This is a story about girlhood, and the pressure to grow up too quickly.

With a handful of selections on Film Shortage, Bianca Poletti has certainly caught our attention with her unique style and themes over the last few years (you really should check them out). Her last one, Radical Honesty still remains one of our favorite shorts of the last year. ‘I Am Whole’ returns to a more dynamically structured video approach, with a metaphoric and dreamy vibe circling around girlhood and the pressures of growing up. We checked in with Bianca who told us more about this fabulous project.

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Can you tell me a little bit about ‘I am whole’, how did this film come about?

For a couple of years I was playing around with the idea and theme of girlhood, and what it means to grow up today as a youth through the female gaze. The pressures they feel through social media, their peers, and close friends to grow up so quickly. I really wanted to explore those themes, but the timing was never right. I finally had some time to dig into it this year, and when I did I reached out to a close musician friend of mine Nikki Lorenzo to collaborate with me on it. We talked about the storyline I wanted to explore and she wrote the beautiful poem you hear in the films VO. Once we had that locked, a good friend of mine Grace introduced me to Reina Hardesty, who’s such a talent + plays the lead in the short, I quickly cast her, Amelie (who I had worked with on a commercial before), Natasha (who I had worked with on a commercial before as well) and Brando as the lead male. After that, I reached out to my reps in France and Germany, Frenzy + Zauberberg and they immediately connected with the material and agreed to help support the film, and we were off running after that!

Color palette always seems to be an important touch in your film, what were you looking for specifically here?

I wanted to play with the romance of yellows and warm tones when Reina’s character is in her own space, her bedroom, that’s where she’s able to dream and contemplate things. The inspiration there was Xavier Dolan’s film ‘Mommy.’ For the cooler tones, when we dig into her psyche and dream world, I wanted it to feel pretty dramatically different from her real world, so we feel her insecurities and her questioning things. The inspiration there was ‘Under the skin.’

What kind of challenges did this film bring?

Oof… SO many things ha. Covid hit us pretty hard in pre-production. My DP, sound guy and two different stylists all caught covid days before the shoot. However I only had one day to shoot the film, and it really couldn’t be moved. That’s when the actors were available, I was leaving the next day for a commercial shoot in Europe and it just wasn’t possible to move things around. Luckily I was able to reach out to a very talented DP friend of mine Kayla Hoff, who loved the material and jumped on board immediately, and the same thing for a stylist, Keyla Marquez who is a really talented stylist and a lovely human who helped style the shoot on very short notice. The other hurdle was time, realistically we needed 2 days at least to shoot everything I had written, but we only had one 12-hour shoot day with 3 company moves. However, with the handwork from my amazing producer Shayna Gianelli, our crew, the actors, and everyone that came together for this, they all really pulled through and it ended up being such a magical experience.

What has this film taught you about filmmaking?

That when a group of creatives get together to create something they all believe in, the experience can be so beautiful. Indie short films are never easy to make, and it makes all the difference having an incredible crew and cast who are in it fully with you.

What’s coming up next for Bianca?

I’m working on another dark comedy short with Allison Goldfarb who I worked with on Radical Honesty my short film prior to this one, and we’re also working on a TV series together.