Synopsis: A young woman questions her own sanity amidst her grief.
Sachin Bhatt (Nabeed)
This statement comes from Writer Nalini Sharma and Director Tessa VonderHaar.
Our film Wolf is a love story. The film takes you on a journey through the young woman’s loss and of how alone in this living wilderness she really feels when she revisits their relationship that ended due to mental illness. Our film aims to challenge stereotypes of minority communities and explores mental health, love, and loss from a fresh perspective. With women both in front and behind the camera, we believe in creating societal shifts through poignant, often humorous storytelling.
It’s challenging to diagnose mental health and it’s rarely approached with gravitas equal to other illnesses. After all, it’s not cancer. It’s not Alzheimer. The advancements of medicine have barely tipped the iceberg of neurological diseases. Mental health has become this elusive, avoidant stigma in our society. It has been more represented in the media, but rarely enough to be a part of a bigger societal conversation. Films like A Beautiful Mind are wonderful but told from a gifted man’s point of view. There is a dire need for stories here from the point of view of women of color. In minority communities, like the South Asian community, outreach is rare and seen as some sort of privilege. The health of the mind is taken for granted. Stigmas like this generate shame and loss for not only the person afflicted but his/her family and the community around them. We have both been deeply affected by loving those with mental illness. We wanted to explore the reality and the pain that untreated, unacknowledged mental illness brings to our day to day lives: this film in particular is inspired by the writer, Nalini’s personal history.
Before film making, we (as the duo Nals and Tess) were audience favorites for years at comedy theaters in Los Angeles. Our digital series, Birdie and Blanche, was a finalist in the Sundance YouTube New Voices Lab 2016 and is currently being developed as a feature. Our most recent short film Garbage was an official selection at the HBO Women in Comedy Festival 2019, awarded Best Dark Comedy Short by Imdb’s Indie Short Fest and is currently streaming on Amazon. Wolf is our first venture into romance – drama.
We hope you enjoy our film.
Tessa is a director, actor, comedian, and producer residing in Los Angeles. She originally hails from Ohio where she went to intercity schools and learned to survive by making people laugh through stories of her dysfunctional yet loving family. Like any well-behaved Midwestern girl, she began training classically and received a BFA in Musical Theatre. Shortly there after she trained and performed at Second City Hollywood, where she also got her start directing and writing. Tessa embarked on her career both in front and behind the camera with producing and creating content with her duo Nals and Tess. You may have seen her acting in front of the camera on Showtime’s Shameless, ABC’s The Middle, seen her in films such as Followed (Timur Bekmambetov) or heard her voicing a character in Netflix’s Motown Magic. Tessa loves exploring the complexity of human nature through film making and believes there is no better platform to make an impact in the world. Tessa makes her directorial debut in film with Wolf.
Austrian International Film Festival - 2020
Best US Short (Wolf)