Fed up with decades of suffering through the forced perfection of modern beauty standards, a tooth takes matters into its own hands.

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Director’s Vision for ‘Tooth’

In the summer of 2020 my parents decided to move out of my childhood home after 34 years, causing my mother to offload what felt like all of her belongings onto me…..including all of my teeth. That’s right, my teeth. She had kept every tooth that had ever fallen out of (or been pulled from) my head.

Of course, I didn’t know what to do with said teeth. They used to be a part of me after all, but I couldn’t display them on my mantle. So I put them in my medicine cabinet where they sat for a year. Every night I’d brush my teeth, and stare at that jar of teeth (so meta). Now, I’m someone who regularly has the classic “teeth falling out” nightmares. So one night, I’m looking at my teeth thinking….what would happen if I were brushing my teeth….and they all fell out? I posed this question to a writer friend of mine. Her response: “Well, they’d come to life and kill you, of course.”

Of course.

When I was a kid, I loved horror and sci-fi. Every Sunday night was a new X-Files episode with my dad. I anticipated summers that brought a new M. Night Shyamalan film. TOOTH is my first narrative film and in a way it feels like the project I’ve wanted to make since those days. While a stylistic departure from my documentary work, TOOTH explores similar themes of female body issues that run through my other films. In an image-conscious society, women persecute their bodies to achieve physical perfection. But so much of the injecting, starving, plucking, pulling, and whitening can wreak havoc on our physical and emotional health. So what if our bodies simply said “you know what? Fuck this, I’m out.” Hence TOOTH.

I love seeing interesting faces on screen that stray from the normal “hot 20 something” we usually see in film. So I cast a first-time actress in her 60s who was able to channel her own struggles with image and fully embrace the film’s message. Janine really put all my old teeth in her mouth!

TOOTH is intended to push genre. To give life to the teeth, I built puppets out of my actual teeth that go alongside 3D-animated models. While TOOTH is inherently startling and disgusting, I want to give the audience permission to laugh and walk out of the theater a bit floored by what they’ve seen. I worked with both a talented composer and 2D artist to create a score and visual design that would let the viewer know that it’s cool to chuckle.

Although only 4 minutes in length, TOOTH has been in the making since I first laid eyes on a work of horror and sci-fi. It has come about by countless hours of dedication by all of the artists who collaborated to bring this dream to life. And it will be a gift to share with audiences to make them laugh, squirm, and wince.

Thank you so much for considering TOOTH. I haven’t been this thrilled about a project in a long time. I hope my weirdness aligns with yours.