Logline: A man is forced to navigate through a series of feverish nightmares to find his identity in relation to his parents, his wife, and his gay lover.
Length: 19 min 6 sec
Director: Shu Zhu
Producer: Mary Kerrigan
About the director and producer:
Shu is a recent graduate from NYU with a BFA in Film and TV Production. He is a freelance director, producer and cinematographer based in NYC.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Looking for buyers, festival programmers and bloggers.
Funders: Self financed
Made in association with: New York University
Release date: January 2016
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
This film was made as a project for an experimental film class where I was toying with different narrative structures inspired by Lynchian dream logic. I was very inspired by the surrealist movement and Freud's theory about the erotic psyche and subconsciousness.
I felt there was a lot of turbulences with my relationship with my parents and realized how it had transcended into my relationships with other people and making this film was a cathartic experience very necessary for myself at that period of time.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I hoped people would love this film because it is very different from the films that we are accustomed to watching. The story centers on a man named Stanley Foster, whose abused childhood from his unloving parents transcends into madness in his adult life. Stanley is struggling between his relationship with his pregnant wife and his lover, as he perceives himself as a helpless victim, unable to pursue his true happiness.
The film employs dream logic, in that the events are all loosely threaded together, however, a hidden narrative is slowly unveiled through the recurrence of characters and symbolic objects. The film itself is the "feverish dream" of Stanley Foster, as an "undesirable child", moments before his untimely death.
In making this film, I attempt to explore thematic elements such as Freudian subconscious, Oedipus complex and maternity. I think there were a lot of very striking imageries in there that would captivate people.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The film has a lot of subconscious and primitive images centered on the erotic psyche, which Freud believed to be quite universal and I hope it would communicate with the audience on a subconscious level. On its core, it is a story about a gay man's struggle to understand himself and deal with his sexual identity in relation to his parents, his wife, and his gay lover.
Who he is is different from what his mother hopes him to be and it causes a constant conflict in himself. It's always been a personal struggle for me and I think it is a sentiment shared by many people with similar experiences.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The original script was centered on an artist who is deprived of good ideas and meets his younger self in a feverish dream, who he then falls in love with. However, it felt very impersonal and was not the story I necessarily wanted to tell. It provided the basic structure for the film following dream logic but then I changed the story to something about a man dealing with sexuality, which is what I was dealing at the time.
What type of feedback have you received so far? Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I have received a lot of positive feedback in regard to the structure and imageries, but I have also received a lot of criticism on its length as well as its ‘’incomprehensibility’’, which doesn’t really bother me. Some have pointed out that it is too much of a derivative of David Lynch’s work, which I cannot deny -- I made it at the peak of my David Lynch fan-boy period.
But I was only a third year film student when I made the film, and I do believe there is no fault to copy a master you admire in student works – it is how you grow and will eventually find your own voice. I see it purely as a practice in style and I am content with how it turns out, for exactly what it is intended to be.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I’m hoping to get more attraction for the project and show more people a piece of my work that I am very proud of. I’m hoping it could be exposed to more festival programmers.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I’m looking for festival programmers to make Fever more visible and future collaborators to find new ways to innovate the language of film.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope it could serve as a (subconscious?) catharsis for people with similar experiences, and in recognizing certain feelings in a surrealist setting, they can start thinking about their relationships with people around them and make peace with themselves.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
How do we break free from people’s expectations of us and commit to what we truly desire without fearing the judgment of people?
Would you like to add anything else?
I’m always on the look out for future collaborators to make projects that are different and exciting. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m currently wrapping up another project titled A Man who Fell From the Sky, it is a magical realist tale about the relationship between a lonely hunter and a man who is transformed from a bird.
Mary is working on her thesis film at NYU titled Geeze Louis. You can read more about her project here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/geez-louise#/