Claustrophobic within the confines of quarantine, a grief-stricken man becomes enamored by his wife’s final portrait.
Ten years after the passing of his artist wife, Maggie, Richard Ganzfeld still struggles to move forward and is locked inside during quarantine. Alone, he documents his days to keep himself sane, though strange happenings occur as his wife starts to manifest physically in the mirror while his grief increases.
Inebriated, Ganzfeld thumps around Maggie’s old studio, marinating in the past. Things take a grim turn when he drunkenly destroys her final painting. After failing to repair the portrait, he succumbs to his anger and shaves his face and head in an act of mania. During this period of elevated emotions, Maggie continues to appear through the mirror, acting like a physical incarnation of his grief.
Freshly shaven, Ganzfeld returns to the shed to make a last ditch effort at fixing the portrait––but he just can’t fix it. After calling upon Maggie once more to help guide him through his inner turmoil, his request is answered by himself, and a doppelgänger of his younger self emerges from the mirror to guide Ganzfeld. But Ganzfeld rejects the efforts of his younger self, enraging the doppelgänger and he meets his demise as he is ultimately consumed by the past.
Credits / Collaborators / Cast
John Toon as Richard
Kenneth Andrew as Young Richard
Nora Josephine as Maggie
Written & Directed | Reece Daniels
Produced | Menny Son
Executive Producers | Patricia Daniels, Annie Guo, Kenny Wang
Associate Producers | Justin Buzzard, Sheila Chappory, Christopher Daniels, Maria Filippone, Tracy Goettinger, Dawson Roebig, Michael Schneider
Cinematography | Reece Daniels
Production Design | Ten Monteverde
Art Director | Menny Son
Edited & Colored | Reece Daniels
Composer & Sound Mixer | Evan Lafemina
Eva D’Antonio-Martinez, Mariana Saba, Cairo Sainte, & David Schuhman
as birthday party guests
First Assistant Director | Madi Wine
Second Assistant Director | Skya Theobald
Assistant Camera | Seyi Kaja-Gbadegesin
Art Assistant | Alex Tolerico
Script Supervisor | Jivensley Alexis
Production Sound Mixer | Evan Lafemina
Boom Operator | Keith Leung
Makeup Artist | Jenna Hart
Visual Effects | Aashish Joshi
Set Carpenter | Harold Krywak
Production Assistant | Jimmy Daniels
Production Advisor | Jeff Stolow
Tapestry Provided By | Love & Stitch Designs
Special Thanks | Thomas Ardito, Ben Daniels, Seyi Kaja-Gbadegesin Aashish Joshi, Kathleen Kufs, Rick Masi, & Harlee Torres
The story behind the film
“Ganzfeld” is a German word to describe the phenomenon of the total loss of depth perception as in the experience of a white-out. I find that “total loss of depth perception” to represent how we surrender our rationality amid tragedy.
This project initially started as a short biopic about Bryan Charnley, an artist who had paranoid schizophrenia. Charnley documented his illness through a series of self-portraits, which grew increasingly abstract and demented, accompanied by Charnley’s description of each painting. Charnley’s story intrigued me by how composed his works and words were and how his turmoil was not overtly emotional but rather restrained.
With ‘Ganzfeld,’ I wanted to make a film about loss without the theatrics and dramatics. I wanted to create an honest story about the long-term grasp that loss has on us. The stages of grief do not have set parameters. After a long time, we don’t cry like we used to, our sadness manifests in other ways, but these ways are equally debilitating. ‘Ganzfeld’ is a film about loss, our relationship with our past, and what happens when we fail to overcome our grief.