Raised in Houston and recently introduced to the Los Angeles creative world through a passion for photography, Anis Maknoija already has a handful of short film projects under his belt, including dramatic short Artifice, the unconventionally humorous With Interest and the multi-layered Breathe.
Earlier this year, when he returned to Texas to resolve several COVID-19 related business issues, Maknoija carved out some time to collaborate with director Frederick Tabiyus Nah IV on a screenplay for the project.
“The idea has been bubbling around for some time, but other projects kept coming up and this kept getting pushed off,” Maknoija said. “It took a significant change of pace in my daily life to get the chance to really focus on this idea. The trip to Houston required a lot of my time, but it allowed me the chance to set a lot of other things aside for a short time. It’s interesting how [the creative process] worked itself out.”
Handing the rough draft of the script off to Joseph Carlin, a writer recommended by Frederick Tabiyus Nah IV, Maknoija wrapped up his responsibilities in Houston and hustled back to Los Angeles to keep up the momentum.
In the short, Maknoija’s Bruce is an executive at a quickly-growing tech company preparing to go public. With a day-in-the-life approach, the viewer watches as Bruce prepares for the meetings to launch a new product as well as establish the valuation of his company. His surroundings reflect his success. His fiancé Liz is everything you would expect in an elite relationship – smart, sexy, sensual – a perfect match for the intelligent, attractive and determined Bruce. Their home is luxurious. Arriving at work, the boardroom is opulent. His fellow executives are ready to make the most of the opportunity. As the valuation deal is finalized, Bruce’s razor-sharp instincts are on display.
Later the same day, at lunch with Liz, it becomes apparent Bruce’s perfect world isn’t all it appears to be. That night, when another opportunity presents itself, someone strikes with a similar enthusiasm and precision as seen earlier in the boardroom.
“This project has been one of my most successful, I think,” Maknoija said. “The conditions we worked through were challenging, but the whole process reinforced my love of the creative process. There was PPE everywhere. Everyone was tested for COVID twice a day. Everyone, the cast and the crew, everyone on this project really did outstanding work. Now, we’re editing, creating the sound design and all the finishing touches.”
“Being away from LA was tough for me,” Maknoija continued. “I felt like I was losing touch with my creativity. I felt like I was missing out on something. As it turns out, that something was the excitement of putting together a film project.”