In a city full of people who have grown used to avoiding each other, two strangers meet and then must choose between being comfortable and being honest with themselves about what they want. The strangers challenge each other to go outside their comfort zones as they’re drawn closer than they ever could have anticipated in the span of a single day. Almost like a dream, “Strangers” explores a chance encounter that offers a glimpse into own subconscious and our fantasies about being loved and understood.
Short film, RT: 13:49
Written & directed by: Jess Thoubboron
Produced by: Michael Infante
Cinematography: Evan Cohen
Starring: Ronald Peet & Rose Blanshei
Music: James Thoubboron
Color: Yana Karin
Associate Producer: Evalena Marie
Still Photography: Carol Cho
8/9/17: Online premiere: Film Shortage | Daily Short Picks
9/11/16 @ 2pm: Northeast Film Festival | Teaneck Cinemas, Teaneck, NJ
9/17/16 @ 4pm: Coney Island Film Festival | Coney Island Museum, Brookyln, NY
8/20/16: Imagined Boundaries | Silent Barn, Brooklyn, NY
Review by Kirk Fernwood of One Film Fan: “a very emotional, candidly raw, yet also meaningfully understated portrayal of the search for significance, acceptance, and love within the context of two human beings finding each other at the perfect moment.”
Interview by Bedford + Bowery: “At the end of the day, I just want to connect with people. And I hope that [this screening] helps someone in a similar place where maybe they don’t feel a part of any scene or like they’re a little isolated.”
Interview by New Jersey Stage: “‘Strangers’ is […] about two lonely people who have a lot of ideas about themselves that don’t actually reflect their realities. After these characters meet, they get personal and confront each other about how each person is letting their perceptions of themselves stand in the way of their own path to fulfillment. Sometimes a stranger is the best person to help us grow because they can see us clearly without letting any history getting in the way of their view of us.”
About 11 years ago, the idea for this film sprang from a fantasy I had about meeting a stranger who would understand me — someone whom I could share an instantaneous intimate connection with even though we’d just met. I wondered what that fantasy meant about me and the way I related to other people, so I explored it more deeply and it evolved into “Strangers.”
My good friend Rose, who stars in the film, told me a story about a situation where she was walking down the street, screaming on her phone as she left an angry voicemail for a family member. Then a guy whom she vaguely knew walked by and stopped her, asking her if she was okay. She said she recognized that there were two potential paths before her: she could either pretend that she was fine and engage in small talk, or she could tell him what was really going on in her life. She chose the latter and it opened up into a beautiful conversation that resulted from her vulnerability.
Hearing Rose’s story struck a chord in me and made me examine an urge that I believe all people have: to connect with others in a way that feels authentic and reflective of how we’re actually feeling, rather than how we want to be perceived. Sometimes we wear a mask because we don’t want to risk being rejected or judged for how we feel, but if we don’t take enough risks in life, we give ourselves less opportunities to be accepted for who we really are. “Strangers” is about what can happen when we take chances and embrace the possibilities of where our connections can take us.