Old memories and ghosts from the past resurface when John reluctantly agrees to help his now-alcoholic childhood friend.

‘Mastodon’ is a tightly rounded film that revolves around strong emotions and linking bonds between the past and present. The film is about three best friends who did everything together, getting into all kinds of trouble. But a tragic accident resulted in an indelible wedge between two of the friends. Things would never be the same again.

Directed by Oren Soffer, he was able to gather a core of talented actors who helped bring this profound script to life. ‘Mastodon’ stars Andy Gershenzon (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Sean Klier (The Affair, Madame Secretary), Tommy Nelson (Moonrise Kingdom, The Good Shepherd), Gabriel Rush (Moonrise Kingdom, The Grand Budapest Hotel), David Gabriel Lerner (Broadway’s Mary Poppins), and Sara K. Edwards.

‘Mastodon’ was my final project as part of my film studies at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, created in Professor Darrell Wilson’s Experimental Filmmaking Class. Though I focused mainly on cinematography during my time at NYU and am currently pursuing a career in that field, I knew I wanted to direct a final project before leaving film school, to have something to take out into the world with me.

One of the film’s strongest element was the breach between past and present. A controlled narrative is not an easy thing to maintain when bouncing scenes back and forward from past events to present, and one of the most difficult things comes with matching personality and physicality with the younger counterparts. Something that ‘Mastodon’ captured exceptionally well and brought the film to a deepened level of belief. But for Oren, the hardest part was the adaption from theatre to screen:

The most interesting element in the adaptation was the idea of having the past and present versions of the characters existing in the same place – similar scenes took place in the play, though it is much easier to get away with this kind of technique on a stage than it is on film, where the imagery is intrinsically grounded in a realistic setting. Still, I was very excited to be able to experiment with the form and try something that I hadn’t really seen done before.