Love Thy Neighbor
A troubled wife waits for the return of her husband from Afghanistan. The neighbors are watching.
- Love Thy Neighbor is a short film directed by Mika Boorem. Written and produced by Mika Boorem, Benjamin Boorem, and J. Bower. Cinematography by June Park. Starring Saxon Trainor, Slade Pearce, Jaclyn Ferber, Harold Berger and Brandon Jones.
A troubled wife (Jaclyn Ferber) waits for the return of her husband from Afghanistan. A teenage boy, Jonah ( Slade Pearce) possesses
an overwhelming obsession. The boy's mother, Mandy (Saxon Trainor),
struggles to regain herself after an oppressive marriage.
Unforeseen tension mounts when it becomes apparent there are darker
and more mysterious forces at play in this suburban neighborhood.
STORY AND THEME:
I wanted to create a film that seemed simple and everyday on the
surface, but as the plot develops, becomes increasingly more complex,
to the point we are forced to abandon all of our initial assumptions.
Having moved to Los Angeles at young age to begin working as an actress in film -I have had much exposure to the pedestal
children so often cultivated in the L.A. area. The
character Jonah was a reflection of this persona: out of control children utilizing manipulation to extremes.
I felt that strong female characters were a must. I felt that Mandy was a strongly relatable character, a newly divorced woman who finds herself liberated after years of an oppressive marriage. I was drawn to
the idea of a mother and son exploring their sexuality at the same
time, feeling it would add depth and take the story in interesting
Despite this, the story is also about the hope one can find in
unexpected places. Jonah sees an opportunity to not only numb his pain
through his connection to the neighbor, but more importantly to
connect to a fellow lost soul.
Initially, the plot unfolds as a coming of age story of a boy and
his infatuation with the neighbor. As we are immersed into this world
further, the subtle dark aspects of each character begins to become
revealed. As the characters navigate difficult emotional terrain,
their secrets become ever more apparent. This tangled web of intrigue
serves to disconnect yet also bring together each individual ,
creating the ensemble piece of our vision.
We were inspired by the amazing works of both David Lynch and Pedro
Aldomavar for this film. Both directors match our vision of supplying
multiple dimensions to their audience; leaving it progressive and
allowing the viewer to explore different layers in order to consider a
multitude of endings. Pedro Aldomavar's depiction of strong, complex,
female characters in his work was inspiration for the birth of our
own. Lynch is very talented at leaving the audience always wondering.
Work that contains depth and complexities intrigues us. We want the
audience to regard the climax of the film as something to contemplate
and possibly question, rather than simply accept.
We did not want this film's morals to be black and white, but
rather to portray the events and relationships in the shade of grey
that colors real life. The underlying complexities of a dangerous and
inappropriate relationship we feel will create a different experience
for the audience. We want the viewer to be faced with such taboo
subject matter from the position of those involved in their shoes:
Jonah and Iris. And then through the objective outsiders: Mandy and
The shifting perspectives serve to give the audience multiple
angles with which to approach the situation. They are brought into an
experience saturated with confusion, danger, sadness, and hope, with
answers and conclusions remaining open to interpretation. We want this
film to serve as a subject of discussion and debate. The viewers own
opinions and viewpoints leading them to their unique experience of the
film. We were looking to create a conversation piece that would lead
to open dialogue amongst the audience. We hope that those who
experience the film leave feeling they've connected to a particular
character or event.
The core trio of our group felt drawn to write a piece and produce
something that would share elements of each of our backgrounds and
personalities. We decided on an ensemble piece in order to fully
portray our varying perspectives. It was important we created a piece
we could all enjoy, keeping it simple and small, with a freedom of
subject and style.
We would utilize a very small budget and write to the resources
we had readily available. The entire project would take place at
essentially one location; two homes next door to each other.
We set out with three clear objectives in mind. Number one was to
ensure we created a high quality product. Secondly, we wanted the film
to reflect the current social climate of contemporary Los Angeles
suburbs. Third, to complete the film using a very small budget. To
accomplish creating a film we could be proud of while working with a
very low amount of money, each member had to use their individual
skills to the fullest.
We limited ourselves to one location, few characters, over a
short period of time. This kept the scope of the production
manageable, but also allowed us to use the format of the short film as
an advantage. We wanted to maintain simplicity and elegance, while
maintaining the depth and insight we strive for in all our work.
The film seemed to almost take on a life of its own after we came
up with the initial idea that became "Love Thy Neighbor." We shed our
initial limitations and allowed our creative impulses to guide us on