Asking for help is not WEAK
Project type: Narrative Short
Project status: Development
Director/Writer: JS Mayank
Producer/Actor: Katherine Castro
Producer: Anival Morales
Line Producer: Alex Creswick
Director of Photography: George Reasner
Editor: Mark Sult
Composer: Antonio Lepore
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WEAK is a story about two women. AUDRA is suffering from depression, and her friend JEN tries to help her deal with the mental health issues, offering support and company. Together, they visit a gun range to “let off some steam”, when an unexpected turn of events leads to a surprising revelation.
On the aftermath of something terrible. Police dispatches informing us of “shots fired”. Meeting a police detective, ROGERS, who’s interviewing people at a gun range, asking about the woman, as we FLASH BACK TO
Earlier, meeting AUDRA. She’s alone, depressed, withdrawn, dodging calls from her best friend JEN, who’s persistent, cheery, and determined to help. She’s put together, married, and has a son. We continue seeing Audra’s struggles. She contemplates hurting herself, when she’s visited by Jen, who comes over to perk up her friend. Audra’s angry, and Jen knows just the fix for her to expel some of that energy.
The next day, Audra and Jen meet at a gun range. Audra’s paired with an instructor. Jen knows what she’s doing. Intercut all of this with flashes of Rogers asking others about the victim – all of whom say she didn’t look like someone who could’ve done that. We return to the firing range, as a GUNSHOT goes off, and there’s a trail of blood. Someone killed themselves. We believe it to be Audra, but it is, in fact JEN.
In flashes, we’ll get context, missing all the tell-tale signs of Jen’s own struggles. Her condescending husband, her distant son, and her own sadness. We end on Jen’s son discovering his mother’s suicide, as we leave the audience with statistics on suicide, mental health, and the fact that “Asking for help is not WEAK.”
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Meet the Filmmakers
JS Mayank — Writer/Director
J S Mayank is British-Indian filmmaker, repped by UTA and Ensemble Entertainment. He directed and co-wrote the 6-part scripted narrative podcast America 2.0 starring Patrick J. Adams, Kate Walsh, Laurence Fishburne, Steven Weber, and many more.
JS is currently on a blind deal at Sony Pictures TV to develop an original pilot. He previously sold his pilot The Pardoner to UCP/Syfy with producer Vince Gerardis (Game of Thrones). He got hired by Matt Kaplan/ACE () to write an original feature, and is developing another feature to write & direct for producer John Wells (ER, West Wing, Shameless), based on an idea by Wells and Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash). He’s developing another original pilot, Voyeur with Emmy winning director Jon Cassar (24, The Orville).
His last two short films Emit and Someday have played at over 60 festivals worldwide, garnering universal praise and awards for his vision. Emit also won the prestigious Philip K. Dick Award. JS is being mentored by Damon Lindelof (LOST, Watchmen), he was a Tribeca fellow, and has worked on documentaries for the WHO, UNESCO and United Nations. He lives in Los Angeles.
Katherine Castro — Producer/AUDRA
Award winning, multilingual Dominican Republic-born actress Kathrine Castro is making waves with her diverse background, talent, and passion for her career. After her feature on NBC Latino’s Top 10 Standout Latinos at Sundance, Katherine received the Hollywood FAME award for ‘International Breakthrough Artist of the Year’ and an award from the Women in Film Association in the Dominican Republic. Her short film Someday, was received with massive success in film festivals domestically and internationally including: Great Britain, Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Italy, India and the Dominican Republic; garnering multiple awards including “Best Actress in an Indie Film” from the 2018 LA Film Awards and “Best International Actress” at the 2018 New York International Films Infest Festival.
Katherine holds a degree in Journalism and attended the renowned New York Film Academy and worked closely with premier acting coach, Aaron Speiser (Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez) and singing coach Carol D’ Andrea (Broadway’s “West Side Story”). Katherine also co-produces and co-hosts the podcast Talk fast Listen Slow. The podcast was created to provide a space for the Latinx community to share unfiltered conversations, discussions and advice on culture, love, sex, mental health and life in LA. She resides in Los Angeles
Anival Morales – Executive Producer
Anival Morales fell in love with the magic of filmmaking from a very young age. Growing up in Los Angeles, California, where he would save his hard-earned money as a teenager in order to visit the grandiose movie houses of yesteryear in Downtown Los Angeles and Hollywood, spending hours mesmerized by the magic on the big screen.
His career in the film industry began behind the scenes of Hollywood, working with Heads of Studios and A list actresses establishing himself as a successful,sought-after hair colorist in the film industry. “It is through my good fortune, and luck being on my side” says Anival that one day he met a an amazing actress who sat in his chair, and while changing her look for a new role, she saw the producer in him and invited him to work on her next project, and work they did! They went on to make a beautiful short film called Someday which captured the hearts of audiences worldwide and went on to win awards and accolades at film festivals around the world
Alex Creswick – Line Producer
An MFA graduate of UCLA’s prestigious Producer’s Program, Alex Creswick (she/they) was most recently Vice President of Development and Production for financing production company Paradox Studios. Previously, she was a Director of Development for BiFrost Pictures, and the Submissions Manager for Fortitude International.
Over the course of her career, she’s worked on a variety of films as a development and production executive, including serving as Co-Producer on Mark Steven Johnson’s Finding Steve McQueen; development and production executive for Black Butterfly and Trading Paint; Paul Bettany’s directorial debut Shelter, starring Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie; and Associate Producer for Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead, amongst others. She has also produced web content, such as the hit web series School of Thrones and Muzzled the Musical, as well as on line branded content and commercial work.t She recently completed a campaign between Legendary Digital and Wizards of the Coast, which culminated in a one-off special starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his Magic: The Gathering card collection.
Alex currently works as a freelance producer and development executive, with a focus in Diversity Editing and Sensitivity Reading. Her latest produced feature, partially improvised ensemble drama The Blackout, is currently making the festival rounds.
George Reasner – Director of Photography
George Reasner is an award-winning cinematographer with more than 20 years of film production experience. His works range from feature films, documentaries, commercials and music videos to live multi-camera concerts, live streaming events, digital interactive and virtual reality content.
George holds an M.F.A. in producing & cinematography from the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts, and a B.A. in Communications from Wake Forest University. He has taught Cinematography at Florida State University, Chapman University, the Digital Domain Institute and the Palms Springs Unified School District, among others. George is an avid photographer, movie theater junkie, DJ and yoga practitioner. He is currently living the dream in Hollywood, CA.
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