THE HIDDEN TRUTH, 10min., USA, Drama
Directed by Lex Lumpkin
After witnessing his best friend perish in a car crash, a young teen struggles to fight his way through drug abuse, depression and guilt.
The Hidden Truth originally came to me in February of 2021. I was heavily inspired by the events of 2020, specifically the quarantine and the feeling of isolation that we all had. With teen scuicie at an alltime high, not only did I want the viewer to connect with the isolation that Jordan felt, but I also wanted to bring awareness to problems that don't care about age, race, gender or ethnicity; dug abuse, depression and suicide.
The very first shot that came to me was the scene of a big empty room with Jordan sitting on the bed in the corner. He’s alone, isolated and empty. This was my favorite part of the film because it is our introduction to life after the car crash.
The car flashback is in black and white to give a contrast to life before and after the car accident. You will also notice that Shawn’s background is in color to signify the warmth that Jordan felt around him. That warmth (along with the color) fades away shortly before the crash. This is a symbol for Shawn’s presence in Jordan’s life. The saturation and exposure in this film were also turned down so that the viewer can get a sense of constant darkness. No matter what conversation is being had on screen, you can't escape the feeling of sadness and desperation.
This being my first time ever making a short film, I found it very hard to cut it down to 10 minutes. I remember being halfway through editing and the timestamp being only 16 minutes. My heart sank realizing how much more I had to cut out. I quickly realized that I should add only the scenes that advanced the storyline.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
In researching teen suicide, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people age 15 to 24 in the U.S. Nearly 20% of high school students report serious thoughts of suicide and 9% have made an attempt to take their life. Even the loss of one life to suicide is too big of a price to pay. This is why I believed that this topic needed to be brought to light.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you
to make this film?
A little under 2 years. Approximately 19 months.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
By far editing and getting the film cut down to ten minutes was indeed an obstacle. Trying to only add the scenes that advanced the story line left me with some tough decisions. I have learned a great deal about editing also. Many of the scenes were not filmed together. For example, every scene except the Mom, was filmed remotely. Which means I had to time every scene out and keyframe when the camera was in motion. Editing was the most time consuming of all the hats I wore for this Production. I'd like to add that I was also in school and completed a show for ABC, freeform (The Watchful Eye) during this period. I am grateful for the experience and I am better for it.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking
about your film in the feedback video?
I was humbled, overjoyed and excited because they saw my vision. Watching a few speak on the relationship dynamics of the characters and how that impacted Jordan's journey was rewarding. It meant that my message was clear. This is a key message theme along with the blurred episodes that showed Jordan's spiral to the end. I must also admit that I am my biggest critic and I never fully felt like the film was truly finished. So hearing all the positive feedback was not only reassuring, but it made me feel even more proud of what the cast and crew were able to accomplish.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
The funny thing is, I've always been a creator. Whether it was when I was creating stop motion movies with my legos and action figures, nerf videos with my brother, or sketches with my friends; I have always had a passion for it. But when 2020 hit, that was when I truly started dedicating myself to the art of writing.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
It might be a tie between the Pursuit of Happyness and Spiderman into the Spider Verse.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other
festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking
I always find constructive criticism very helpful, because I'm always looking for opportunities to make my films better and even more impactful.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your
experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Everything was accessible and easy to understand. It also added a sense of security since they vet the various festivals you can send your film to.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Most definitely sushi, tacos, pizza and spaghetti.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I've got a new show as a season regular on ABC Freeform coming out in January 2023. (The Watchful Eye) I play the role of Elliott, a precocious teenager who lives in The Greybourne. I'm also in the process of making a new film that I plan on shooting within the next couple of months as Highschool has its demands. Lol I am also excited about graduation in June of 2023 as I will be graduating a year early from Highschool.