A reclusive college student is driven mad after picking a booger he can’t flick away.

If you are looking to exercise your gag reflexes, you’re in luck. Ariel Zengotita takes us deep, very deep inside a pick. And it gets sticky, quite literally as a reclusive college student is driven mad after picking a booger he can’t flick away. But as disturbing as it sounds, the film and its progression is quite grasping. In the light of some grotesque short films like the previously featured ‘Pop‘, among others, it’s the monsterification of unhygienic obsessions that renders the idea intriguing. Ariel had been wanting to make a film about a guy struggling to flick a booger off his finger for years; it was just something that seemed like it could be funny and relatable.

It was originally supposed to be a simple gag, but the more I developed the story the more I began to pour my personal experiences with anxiety and isolation into it. I saw the booger as something that could parallel the subject of negative, obsessive thinking. If you’re someone who struggles with severe anxiety, it can feel like there’s something, whether it be a fearful thought or a negative belief, that’s stuck to you like glue – it’s a rotten feeling you can’t shake off no matter how hard you try. Often you’ll discover that even if the issue is resolved, you’ll just find something else to worry about. In the words of C.H. Spurgeon, “Desponding people can find reason for fear where no fear is.” I wanted to tell this story as a way of expressing that feeling, but also have it be something people could just have fun watching.


I consider Flick to be a sort of anti-kaiju film since our monster is the exact opposite of a kaiju in size

I’m also a huge fan of kaiju movies, and thought this would be a great opportunity to pay homage. In the monster film our protagonist (Richie) is watching, Gamera (the giant turtle) is seen roaring and causing destruction at a power plant. The creature’s behavior mirrors Richie’s as he screams and wreaks havoc on his own apartment, both situations ending in flames. I consider Flick to be a sort of anti-kaiju film since our monster is the exact opposite of a kaiju in size, yet just as destructive to Richie’s life as Godzilla was to Tokyo. We also went as far as to reference kaiju film scores with our soundtrack. We avoided synths and used real instruments, honing in on deeper brass and woodwind sounds akin to those of Akira Ifukube’s iconic scores. On top of that, the vast majority of our special effects were created practically and shot in-camera.

Behind The Scenes of Flick

Flick takes on a particular style with its highly visual progression within a tight apartment. Ariel tells us about the challenges of shooting in such a tight space and which equipment they used to overcome it.

Personally I would have preferred to shoot Flick on film, but due to the small size of our location and the kind of shots we wanted to achieve (not to mention budget restrictions), shooting on film just wasn’t a possibility. My DP, Tu Do, and I decided to shoot Flick digitally on the Sony Venice so we could take advantage of the large format sensor and its unique design.

The Rialto extension unit helped us treat the camera almost like a DSLR, allowing us to fit it into tight spaces or even place the camera body in a backpack while Tu freely whipped the sensor around for our handheld sequence. We used vintage Canon FD Prime lenses (mainly the 14mm) and a Cooke 18-100mm to give the film a slightly retro/distorted aesthetic, emphasizing the psychological tension while referencing classic cinema. To get the filmic look we wanted, we sent the footage to Fotokem and had them transfer it onto actual 35mm Kodak film.