For my second unfinished film, I decided to feature Lani Parilla. She’s a young filmmaker/photographer in NYC. When I discovered her, I was immediately stunned by her makeup skills. I wanted to create a vibe showcasing somebody’s talent, so while continuing the journalistic documentary-style film format, I interviewed Lani about some recent emotions in her life. She explained that there’s a clear line between what she wants to do with her life at this point, at age 19, and what people have been telling her to do. Her mother’s native language is Tagalog, so the subtitles were translated accordingly.
The first film featured a person very close to me, and I soon discovered how unchallenging that was. I decided to make the second unfinished film more of a challenge by picking somebody I’ve never met. For this shoot, I worked completely backwards, and I absolutely love the result.
First, I was walking through Greenwich Village during the golden hour (#stunna), noticing the architecture and lighting. I knew I wanted to do a film showcasing different lighting styles. Next, I started hunting for cool people to photograph. Lani stood out to me in particular because of her short-cropped dyed hair, unique makeup looks, and dope art (she organized Art in the Park x Instagram). After she agreed to be photographed by me for the film, I called up my go-to stylist Destinee, who is the founder of House of Diablos. I interviewed Lani as she reapplied her makeup, and I learned about how she's been struggling with finding something to passionately pursue. I had all my locations in mind, so Destinee styled quickly, and I shot without a script. The next day, looking through the photos, I took my notes from the interview and wrote a short story to fit the four photos. The second unfinished film now brings up the points of the safety of what’s known, and the fear of the unknown.
"Mama told me to get a job."
"But nothing feels right, nothing fits."
"It seems as if I'm spinning all alone in this world."
"I am trapped in this bubble of idealism waiting to be freed."
Ting Ting Chen