You Don’t Have To Take Orders From The Moon
A short horror film about a tortured woman who must decide how deep into her own darkness she is willing to tread as a looming, omnipotent force promises her everything she has ever wanted.
Jaina Cipriano is a Boston based artist working with photography, film and installation. Her work explores the emotional toll of religious and romantic entrapment through immersive sets and emotional performances that mirror the subconscious.
Interview questions from Lindsay Zasada
What is the significance of color (and lack thereof) in ‘You Don’t Have To Take Orders From The Moon?’
This is a film about codependency, abuse and the absolute hold it can have over you. You don’t have the luxury of dreaming when your life is that scary. Your existence is stripped down to absolute essentials. That’s the world Cynzia is living in when we meet her. She is in survival mode.
The new girl at the end is in the honeymoon phase, being gifted and graced by these celestial, male forces. She feels chosen, special. Her world is bright, open and there is the possibility of something beautiful happening.
This transition was not actually planned for, it happened naturally in editing.
One of my favorite scenes in this film is right after Cynzia is confronted by Carol outside of her house. Can you elaborate on the significance of Carol’s association with the sun?
Carol was Cynzia’s chance to turn the night around. The actresses and I talked a lot about how everything in this film was taking place on The Last Night - meaning there is a lot of built up momentum spurring Cynzia towards her demise. Carol was a reminder of reality, hope, of the possibility of turning things around.
Carol was based on a friend I had in high school who found me crying in the hallway. She stopped to see if I was okay and I wanted to explain to her this existential fear that had gripped me in the middle of the day but we didn’t know each other well enough. She told me to call her if I needed anything and then went back to class. She meant well and her kindness was appreciated but I remember my bad feelings did not even budge.
Carol was a little bit of sun shining into Cynzia’s dark night. But Cynzia is too far gone, too impossible to understand. She needs more than a little sun to turn the night around now.
Can you tell us more about the unseen protagonist of this film and what ‘He’ represents?
He is so many things. He is the man who promises you the world - doing everything in his power to make you fall in love with him but then turns his nose up at you once you’re committed to him. He is the hungry, codependent love that empties your heart. He is a trickster, a narcissist, he is the vengeful Old Testament God I spent my childhood terrified of and praying to nightly.
Your photography work is beautiful and surreal. What influences the narrative worlds of your photographs, and how has this helped you create the narrative world of this film?
My photographic work explores the emotional toll of religious and romantic entrapment through immersive sets and emotional performances that mirror the subconscious.
I work to challenge the fear-based narratives that have been fed to me my whole life. Being raised in an evangelical cult I was unable to explore both the physical world and my internal world freely. Everything I create is to shed light on my fears.
There is incredible power in making a drama out of something painful. It frees me from my past and connects me to my future. It opens me to new connections.
What do you currently have in development and what can we look forward to from you, in the future?
Currently, I am in pre-production for Trauma Bond - an intense coming of age film where a girls night between two best friends takes a dark turn after one of them invites a mysterious newcomer who promises emotional salvation. It is based on an experience I had in my early 20’s.
I also am working towards a soft launch for Finding Bright Productions this summer - a Boston based production company specializing in custom set design for music videos. My team and I have spent the past month in the studio creating an enormous board game set for our first video!
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