The arrival of an unsolicited package upends Ben’s isolated existence of online sex and solo karaoke.

“Monkey-Love, Please Hold” is a heartfelt and comedic short film that delves into the universal themes of loneliness and love, offering a refreshing take on these emotions. Directed by Greg Fox, the film artfully blends comedy with moments of drama to create a compelling narrative. Through the story of Ben, a solitary individual consumed by online sex and solo karaoke, the film explores the profound impact that unexpected connections can have on our lives. With a happy ending that will warm the hearts (and possible other things) of viewers, “Monkey-Love, Please Hold” invites audiences to reflect on their own experiences of loneliness, romance, and the transformative power of love. We had the opportunity to chat with Greg who gave us plenty of detail on the story and process of the film.

What inspired you to explore the themes of loneliness and love in a comedic short film format?

Loneliness and love are two themes that I am always fixated on. There’s so much room to explore them, both dramatically and comically and that was my goal while creating this film. How can I blend them, while creating a comedy with moments of drama? The feelings of depression, loneliness and mental illness are challenges I face day to day and I know many family and friends that do as well. It’s something everyone can relate to in their own personal way. Also the feeling of falling in love or the feeling of heartbreak is something we all share. It’s fundamental in our existence. It’s what makes us individuals. We all have our own unique versions of romance and ideas of what love looks like and for Ben and Katie this is theirs.

Comedy can often provide a fresh perspective on serious topics. How did you use humor to shed light on the complexities of loneliness and love in this film?

I love comedy. Who doesn’t? Everyone loves to laugh. I really wanted to explore these emotions in the film and tackle the affects of depression but do it in a way that wasn’t so overly serious or dramatic. It was fun creating situations that would depict loneliness in a comical way, like Ben doing solo karaoke in his living room. It was fun trying to balance the comedic slapstick moments with the dramatic ones to make them seamless and not feel as though they were competing against one another. Comedy is wonderful for providing an underlying subtext or emotion to a scene, like depression because it is not directly at the forefront, the karaoke is, but the reasoning behind why he’s singing the song he is, is something else entirely.

Loneliness is a universal emotion that many people can relate to. How did you ensure that the film resonates with viewers and evokes empathy for Ben’s situation?

Creating the character of Ben was a very fun experience. I drew inspiration from some of my favourite films, like Punch-Drunk Love and Lost in Translation, both dealing with similar themes as Monkey-Love, but I also equally pulled inspiration from my own life. My own insecurities about love, romance, depression and loneliness are weaved in throughout the film, scene by scene. I struggle with feeling like I can never truly be myself around others, feeling like you’re always acting like different versions of yourself that fit best with the situation you’re in, or the people you’re around. These are all things that make Ben an individual and shape his philosophy on the world. Dan Mousseau and I discussed these feelings of heartbreak, and the pain of not being enough for someone you love. That’s what the character was built on and Dan took it and ran with it. He used his own experiences and brought the character of Ben to life. These emotions are so prevalent in everyone that if a character is well written and well preformed the audience will be able to connect with them and their situation no matter what, even if the circumstances are weird and strange.

The cast plays a crucial role in bringing the characters to life. Can you discuss the casting process and how the actors contributed to the comedic elements and emotional depth of the film?

Casting is such a crucial part of the process and it can really make or break a movie. All three actors; Dan Mousseau, Hannah Galway, and Hayden Finkelshtain are my friends from university. The parts were specifically written for them. Due to the nature of the films subject matter my biggest priority was making sure they felt safe and comfortable on set so that they could bring their own depth and humanity into these characters, which they obviously did.
They’re all very funny individuals with a great comedic sensibility but can also do heavy drama with the flick of a switch. It was a blessing as a director.

Were there any particular challenges you encountered while filming this comedy short? How did you overcome them to create a cohesive and entertaining narrative?

There was one very a big challenge, and that was Covid. We shot all the scenes inside Ben’s apartment in the Fall of 2019 and were scheduled to shoot the scenes of Katie in her cubical, as well as the computer screen graphics in March of 2020. It ended up delaying the overall process by about a year, in order to have all the footage to truly begin editing the film.

What do you hope the audience takes away from watching this short film? Are there any specific messages or themes that you aimed to convey through the story?

I hope the people who watch this film and my other films are entertained. That’s the most important. I want the audience to have an enjoyable time, even if it isn’t a comedy. If the viewer can get anything else, and dig deeper into the subtext of the film than thats great! If they can relate to the emotions, the characters or the message I’m trying to convey than that’s a huge bonus. I hope after people see this movie they feel more comfortable in their own skin and with their own thoughts. For people to be happy and proud of who they are. For them to be less judgemental of others, or quick to make assumptions of people. Everyone is going through something different in this crazy life and we should all be there to support whoever it is with whatever they need. If you know someone who’s going through a hard time or feeling depressed, or alone, then reach out. Give them someone to talk to because it could save their life.

Finally, what are your favorite short films?

I’ve really been enjoying the short films of Kristoffer Borgli. I love his film “Eer”. It’s weird and strange but also very humbling and grounded. I also love his style of mocumentary / documentary filmmaking he uses in “Former Cult Member Hears Music for the First Time” and “It’s Not a Phase”. I think he’s a super talented filmmaker and I’m looking forward to watching more of his films.