Fine Cut

The Looking Glass

About the Film
Noah, an old, reclusive painter created an innovative way to make his scenic paintings come to life with the turn of his magic key. The story starts on the completion of his most prized painting -a small little house against a scenic background. He struggles to control the magical worlds he creates when an older mysterious woman moves into this painting and is unaware of his existence. At first Noah is upset that someone is changing the paintings and tries to get her out, but soon she leads him to the discovery of a companionship he has never know.

Unfortunately, Noah is dying from tuberculosis and a coughing fit causes him to accidentally unhinge the prairie windel -thus breaking it. In his final attempt to recreate this painting, hoping this woman will come back, he holds on to the last days of his life. Knowing he is about to die, Noah paints himself and the woman in the painting and turns the key to bring his windel to life.

Director's Statement
When I was thinking about what kind of movie I wanted to make for my school project, I knew that I wanted something grounded in reality but also with a touch of realism in it. And having spent most of my time the summer before junior year in Hong Kong with my aging grandparents, I realized I wanted to make a movie about an old man. The inspiration for my movie came from two places. Being an graphic novel fan, when I was looking through a comic by Kazu Kibuishi called "The Window Makers," I was very inspired to make something about artwork that captured a moment and moved like the real world when stored in a frame. I also was very inspired by the movie What Dreams May Come with Robin Williams, which dealt with the themes of love, death and mortality. I wanted my movie to capture fundamental human feelings like the desire to be loved and to have companionship. From those ideas, I developed The Looking Glass. The project had to be non-sync so I worked with my wonderful actor David Hanigan to breathe life into my main character so he could deliver a heartfelt performance that would still affect audiences without dialog.

Being a production designer, I wanted my movie to take place in a very interesting location that showed the isolation of my main character, so I helped design the attic space that we eventually build on my school's sound stage. It was definitely one of the biggest sets our stage has seen in a long time that involved the efforts of almost my whole crew to finish it. For the visual effects, I had conceptualized that the paintings he created would move when his magic key turned them on in their cases. To get a moving paint effect, my visual effects artists worked with a plug-in for After Effects developed by the Academy Award winning visual effects artists from What Dreams May Come.

In the end, this film would not be possible especially without the support of my family, relatives, and friends who worked tirelessly to make this little junior level film something special.

About the Filmmaker

Jesse Morrison

Jesse Morrison is a multiethnic filmmaker raised in Hong Kong and Southern California. Coming from an art background, Jesse pursued production design when he was entered Loyola Marymount University School Of Film and TV as a Production major in the Fall of '06. Since then, he has worked with a number of award winning student filmmakers at LMU and USC. Jesse has production designed and art directed a number of award winning films as well including a Radiohead music video for the song "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" directed by J S Mayank in the style of Michel Gondry which has played in London, Newport Beach and came in as a finalist at the Cinegear Expo 2009, where it screened at the Paramount Studio lot. He also produced and art directed a Silver Lion Award winning film called "An Occurrence at Chihuaha City," which screen at LMU's prestigious Film Outside the Frame Festival. During Jesse's senior year, he won the prestigious Golden Cub Award at LMU's Film Outside the Frame Film Festival for his directorial debut of "The Looking Glass" for the best junior film.

Currently, Jesse is producing two undergraduate films and two LMU graduate thesis films while finishing his last year at LMU|SFTV for his Bachelor's degree. Jesse has worked on films and commercials in both Hong Kong and Los Angeles, CA for companies like ASAP Production (HK), Hoo-Ha Pictures Ltd. (HK) and interned at Participant Productions (LA) and Production Planner Ltd. (HK).