Although Dimensions of Self is a short film, the process of creating the script was a long one. The film, which centers a New York City story contemplating how each time we step outside the door we engage in acting of some kind, first began with writer and star Matias Figueroa interpreting his personal experiences into a variety of media before ultimately settling on film.
“It started off as a journal,” he explains in a THR Presents panel, powered by Vision Media, alongside director Sofia Malamute. “And then… [it] was kind of like a short story book. And then it was a whole interview, web channel and stuff like that. Then I ended up writing it as a story, and it ended up being a short film.”
Figueroa reached out to Malamute several times to get her on board as director. “He was very enthusiastic about the script,” she recalls. “Which led me, with his strength, to want to do it… I think I found way much more about the character in the post. I really tried to just use the fictional power of cinema.”
Figueroa was chronicling his own experiences and personal struggles and found writing to be a healthy release. “Sometimes when you write, looking at yourself as a third person, as an external, you’re able to get to have a different view from yourself. All of a sudden, it turned into … not the solution, but the way out.”
The film sees its main character in a variety of settings as wide-ranging as on a stage and inside his apartment. Figueroa believes: “We live through different dimensions and we experience our lives through different dimensions. Who we are when we’re outside of home, and when we’re inside — the auditorium theater represents the outside, how the outside world is our stage, where we perform, where we go out. And we have a character of ourselves to everyone we run into, and to our profession, doing this and that. When he’s in his home, in his apartment… you’re alone. Everything around represents who you are, the way you live, how things are settled … that’s what’s inside of you.”
One line that sticks out in the film is: “The reality is nobody’s watching at all.” For Malamute, the line represents the idea that “we as human beings are capable of fictionalizing our lives so much, to the point that we believe that script, and that’s our reality, but it could be a fiction or fantasy of something else.”
The final cut of the short saw several scenes on the editing floor, or simply not shot at all. For Figueroa, who stars in addition writing and producing, it was helpful to have Malamute there to voice when certain shooting schedules were becoming unrealistic. She’d sometimes say: “We have to cut these three pages, because we don’t have the actual time to shoot it. I was saying it with a lot of pain. But it was the only way to make this film have some sort of coherence in the script, with the things that we’re taking off.”
The filmmaking team leaves Dimensions of Self united in the joy they had making the film. “It’s a project that really aligned together so many people that we never thought [would] be collected in this lifetime,” Malamute muses. “Those are, I think, beautiful things about this type of project.”
This edition of THR Presents is presented by Crea-Haus.
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