“People who gaslight tend to use psychological manipulation to make you believe their reality.”
Written by and starring actor Tatjana Anders and directed by Top Tarasin, the short film explores the use of gaslighting within a relationship. The film follows Alicia (played by Tatjana Anders) who meets Mark (played by Kyle James) at a coffee shop after he kindly offers to pay for her coffees. On their first date, we see a glimpse of Mark’s manipulating ways when he insists she was late. His behaviour quickly escalates to controlling her, isolating her from her friends and we begin to see how subtle the control and manipulation can be.
It was writer and actor, Tatjana Anders’ mission to raise awareness on the topic of gaslighting after having read an article, it clicked that a friend of hers had experienced something similar and she did not know what it was until she saw the term existed.
Tatjana explains she read books and talked to therapists about the topic which helped shaped the story. A crowdfunding campaign to raise funding became an awareness campaign when unexpectedly she began receiving messages from people who shared similar experiences.
The short doesn’t allow us to explore the many layers to this topic but does builds the characters and is set up in a way that could very well see it as a full-length feature which is exactly what the plan is for Tatjana.
What’s the main thing she wants people to take away from this? “Sharing the message – provoke people to ask questions – what’s the cause? Do I know someone who has experienced this? Have I experienced something like this?”
When director Top Tarasin first read the script he thought it was great.
“It broke the format in that it doesn’t feel like a short film. All the elements in a short usually lead to one point like a gimmick or punchline, whereas this was atmospheric, it felt like we were in the middle of a feature, it took it’s time.”-Top Tarasin, Director
Interpreting the topic for the big screen had its challenges, Top had to limit what he wanted to say, “there are so many angles to explore – abuser, the people around the situation. We needed to focus on one thing – the perspective of the victim, everything had to enforce that perspective and this, in turn, informed the visual language. The choices we made were made from one perspective.”
Not a topical director, Top is more into universal themes: humans, love, revenge. The topic of gaslighting was different to his usual work, it’s very specific and the focus was the humanity of it, which was a person suffering.
He adds his own perspective of the topic to the film: “the profound sorrow that comes with the loss of time: how did I get here? This is what I wanted to inject into the film.”
Your Reality will be released online in September.
Also Read: The Internet Picks the #BestMovieLineEver