms like NoBudge, Short of the Week, and ALTER. We've built a team of talented artists, and we plan to develop TAL into a feature film following a successful festival run.

You can watch our last collaboration, VERSACE SOFTBOI exclusively on Film Shortage.

Your financial support for TAL  goes beyond the film itself — you're making an investment in our team of artists and their hard work and talents.


For updates, please follow our campaign on Seed&Spark. You can also follow us individually on instagram for special behind the scenes posts:

Charlie @charkable

Wesley @wesleyhanofficial


Please consider partnering with us financially to help achieve our goal. Check out our wishlist and decide which you can help us achieve, or choose an incentive that excites you. You can also donate any monetary amount even if it's not listed as an incentive.


Spread the word so we can share our story with the largest possible audience. We believe this film will resonate with a lot of people and we want to make sure it reaches them.

We appreciate your time and support!


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Costs $6,000

The setting of the film, predominantly taking place in an empty office building at night, highlights Gabriel's isolation.

Camera & Accessories

Costs $7,300

This portion of the budget will go to renting the camera, lenses, and support systems.


Costs $2,100

This portion of the budget goes to paying the actors.

Grip & Electric

Costs $6,400

This portion of the budget goes to renting grip and lighting equipment for the shoot.

Catering & Craft Services

Costs $2,315

This portion of the budget goes to feeding everyone on set during filming.

Makeup & Hair

Costs $3,125

This portion of the budget goes to paying for makeup artists and buying the materials needed to craft our creature.


Costs $1,700

This portion of the budget goes to purchasing costumes for our film and creating our creature.

Production Sound

Costs $1,200

This portion of the budget goes towards capturing dialogue and sound on set.

Production Design

Costs $2,000

This portion of the budget goes to set dressing and production design.

Production Insurance

Costs $1,900

This portion of the budget goes to production insurance which allows us to rent equipment and secure locations.

Production Staff

Costs $6,700

This portion of the budget goes to hiring and paying the staff that works on the film.


Costs $1,500

This portion of the budget goes towards transporting equipment and making sure cast and crew have safe rides home after shooting overnight.


Costs $1,500

This portion of the budget goes towards editing fees for the film.


Costs $1,000

This portion of the budget goes towards coloring the film in post production

Post Production Sound

Costs $1,000

This portion of the budget covers post production sound editing and mixing.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

WESLEY HAN, Writer, Gabriel

Wesley is a bi-coastal actor and writer who has worked alongside the likes of Aubrey Plaza, Rachel Weisz, and Natasha Lyonne across streaming platforms such as Netflix and Paramount+, as well as on theatrical productions for the National Arts Club and the Yale Cabaret. A graduate of Swarthmore College, they were a recipient of the Kaori Kitao Humanities Fellowship for their playwriting, and were awarded High Honors for their superlative work in acting and dramaturgy.

As a queer person of color, Wesley believes that all storytellers have a duty to create and shape narratives that effect positive change in the world. Wesley's focus, as such, is on stories that show women, people of color, and queer/trans folx living their best damn lives.

More about Wesley


Charlie is an award-winning filmmaker with experience writing, directing, and producing short films, feature films, music videos and editorial/commercials. Her background in both acting and filmmaking allows her to bring a unique perspective to her projects. Since cutting her teeth writing for MTV’s Skins, Charlie has continued to take an unflinching approach to filmmaking, mixing styles, genres and techniques. Her debut feature film These Things Never Last deals with the effects of shifting borders, nationalism and technology in an increasingly divided world on one young couple's relationship.

Charlie has been recognized for her unique voice and perspective, and she is committed to using her platform to tell stories that matter. Her work has been featured in The Hollywood Reporter, Bustle, Teen Vogue, Elle and has screened at film festivals world-wide

More about Charlie

KEEP or DESTROY, Producers

Keep or Destroy is a full service production company creating content in narrative, documentary and commercial spheres. They have premiered their work at dozens of film festivals including Tribeca, Cinequest, Raindance Film Festival, Flickers Rhode Island International Film Festival, Provincetown Film Festival, Aspen Shortsfest, Woodstock Film Festival and many more. Keep or Destroy's projects have received numerous accolades, including wins for Best Narrative Short, Best Comedy, and the Documentary Short Jury Award at the New Orleans Film Festival. Select collaborations include projects produced with Netflix, Fujifilm and Tribeca Studios. The Keep or Destroy team has also proudly served on the Narrative Shorts Jury for the Charlotte Film Festival. Recent and upcoming projects include The Disaster Dreams, featuring Edie Falco, Pedro Pascal and Judith Light, Silent Partner, the feature directorial debut of lauded indie cinematographer Eric Branco, and Bone Black: Midwives vs. The South, a short experimental hybrid documentary about the dark history and erasure of African American birth workers in the American South, made in partnership with Queen Latifah's Queen Collective and currently streaming on BET.

More about Keep or Destroy

TAMMY HUNT, Executive Producer

With over 15 years of experience in talent management and production, Tammy is a partner with the Los Angeles based management and production company, Sandstone Artists. The company represents individuals of various creative roles in the entertainment industry primarily actors, writers and directors.

Her clients, past and present, have been nominated for many prestigious awards including Emmy’s and Academy Awards, written and directed for multi-billion dollar franchises, starred in films for Clint Eastwood, Brian De Palma, Wolfgang Petersen, Richard Donner, Penny Marshall, Brad Furman, Chris Columbus, Denzel Washington, Martin Scorsese, and many more. She has had writers and producers work for MGM, NBC, Universal Television, CBS, USA Network, History Channel, ABC, FOX, and many others.

Tammy has also helped produce numerous projects including the horror-thriller film BECKY, the female empowerment documentary WOMEN LIKE US, and various award winning short films and independently financed features.

JAMIE BRADLEY, Executive Producer

Jamie is a partner with the Los Angeles-based management and production company, Sandstone Artists. The company represents a wide range of talent from across the media landscape including actors, writers and directors for film and television. Their clients’ works have been produced by globally recognized production companies, including Hulu, Twentieth Century Fox, Quiver, Paramount Pictures, MGM, Millennium, Searchlight, Warner Brothers, ION, Hallmark, and more.

In addition, Jamie has helped his clients produce several works including Invisible Brown Man, directed by Roxy Shih (LIST OF A LIFETIME) and featuring actress Richa Moorjani (NEVER HAVE I EVER); LUCY’S LAST SONG, starring Brea Bee (SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK) and Robert Craighead (FUTURE MAN); and the documentary WOMEN LIKE US. Currently, he is in post-production for the feature film BORN AGAIN, a follow-up to Paul Rodriguez’s BORN IN EAST L.A.

ADAM KOLODNY, Director of Photography

Adam Kolodny is a Cinematographer currently based in New York City. His work spans the gamut of the visual world; including narrative, documentary, commercial, fashion, and experimental filmmaking. His approach strives to convey the truth of the story being told. Every choice made - be it lensing, framing, light, or shadow - is done in service of the collaborative experience of visual storytelling.

More about Adam

JENNY GAO, Movement Director, The Creature

Jenny is trained in Beijing opera, martial arts, and various dance styles such as Horton and Kathak. Graduating from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Psychology and Dance, she was awarded the 2018 Melvin B. Troy Prize in Music and Dance for her senior project and a Fulbright grant to study opera at China’s National Academy of Theatre Arts. Her dance journey continued at Roehampton University in London, where she studied dance and cultural anthropology. Additionally, she is a black belt in Kungfu, competing internationally in sword and spear. A member of the Philadelphia Chinese Opera Society since 2008, she's performed at various venues including Times Square for New Year's Eve, the Barclay Center, and on Chinese Central Television (CCTV).

Current Team