The Well

New York City, New York | Film Short

Drama

Miles Orduna

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

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This campaign raised $30,528 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

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A subtle and tense exploration of the intersection of toxic masculinity, male vulnerability, race, and rural-urban divides - The Well poses the question: if you could confront your childhood abuser, what would you say?

About The Project

  • The Story
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  • The Team
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Mission Statement

As a Filipino-American writer/director and a survivor of abuse, the opportunity to tell this story is invaluable. My goal is for the audience to feel seen, so I've gathered a talented and diverse cast and crew, highlighted by an Asian leading actor, a female co-director, and a female producer.

The Story

Over the course of a cold, winter night in a small, rural lakeside town, two men need to find the courage and vulnerability to acknowledge their shared history. Brian, a 30-year-old Asian man in the midst of a relationship and identity crisis, decides to drive from his new home in Chicago to the lake-town where his Grandparent's used to live, to confront Chick, a late 30's bar owner who had sexually abused Brian when they were both kids.

But the Chick that Brian finds isn't the one he remembers. Worn down and humbled, the older Chick seems to be focused on being a responsible son, husband, and soon - a good father. Torn between the long-standing trauma from Chick's abuse, and the reality that Chick's childhood behavior was most likely learned from someone else, Brian struggles to balance his desire to punish Chick AND for healthy closure. 

Upping the stakes is the presence of Shelly, Chick's alcoholic father and bar regular. A lost cause, Shelly is from "a different time" - one when casual sexism and racism were welcome conversations; not so much now with his Son and this new Asian-looking guy who just walked in. 

What ensues is a quiet, tension-filled night. One where Brian finds the courage to be honest and vulnerable with Chick and Chick is left facing the painful reality that he too has his own personal demons he'll have to face.

The Well is a story that lives close to my heart. As both a childhood abuse survivor and an Asian-American man who has come of age in a society that routinely emasculates and desexualizes Asian men, I want to help other men with similar experiences feel seen and acknowledged. I know for a fact that there are more of us - male survivors of childhood traumas - out there than we'd like to believe and that many of us have never processed, let alone acknowledged, our traumas in healthy ways. 

Imagine a world in which men felt safe being vulnerable and working through difficult emotions with each other. As the main perpetrators of a lot of our cultural and institutional problems, it's up to us to initiate our own change. And in order for us to change, we need to see how change is possible in others. One of my main goals, when I set out to write this story, was to show two men taking a step towards vulnerability and honesty with each other. I wanted to show the emotional difficulty they face, and I wanted it to be free of violence; which, too often, is how men end up processing their emotions. 

The aesthetic and tone of the film take inspiration from some of my favorite films. 

Andrew Yang's YiYi (2000)

 

Chloe Zhao's Nomandland (2020)

 

 

Alexander Payne's Nebraska (2013)

 

 

I think we live in a unique time - it's both uniquely scary and also a unique opportunity for positive change. I believe one of the most important places we need to see positive is within our men - and more specifically, with our cis-hetero men. In order for us to progress, we need Men to change - and in order for Men to change, they need to see that change is possibleThat's why I'm making this film.

We've also recently gone through a unique period of time - during the pandemic - when hate-inspired violence against the AAPI community became visible to a new and disturbing extent. 

Photo: Ringo Chiu/AFP via Getty Images.                  Rachel Wisniewski / Reuters

Now, perhaps more than ever, we in the AAPI community have a chance to be visible and be heard. That's why The Well isn't just a story about men, it's a story about an Asian man who is struggling with the complex power dynamic that exists in our culture between Asian maleness and White maleness. And though there isn't any violence on-screen, it is still a story about processing violence - both sexual and emotional

 

Living in New York City, we've seen, first hand, just how catastrophic the effects of covid have been on our communities. That's why the safety of our cast and crew is our #1 priority. 

 

All of our cast and crew are fully vaccinated and will be strongly encouraged to receive their covid booster shot before production begins. 

We'll also be requiring (and providing) masks for all non-actors on set, as well as providing covid tests for all cast and crew upon arrival.  

Because this is a cause you can and should feel good about supporting. Our production team is composed of young, talented, and diverse early-career professionals. Our cast is incredibly talented and features an Asian male leading role

You'll be supporting artists of color, women artists, and early career artists all hungry and working to make a difference

It's also the Holiday Season! A time for giving - and with our NYFA Fiscal Sponsorship, all donations made will be 100% tax-deductible

Also, please keep in mind that we need to raise at least 80% of our goal in order to keep the funds! And, If you can, please consider covering the donation fees when given the option to - it's a big help. Thank you!

Wishlist

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Cash Pledge

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Location

Costs $5,000

Your donations will help us support our location financially.

Cast Compensation

Costs $5,000

It is a priority to us to pay fair wages to our diverse cast.

Crew Compensation

Costs $15,000

It takes a team to make a film and we have an amazing and diverse team we want to support.

About This Team

 

Miles Orduña Director/Writer - is a mixed-race, Filipino-American, New York-based playwright and screenwriter by way of Upstate New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Des Moines, IA. His plays and screenplays have been developed and produced through The New School, Cherry Lane Theatre’s Tongue Series, Naked Angel’s 1st Monday’s reading series, Royal Family Productions, and The Lark. He has a BFA in Dramatic Writing from The Conservatory of Theater Arts at SUNY Purchase and an MFA in Playwriting from The New School for Drama.

Sarah Young Director - is an award-winning, NYC-based, Director and Filmmaker. Sarah’s work challenges traditional systems of power with compassion and courage. Her first short film In Case We Get Found (2020) was based on her father's experience as a survivor of a mass shooting event and has won a number of awards including the Audience Award for Suspense at the McMinnville Short Film Fest. We’re All Fine (2021), about the purpose of art during a crisis, was made entirely on Zoom during lockdown and awarded Sarah Best Director, Spring 2021, at Couch Film Festival. The web series pilot Friends Can’t Kiss (FCK) is currently screening at festivals including the Reeling International LGBTQ Festival in Chicago and the Buffalo International Film Festival. www.sarahyoung.net 

Tori Ernst is an actor, writer, and producer living in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from The New School of Drama in 2019 with her Masters in Acting. She’s performed in various off-Broadway theater productions in NYC. She has acted in several independent films and shorts. Her short film Counting, which she wrote and acted in, is now being submitted in the festival circuit. www.toriernst.com

Andy Whitlatch Director of Photography - is a New York-Based Cinematographer. He has a BA in Journalism from Temple University and interned for The Daily Show and Colbert Report. His work can be seen across platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, History, PBS, The New York Times, and the Atlantic. Some of his commercial clients include Genesis, Crest, Cirque Du Soleil, Lancome, and Footlocker. He’s also worked with agencies like BBDO, FCB & Wieden + Kennedy. He has worked in the following countries: India, Nepal, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Iceland, and Canada (Arctic Circle). He lensed the feature film, Songs for a Sloth, directed by Bradley Hasse. It had a successful festival run taking home best feature film awards at Venice film awards and Florence film awards. It is currently streaming on Amazon. His work has been screened at festivals worldwide including Rome Independent Cinema Festival, DUMBO Film Festival, Williamsburg International Film Festival, and Valencia Film Festival. Andy is a member of IATSE Local 600.

 

 

 

 

BRIAN

Robert Lee Leng

Robert's website

IMDB

 

CHICK

Daniel Abeles

IMDB

SHELLY

Gordon Joseph Weiss

IMDB

 

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