Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Development
Writer/Director: Chester Vincent Toye
Executive Producer: Hank Willis Thomas
Producer: Anne Alexander
Executive Producer: Alexandra Pechman
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An eager young artist receives a disturbing and surreal introduction to the commercial fine art world during the delivery of a controversial sculpture.
It’s Joe’s first day working for Arnold as an art handler’s assistant. After a long drive from the city, Joe and Arnold arrive at Mrs. Smith’s impressive suburban mansion. The two unload their truck and carry a boxed artwork and ladder up to the door. Joe notices a label on the box and realizes it is an artwork by one of his favorite artists, Fred Rawlings.
Mrs. Smith introduces herself to Joe and shares that before finding success, Fred Rawlings also used to work for Arnold. Joe and Arnold carefully unpack the artwork exposing a mesmerizing glimmering roped surface. As Arnold climbs the ladder to hang the piece the roped sculpture unravels itself and is revealed to be a diamond encrusted noose.
Mrs. Smith becomes visibly aroused and is drawn to the work. She forgets that Joe and Arnold are in the room and has a “moment” with the noose. Joe can’t believe his eyes. This behavior looks all too familiar to Arnold and he snaps her out of it. Mrs. Smith decides the work is not to her liking and instructs for it to be taken down to the basement to live with the other rejected artwork.
Joe and Arnold silently reflect on the strange delivery. As they prepare to part ways Joe asks Arnold about Fred Rawlings. He wants to meet him and learn about his work. Arnold is hesitant and shares that Fred is an unpredictable recluse, but Joe persists.
Joe is dropped off to meet the artist of his dreams. Nothing could have prepared him for how the meeting would go.
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Meet the Filmmakers
Chester Vincent Toye — Writer/Director
Chester Toye is an award-winning filmmaker using horror and dark comedy to work through his realities of race, visibility, labor, and commodification. He received an MFA in Photography from UCLA and has studied improv at Upright Citizens Brigade Los Angeles. His debut short film I’m SO Sorry premiered on No Budge in March 2021 and was named to the 2021 No Budge Films of the Year list. I’m SO Sorry went on to be an Official Selection at the Indie Memphis Film Festival where it won “Best Short” in the After Dark category. Chester approaches his films with a background in portrait photography and has long been interested in the complexity of representation. Chester has worked closely with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas (Hangtime Executive Producer) and experimental filmmaker Stanya Kahn. Growing up he was a standout athlete eventually playing Division 1 lacrosse at Lehigh University. His path to filmmaking has been far from traditional and he is grateful for the range of experiences, relationships, and perspectives that he is able to bring to his films.
Hank Willis Thomas – Executive Producer
Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective identity, commodity, media and popular culture. His work is included in numerous public collections including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. His collaborative projects include Question Brigade: Black Males, In Search Of The Truth (The Truth Booth), and For Freedoms, the first artist-run initiative for art and civic engagement. In 2017, For Freedoms was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for New Media and Online Platform. Thomas is also a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), the AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize (2017), the Soros Equality Fellowship, and is a member of the New York City Public Design Commission.
Anne Alexander – Producer
Anne Alexander is a Brooklyn based producer, director and founding partner of Cousins production studio. Recently her short film What’s In a Pronoun screened at Cannes Lions in 2019 and at the 2020 Damn These Heels LGBTQ Film Festival hosted by the Utah Film Center and Jazzberry (dir. Maxwell Nalevansky), a short film she produced starring Samantha Robinson, was an official selection at the 2020 Newfest Festival. She is currently also in production on a documentary short for the WNBA and the narrative-documentary feature Nosferasta with support from Cinereach and the UK based galleries GasWorks and Spike Island.
Alexandra Pechman – Executive Producer
Alexandra Pechman is a screenwriter and director based in Los Angeles. She wrote the psychosexual thriller Tentacles, produced by Blumhouse TV for Hulu’s INTO THE DARK film series, and has written for the cult anthology series Channel Zero on Syfy. Her debut short film, Thumb, premiered at the 2021 Fantasia Film Festival and was an official competition selection at the Oscar-qualifying 2021 Sitges Film Festival, among many others. Her upcoming short film, Sleep, was named a Spring 2021 Funding Grantee from The Future of Film is Female. Previously as a magazine writer, she published her writing in Vogue, the New York Times, Artforum, Vanity Fair, and many other magazines, and worked for publications such as Artnews, Aperture, and W magazine.
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