Dear Stranger

an extension of the short film "Dear Stranger" and its major thematic element: Fantasy


Made it!!

So I was able to submit the film just in time. Well, it has not reached there yet, it is all up to UPS (overnight shipping) now to get it there on time. I submitted the film as a rough edit, do not know if this makes it easier or harder to get in but it is clearly evident that it is a rough cut so I really had no choice.

Overall, the film looks good. Very good in some areas while being awkward in others. The biggest problem is with pacing in middle-to-end of the film. Some of the voice-over has to rewritten.

Here is the DVD Menu for Dear Stranger that I used to submit for the festival.

Am not fully satisfied with this but maybe will like it more if it has some movement which I need to add for the final DVD's. The biggest issue is whether it is easier to pick up some of the buttons to the side. There will be more on the final dvd so maybe it would be easier to find. Don't know. What do you all think?



Sorry for lack of posts

The film is on its final leg, very close. Trying to make a festival deadline so I am unable to post too much. Will do after September 30th.



Looking at herself in the mirror

"You will say I am beautiful."


Indian Giver Lyrics

Working with a young talented musician on the music for Dear Stranger, you can check out some of his music here. We are also collaborating on another project as I am directing a music video for one of his songs, Indian Giver.

Some of the lyrics of that song are appropriate to Dear Stranger.

How can you be in both places at once?
How can you be both the Earth and the Sun?
How is it you can revolve 'round yourself?
How can you be you and everyone else?

How is it you're so content with your life
When this little world'll eat us alive?

How is it you can rely on your dreams
When I'm right here? You can have the real me
What would you do if I said you were right?
Love is for ever and ever's tonight
Lyrics by The Tourist



Fantasy submitted by Carla

I am sitting in the production office, on my current film, going over a few lines with Eminem and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (both in Victorian collars) when ?uestlove called from the studio, up on speaker phone with DJ Krush and Japanese translator, to iron out some details on the score for the futuristic Samauri flick I just wrapped.

- Submitted by Carla


Not Used

Two stills that were (sadly) not used and will not appear in the film.



Fantasy submitted by Treasure

My fantasy is to reclaim that joy I had before things got so serious. Before I thought being in the right financial and social place at the right time meant so much.

In my fantasy, I write all the time, it's well received and I'm free of all the oppressive stuff that being somebody's mama and somebody's wife lays on you.

- Submitted by Treasure


Fantasy submitted by Anonymous #1

I have a strange relationship with my family. They don't like me because I've had every opportunity handed to me & they have not. I don't like them because I've made nothing of it. My fantasy is pretty simple. One day, I am successful, they love me again and I don't feel so bad. They are proud of me.

- Submitted by Anonymous


Oscar Wilde Quote

Oscar wilde is one of those artists I hate to like. I find him witty yet cannot tolerate his cynicism of people. Anyways, found this quote by him that I thought was appropriate to Dear Stranger. In Decay of Lying, he suggests that the proper aim of art is "the telling of beautiful untrue things." What of beautiful true things? I guess then it would just become "the telling of beautiful things" which has less of a bite or relevance. But, maybe, also that truth could be found in untrue things.

Anyways, the same could be said of fantasy. Telling oneself of beautiful untrue things. How similar are art and fantasy. Untrue in terms of reality, true in terms of spirit. Got me thinking in the sense that without fantasy and art, where would the spirit (soul, energy or whatever) reside? Are spirit and untrue the same or just untold truth?



Rosie at the park


Fantasy submitted by Rachel Hart

My latest fantasy is very cliche and it directly follows my recent change of life. About 4 months ago I got a brand new life. After living in New York City for 13 years, living the life as an aspiring filmmaker, my boyfriend and I up and went and had a baby, got married, and bought a house in suburbs, ok, not quite in that order. We made it even more abrupt. Induced adulthood I call it. First we got pregnant, then had the baby, then moved in with the grandmother, then worked on buying the house in the suburbs.

Nevertheless, I now long for a time more untethered, somehow thinking that I was more talented and more productive in that time, but I don't think this is the case. A time when I was more hopeful atleast. So now I long for a younger me. This younger me, she reads like Xena the warrior princess, an Artemis, goddess, the archer, skilled at battle in the woods, but a little bit less grounded – her head in the clouds with time to contemplate the spider web glistening with morning dew, prancing around with leather strap up booties, knee high, all leather and greens - mossy and brown earth tones adorn her. Her/my hair is long and soft, its curly now, but often crinkly and dry, her muscles are sinewy and strong and she can dart from one part of the forrest to the next in an instant, leaping over rocks, quietly, quickly, the animals are my friends. She practically lives off air, eating only occasionally when she'll nibble on nuts and berries like in an Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull song, "let me bring you songs from the woods...let me bring you love from the fields, poppies red, and roses filled with summer rain," eating slowly, savoring every morsel. She can hear every sound, pads of her fingertips rubbing together. We used to prance on fairy hills when I was little. This fantasy is a little fairy, white wicka, a little Celtic, a little medieval. Its kind of a puella – is that the name? The child. The name given to women, dreamy, not quite pinned down here on earth, childlike.

The fantasy character is very much pinned down, but me playing her out in my current existence is very much floating and unpinned. This fantasy does bring me closer to places I want to be - nature, a sensual existence, free spirit, carousing with Ian Anderson in the forrest somewhere. It also brings me closer to feeling like I've lost my sanity. I feel the need to let it go but can't and decide that for a fantasy it is very powerful. Oh, fantasies are so rock n roll. Do I embrace her or let her go? I love Kelly's fantasy because she doesn't fight her person in the least. There is something to learn from this. Ah, I'm signing off in contemplation now.

- Submitted by Rachel Hart

Submit your fantasies

I am receiving a lot of interesting feedback in regards to the discussion of fantasies. Many people have had similar experiences with fantasies and are excited to share them. So I am going to start post these submissions on this blog. Also, I thought it would be cool if some of these could be printed and included as part of the DVD material for Dear Stranger. So here goes another social experiment.

If you would like to submit a fantasy:
  1. Click the "contact" link on the left sidebar to email me your fantasy. You could also use the comment section by clicking on the comment link at the end of every post.
  2. State if you would like it to be "submitted by anonymous" or not. If you would like to use your name, then please state the exact way you would like it to appear.
  3. State if you would be cool with potentially being included in the DVD material for Dear Stranger. If there is no mention in your post in regards to this -- by default, I will assume that I can include it, especially if the post was made in the comment section and there is no way to contact you.
  4. Including other info including links to your blog is cool but let us try to keep it neat.
  5. Content wise -- I am pretty open. Try me.
Pretty simple. So get those fantasies on paper (or screen) so the world could be join you in some of the fun (or pain).



Fantasy and tragedy

As the terrible news of the storm Katrina keeps pouring in, I cannot help feeling somewhat helpless. It was the same feeling I had living in NYC during and post September 11, 2001 attacks. I, like now, would constantly have fantasies of helping people during the attacks. I had been outside of those attacks. Though I knew people who lived through the attacks, I was still unable to imagine what it truly felt like. I wondered what I would do? How I would deal with death or something similar? In the face of death, would I give up? Or find the will to survive? Could I do all those self-less acts that I had fantasized in safety? I soon began to realize the power of fantasy to keep me sane, to find out more about one self and to deal with all thoughts that were so foreign and bigger than me. It was a very, very interesting self-reflection, so much so that I decided to write about it. From that, a one-act monologue was written and then produced on a off-off Broadway theater as part of a collection of monologues. It did not end there, I have remained fascinated with fantasy in all its beauty and ugliness. Dear Stranger unlike the monologue is not so tragic, but fantasy as a thematic element is still strong and relevant. A friend, through email, had asked me to comment on the tragedy of the storm Katrina and the helpless feeling of not even being able to express one's thoughts made me think back to Sept 11 attacks, and how that had indirectly lead to this current project.


Cast & Crew

NOTE: The listings are not complete


Rosie - Nikki Alikakos

You can get more information here.

Gordon - Steven Lock

Stranger - Michael Teh

Rosie's Friend - Maryse Karunaratne

Voice-Over - Kelly Cook

Girls at park - Lindsey Glass, Mindy

Stranger's Friend - George Rivas


Filmmaker - Ajit Anthony Prem

Producers - Rachel Connolly

Executive Producers - Kelly Cook, Violette Harris

Still Photographer - Carl Gunhouse

Music Composer - Hunter M. McDermott

Additional Music - Bill Donovan