We're so excited to share Ryan DeForeest's short, LAST DAY. We love the emphasis of the importance of platonic friendships, especially during big transitions in your life.
“This film is a letter from one best friend to another. It’s about that feeling of moving away from them for college. It’s exciting, sad, but mainly nerve-wracking to start fresh and make new friends, while trying to never forget your original ‘Ride or Die’.” -Ryan Deforeest
Read below for our little chat with him and what inspired this story!
Adolescent Content: So, we need to know... is this based on real events? Did you have someone in mind while you were writing this?
Sort of. I spent my last few days before going off to college with all my best friends, but I spent most of my actual last day packing everything I could for my departure. I moved across the country from LA to NY and I didn’t wanna leave anything behind.
I definitely used the feelings I had in those last few days to write this. It was hard (this was about 7 years ago), but I mirrored a lot of Sam’s feelings about Damon after my own towards my friends. Platonic friendships are something I’ve always cherished. I get very invested and close in my friendships so I wanted to convey a platonic friendship that was beautiful, colorful, and strong.
I don’t see enough friendships in film that look like the friends I have in my life. I have friends of many backgrounds, yet I hardly see friendships depicted on screen that are of more than one color. It’s usually a group of white people and their token POC friend. Most of my friends growing up were hispanic and I wanted to portray that on screen.
Adolescent Content: Which character do you see yourself in most?
Sam, because I was the one leaving home and my best friends weren’t. I was anxious and nervous all at the same time. But I’m also like Damon too-- consoling and listening to friends when they need to vent. I’m so fascinated with how we all go through life differently, so I like to listen and try and understand their pain or frustration.
Adolescent Content: Human relationships are so complicated. Why do you think it’s so hard to express how we really feel? What inspired the reveal of her deleting her heartfelt Instagram caption?
They truly are! Whether it’s friends, family, or romantic partners, there is just something so hard with expressing yourself and worrying about how the other person will react. We want to say so much sometimes, but we don’t want to be overbearing with our feelings or beliefs.
The reveal came from me knowing how long my captions used to be in high school. I would say everything and anything that came to my mind. I was telling everyone how I felt and what I was thinking, regardless if they cared or not. I definitely cared what people thought, but I never took a step back and realized what I was doing.
So when writing this story, I was imagining myself at 17-years-old with the mindset I have now. I’d probably keep all that mushy stuff to myself and just write a simple caption. Or I’d express it later on in life somehow...maybe in a story...or a film...wait a minute…
Adolescent Content: What feeling did you want to capture making this film?
Platonic friendships can be strong, if not stronger than some romantic relationships. There’s just something about spending so much time with a person without romance that really helps you understand how much you can relate and be close with someone else.
Adolescent Content: What are your favorite films? Did any films or directors inspire this piece or your filmmaking?
I love dramas and comedies equally. The Prestige, Don’t Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, The Social Network, Bad Times at the El Royale, Roll Bounce, Captain American: Civil War, Short Term 12, Hercules (animated one obvi), and Mid-90’s just to name a few random ones.
I’m truly inspired by every piece of film and director that I watch. I love to understand how they see and tell stories. I love David Fincher, Ava Duvernay, Christopher Nolan, The Russo Brothers, Greta Gerwig, Noah Hawley, Sam Esmail, Patty Jenkins, Ari Aster, Barry Jenkins to name a few. The way they give us what we, as an audience, want while also giving us ideas and concepts we’d never even thought of. That’s what inspires me.
I honestly haven’t made a narrative short film like this since I graduated from college a few years ago, so I’ve been backed up with ideas and scripts and more ideas and more scripts! Inspiration has been building up from all of these films and directors for years now. I’m a little rusty, but this the brand new start I needed...so watch out!
Adolescent Content: What advice do you have with keeping in touch with your friends as many of us enter the next step in our lives?
I’m gonna be honest, it’ll be difficult. Whether you’re moving 20 minutes down the street, across the country, across the world; it’s going to be hard to keep in touch with other people. When we become adults, we really start to live our lives and realize it’s hard to stay close friends with someone because you don’t see them everyday at first period, at lunchtime, or whatever it may be.
With that said, I’m not saying it’s impossible. I stayed in touch with both of those friends that I left and just tried to catch up as much as I could throughout the years. Winter and summer breaks were needed for our friendships to be as strong as they are today. There was a feeling of not wanting to let go of those friendships, because I knew they were too special to just drop like a dime.
Social Media is also the best way of staying in touch, I think. Comment on your friends’ posts, text/DM them here and there, send them dumb memes that only you two would understand because you have an inside joke, just let them know you haven’t forgotten about them. And if they’re a true homie, they’d do the same. I hate to say it, but it's the little things that matter the most.
Sam - Tatiana Vargas
Damon - Bami Aleshe
Director/Writer - Ryan DeForeest
Prod. Assistant - Mario Andrew Vargas Jr.