The Emotional Octopus

Vancouver, Canada | Film Short

Drama, Experimental

Sasha Duncan

2 Campaigns | British Columbia, Canada

Green Light

This campaign raised C$1,826 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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Relationship post-mortem meets theory of grieving, The Emotional Octopus is an "eighty-five percent true" autobiography of our director's life. Everyone has experienced loss, trauma, pain or grief and we think it's important to tell stories where people can be okay without a typical "happy ending."

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Our story is written, directed and edited by a female filmmaker (who does not love having to qualify her gender). Our cinematographer hails from Brazil. Our camera team was composed of three amazing women. Our cast are East and South Asian. And our producer is one badass female, indeed.

The Story


"Dropping out of space and time into an achingly surreal moment; you're face-to-face with someone for whom you cared, deeply, before your heart broke."

Miri and Isaac were together. Miri and Isaac are grieving. Miri and Isaac are on this beach, and neither wants to be the first to leave. 


Over the course of a day, these two exes reconnect and fall into a dissection of their relationship, dancing around the real truth of why they were together in the first place, dancing around the question that neither has the courage to voice:


"What happened to us?"




Resilient. Proud. Obstinate. A master comparmentalizer, Miri's pysche walks a fine line between self-awareness and complete detachment from her ever-chattering inner monologue. Oh, she's got issues (abandonment, trust, etc.), but the careless observer would never know it. Her inclination is toward lightness, never taking anything too seriously, even if her razor-sharp temper speaks differently about her temperment.


Her father comitted suicide when she was a toddler. It's a part of her personal history she's still processing, has been processing and will keep processing throughout her life. It's a hurt that runs deep, but it's also what makes her light. Makes her love fiercely and voraciously. Makes her, her.


And it's what drew her to Isaac.




Charming. Neurotic. Mischievous in an infuriatingly attractive sort of way. Isaac is one of those boys that's lived a very gentle existence, never having to exert much energy to excel and having all the tools he could ever want or need at his finger tips. And yet. Isaac is insecure in his talents and completely unsure of who he wants to be.


Having lost his father, heartbreakingly quickly, before thirty, Isaac is reeling. Already out of touch with his emotions, Isaac is struggling to cope with the loss, to define who he is, instead burying the search for these answers in selfishness, liquor, and sex. Isaac desperately needs for someone to define him.


And that's what drew him to Miri.




     a thought from the director

This is a story about grief. I have some experience in this arena. When I four, my father committed suicide. An act whose repercussions I didn't begin to reconcile until I was well into my twenties.


There's a story there, but it's not this one: Miri and Isaac's story. The story of the emotional octopus.


This is a story about two people, and they are grieving. Two people, and they are in love. Two people, and they don’t know how to be “normal” after loss.

Two people who haven't realized yet:


this is okay.

Grief is a curious thing. I've found it draws to itself, like to like. The man I dated, my version of "Isaac", was grieving. It was bottomless. Scared. Confused. Reckless. An octopus of emotion. It was a mirror to my own grief. So in I dove.

Throughout our brief relationship, and in the year following, I found myself connecting my feelings about the loss of Isaac with the loss of my father. Mine and Isaac’s story with the story of me and my dad. Seeing him grieve, being so close to a person in so much pain... it became impossible not to see my own octopus. A little calmer. Deeper. Dormant.


Or so I believed.


Over the year[s] spent reflecting on grief I had a somewhat revolutionary idea. Maybe we don't "get better" or "get over". Maybe we're not mean to be "okay". Maybe we can learn to be new people, amazing people, around the losses and the traumas and the pain.


So. It's okay to feel sadness. Loss. Emptiness. Grief and pain. These emotions are valid. They do not demand answers or fulfillment. Feel them. Hold them in your body. This is how we heal. Not by reaching for some distant idea of “normal”. Not by lying about them, ignoring them. Burying them.




"Figure out how to live with it."


What a revolutionary thought.

Every person carries grief within them. Whether from trauma or loss, empathy or kindness. We all grieve. It’s a primal well deeply rooted in the body. Grieving is, in a way, beautiful. It encourages gratitude. Reflection. Understanding. Grief may be expansive, bottomless and oceanic, but it is the opposition to Joy. Sunlight on waves countering the swell below. Do not fear grief, celebrate the connection it offers to you to your humanity.

So. Here is the story I want to tell:

Awful, scary things will happen to you.

They will stay with you.

And you will be still be you.



     and on our film

Many of our references and a lot of inspiration has been taken from Terrence Malick's work. The sweeping visuals, disjointed and jarring and dramatic, paired with moments of intense quiet. The intersection of nature and modernity. The study of what it is to be human. We drew from him, in particular, in how to depict memory and recollection.


[Knight of Cups]


References were also pulled from our fellow indie filmmakers. Please give a watch to Dream Space  and The Wolves Beyond the Timber for a better idea of our plan for the dynamic movement and transitions.


And, of course, our own previous work.


The colour palette, camera movement and “oddness” myself and the cinematographer are using as inspiration for this film, and for a teaser we created in 2016 call “FOOLS”



The chaotic mood and crossfading action we plan to use can best be shown in the director's first music video effort, That One Way.





So. You know where the film comes from. You have an inkling of what it will look like. What's next?


Well. In November of 2018, a small group of us came together to start this film.


A crew of eight, a beach and a camera were all we needed to capture something truly stunning and just a little bit heartbreaking. We gave up weekends, evenings and a little bit of sanity to get the film in the can, and... we did it!


Half the work is done.


Now comes post-production: sound design, score, colour and VFX are integral parts of this project. To create the visual representation of human memory is a somewhat ambitious task, and so here we are, seeking help to complete this film because 


we want people to see it.


We want YOU to see it. We want to take this baby to festivals and celebrate the love poured into it.


With eternal gratitude for the time you've spent with us in this story, our story, and for the help you've come to offer.


   - the cast & crew of The Emotional Octopus






Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Sound Design & Score

Costs C$650

We need sound design and score to help convey the shifts through time it makes, and evoke memory.

Post-Production Picture

Costs C$550

We want it to look great! Some of us are donating time, but a little goes a long way!

Festival Submissions

Costs C$600

We want people to see this film! An average festival submission is $50USD. A lot, but so worth it!

Cash Pledge

Costs C$0

About This Team

Hello! We're a group of indie filmmakers who just want to tell really good stories. Most of us have "day hustles" in the industry (gotta pay those bills!) and do our indie filmmaking in our spare time. Evenings and weekends filled with movie making... what could be better?!

Current Team