Synopsis: Abigail and Charles have planned everything to the tee. Together they have built the life they could have only imagined. Now is the perfect time to begin their family. Or is it? Based on their history, the results from the pregnancy test should have fit into their mutual plan; however, it leads them to question the stability of their foundation.
Michel Vidal (Charles)
“The Great Escape” is a film that has an exceptional, intentional vision, and was a joy to help create with writer/producer Kinja Dixon. When Kinja approached me about directing the film, we had a long discussion about the origin of the idea – what it means to be stuck viewing yourself and your options in life through the outdated lens of your upbringing and culture, parents and grandparents, and how to disrupt those assumptions to create a life that is authentic to yourself, in which you can truly thrive and not just do what is expected of you.
These are the questions and choices that Abigail and Charles are making throughout the film, and they come from a personal place for Kinja. His own mother stopped taking birth control without telling his father, a huge and complicated decision that is morally complex, but to which Kinja owes his life, which he now uses as a vehicle to help guide others to be the most realized versions of themselves. Such a specific, personal, and big idea is a perfect seed from which to grow a compelling relationship drama.
Starting with these interesting, flawed, and relatable characters was a great canvas for me as a director. From the beginning we knew that casting actors who could portray the wide range of emotions in the script was our key to success. We spent many days on casting and were extraordinarily lucky to find Sarah Schenkkan and Michel Vidal. Several more days were spent on valuable rehearsal time, all of which led to the honest and vulnerable performances we were able to capture onscreen. My main goal was to convey the intimacy and emotional nature of the script, for the camera to be a fly on the wall, and to give the actors enough freedom and comfortability to reveal the many complicated aspects of themselves onscreen.
I have to thank Kinja for his own vulnerability and flexibility with me throughout the process. We worked on a shoestring budget with a tiny crew and limited time. We made script changes in rehearsal, blocking and location changes on set, and sequential changes in the edit. Through all of it he put his ego aside and did what was best for the project, and I tried to do the same. This was Kinja’s first filmmaking experience, and I’m proud of how we were able to collaborate and learn together to create a one-of-a-kind dramatic short film that we hope leaves you satisfied while wanting more, and leads you to reflect on the big, difficult decisions we all make in our lives.
Adam Berley is a writer and filmmaker based in Brookyn, NY. Originally from Seattle, Adam has worked in film and TV for the last decade. His credits include the comedy series “Adam Dates Women”, “Couples Therapy”, and the award-winning series “#NoFilter”. You can find all his work at adamberley.com