Logline: Ally finds herself in an unsettling psychological state as she tries to adjust to a difficult pregnancy. A routine trip to an ultrasound appointment reveals an even bigger discovery.
Length: 17min, 42 seconds
Director: Alex Burunova
Producer: Courtney Thomas
About the director and producer:
Alex Burunova (director) is originally from Belarus. She graduated with a film degree from the University of Southern California and went on to direct commercials, other short content, as well as a one hour digital series for Lifetime.
Courtney Thomas is an American producer who also graduated from the University of Southern California with a Masters degree in film. She produced Hollywood Today Live as well as production managed an indie feature film, The Happys.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Producer, investors.
Funders: Organically Transform LLC
Release date: We premiered at the 40th Cleveland International Film Festival April 4, 2016. Right now the film is doing the festival circuit and has no date for a wide public release yet.
Congratulations! Why did you make a film called PALE BLUE?
We wanted to tell a story that would make you re-think the way you see mental illness. Pale Blue is a story of a woman who is adjusting to her pregnancy while battling depression. So often mental illness is mistaken for weakness, when in reality, it can be the mind's powerful tool to survive. It wasn't easy to come up with the title for the story but Pale Blue represents that moment when dusk turns to dawn; as in, every morning, the main character having to face a new day and deciding to go on.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Truthfully, I think everyone should watch this film to gain a better understanding of the dimensions of mental illness. I think the film puts you in the mind of someone suffering from severe depression and allows you to have a greater empathy for it.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Pale Blue's main theme is love. A greater-than-life-you-can't-live-without-feeling for your partner, for your unborn child. Everyone can relate to love and understands how far it can take you.
How has the script and film evolved over the course of its development and production?
The script started off as a feature that covered the whole course of the main character's struggle with her condition. As we were developing the feature, we decided to make a short film, as a Proof of Concept - and in order to help us raise the funds for the feature.
So we selected the most turbulent scenes from the end of the second act and created a short film story around it. It was the most challenging thing - telling such a complicated involved story in under 20 minutes, while trying to put the audience inside the troubled mind of the main character.
So we had over 20 drafts of the script, adding and subtracting scenes and moments. And after the film was shot and edited, we came up with the final sequence that opened the film and gave it that eerie unnerving quality.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It was an eye opening moment for us to be in the audience during the film's premiere at the 40th Cleveland International Film Festival and after the movie ended, hearing this collected gasp "oh wow". It was very rewarding to know that the film affected the audience on a deep emotional level and many came up to us afterwards, wanting to see more.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback has been very encouraging and has inspired us to go on and create the feature version, as many people (men and women) seem to really relate to our pregnant character's struggle. And that was a big surprise for us. What we did learn from the feedback is that the ending has to be positive and inspiring for this type of a movie to work.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
It is such a great opportunity for new and emerging filmmakers to be able to have exposure and talk about the inspiration and ideas behind their films. We are grateful to be able to talk about what inspired us to make Pale Blue and the taboo topic behind it (mental illness). Hopefully this raises awareness, as well as makes you want to see the full film.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Right now we are actively looking for a producer, as well as investors to put together the feature version of the film. But of course, the film festival directors' attention would be very nice as well to be able to screen the short for more audiences.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Ideally, we would love for the audiences that see the short, as well as the feature version of Pale Blue, to be able to rethink what they hold true for mental illness and what it is like to be the one affected by it, unable to control it, unable to escape it. It is very important to understand and relate to it, instead of ostracizing. Pale Blue was created to shine the light on the veiled plight of those combating mental illness. The silence and polite avoidance surrounding these issues is deadly.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What does it mean to survive? What do people view as someone giving up versus someone finding a way to survive?
Would you like to add anything else?
Pale Blue was created by a diverse team of female filmmakers and in addition to its diverse cast, Ian Harding (7 times Teen Choice Awards Winner, Pretty Little Liars) skillfully plays the main character's love interest. Will Rothhaar (Emmy Nominated Killing Kennedy) also does a remarkable job playing a supporting role in the film.
We were so fortunate to receive the support of so many talented filmmakers who believed in the film and its message. Oscar-winning post production house Framestore completed our stunning color-correction pro bono. Oscar-winning Spanish composer, Nico Casal, wrote and performed our original score. Finian Makepeace of the Revel Makes did an incredible job writing and composing the music and lyrics to the title song of Pale Blue.
A dynamic duo of female owned Sound House, White Light Audio, designed and mixed our eerie soundscape. Everyone who came together and lent their talents and skill gave Pale Blue that poetic polish that it needed.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Next the writer and lead star Abigail McFarlane and the director Alex Burunova are working on the feature version of Pale Blue.