Hey there! Thanks for reading our 2nd blog post EVER!
Today, we will be discussing our new film, Life in a Vial, which is about type one diabetes and insulin affordability.
First of all, thank you SO much to those of you who have already watched the film! And for those of you who don't know, the film debuted on 05/14/2020, and is available to rent or purchase WORLDWIDE on Vimeo! Woot woot! There is a small fee for watching the film; however, 90% of the proceeds from the film will be donated to insulin affordability advocacy!
Now, back to the concept of the film! Life in a Vial was written and directed by Samantha Bozin, and is a very personal subject for her, since she has lived with type one diabetes for nearly 20 years!! While in college, studying to become a professional actor, Samantha had a t1d friend confide in her that she was rationing her insulin because it was too expensive. Samantha knew she had to help her friend, but she also knew she had to help with this issue on a larger level. So when she graduated from college, Samantha decided to bring her passion for theatre and her passion for diabetes advocacy together!
So... Samantha wrote the script one night, called her mom, and started figuring out how to make her idea come to life! Then, she asked some of her friends and industry colleagues to help her out. She first reached out to Samantha Yestrebsky (NYC based actor, known for Mosaic). Both Sams went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where they became good friends. So, Samantha B. reached out to Samantha Y. to be part of the cast (because Sam Y. is an amazing actor and has a really strong craft!!!) Then, Samantha reached out to Leah Abigail Shifrel, whom she met on Instagram through Samantha's fashion blog (@samanthakstyles if you wanna check it out). Leah is also a type one diabetic, and has a diabetes blog (@theblondetype1). She is also going to school to become a professional actor. Samantha felt like even though she and Leah had never met in person, she needed Leah to part of the Life in a Vial cast. I mean, it was perfect... Leah was an actor AND a type one diabetic! Who better to represent this story authentically?! The only character left to cast was "Marcus", and Samantha decided to cast Miles Thompson (not only because he is her boyfriend, but because he has really shown an appreciation and interest in filmmaking). So, once the roles were cast, Samantha reached out to her friends, Kate Raridon and Sedariest Hammond, to help out with the crew, and they were so generous and supportive in agreeing to help!
Once Samantha had the Life in a Vial team, she set up the shoot date and prepared for filming!
And that's basically how Life in a Vial was born! And although the first part of the film is the dramatized tale of what happens when college student (Abigail) rations her insulin and winds up in the hospital, it is based off of true events and stories Samantha has heard on the news and from t1d friends who have shared their experiences with high insulin costs. The second part of the film is a documentary-style talk back, where the audience watches a montage of interviews Samantha conducted with people in the diabetes community. Each person shown in this part of the film has a very unique perspective and connection to the subject matter of the film, and if you are interested, you can watch each person's individual interview on Fentress Film's instagram (@fentressfilms). Then, in the last part of the film, writer and director, Samantha Bozin, speaks directly to the audience and addresses the need for affordable insulin. Now that you've heard all the nitty gritty details of the film, we hope you are intrigued enough to watch it!
Welcome to Fentress Films!! First of all, we are SO glad you decided to stop by to take a minute to look at our work. Thank you so much!
Creating this production company has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I am so so excited to have finally taken the leap!!
For some background info on how this all started... I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts to study theatre, musical theatre, and you guessed it... FILM! While at AADA, I completely fell in love with filmmaking and acting for the camera. After I graduated in 2018, I knew I wanted to create my own films. The thing was, I simply wasn't sure what I wanted to create or what I wanted my voice to be as a filmmaker.
Jump to 2019, I was working as a professional actor (mostly acting in short films and readings of plays) and a professional fashion stylist at Anthropologie and BHLDN. I also spent most of my "days off' (because when you're an artist, there are no days off) working as a freelance portrait and fashion photographer. With my photography business, I started working with clients who wanted their photos to be for statement pieces for their advocacy work (for example, I did a #MeToo photoshoot with one client). I found so much joy working on these powerful photo projects, and it felt so rewarding to have my work be focused on creating positive social change!
So... that's when I decided that I wanted to start creating films centered around social issues and health issues. And boom! Here we are!
Currently, I have created several shorts about mental health and diabetes advocacy. I have found such joy in spreading awareness and trying to help others who may be affected by these issues. My first short (which is a really really short short) is titled Melancholia, and stars Michael Kennedy (another AADA alum and one of my close friends). This short is about depression and anxiety, and is less than one minute in length. You can watch this short for free under our "Films" page on this site!
My second short film is titled Life in a Vial, and stars Samantha Yestrebsky (known for Mosaic), Leah Abigail Shifrel (known for her instagram blog @theblondetype1), and Miles Thompson (who is also part of the Fentress films production team). Life in a Vial is about type one diabetes and the insulin affordability issue here in the US. I created this film because it is a very personal issue to me. I have been living with type one diabetes for nearly 20 years, and when I was in college, one of my friends with type one diabetes confided in me that she was rationing her insulin and asked if I could give her some of my own. She was incredibly scared and embarrassed to ask me, but she was also desperate and knew that if she didn’t ask, she might die. Some background info: insulin is a hormone necessary to regulate glucose in the blood, and without it, a person will die within a few days. Insulin was discovered in 1921 by Frederick Banting, and he sold his patent for $1, ensuring that anyone who needed access to it, would have it. In the US, insulin prices have gone from about $50 per vial in 2010, to close to $350 per vial in 2020. That means that if someone uses 4 vials of insulin per month, they will be spending over $1000 a month for their life saving medication. As you watch my film, I want to ask, “Could you afford to pay the price?” Could you afford to pay $1000+ a month to survive? Or would you have to pay the price of losing your life in order to pay your rent, pay your bills, and provide for your family? This is a very scary issue to talk about, but we can’t ignore it. AND we have the power to make change. Petitions are being signed, bills are being passed, and money is being raised. We can and we will make a difference for type one diabetics. Life in a Vial is now available to rent or purchase on Vimeo! 90% of the proceeds we receive from this film will go towards insulin affordability advocacy. You can watch the trailer for this film for FREE under our "Films" page, OR you can purchase a copy (digital or DVD) of the film in our storefront for $10.
*SO far there has been a fantastic response to the debut of Life in a Vial! We have made over $300 in profits to be donated to charity AND the film has been selected for two major international film festivals... more details to come soon!!!
I also had the opportunity to direct and produce singer/songwriter, Kunle Ulysses', new music video for his song "Daylight". First of all, working with Kunle was such a wonderful experience. He is truly the kindest human being I have ever met and I recommend collaborating with him in the future if you ever get the chance! Going back to the music video... it was so fun! The song is about introspection and love, so Kunle and I decided the video would center around the simplicity and beauty of nature. I used lots of focus and blur effects to connect to the theme of introspection, and then I colored the film to be a bright and dreamy aesthetic. I really encourage you guys to check out Kunle's music; he's so talented! You can find his music on iTunes, Spotify, or SoundCloud. You can also check out the music video I made for him on my storefront page (and you can download the video for FREE).
Anyways, I am so so so excited to have created this film production company and I cannot wait to create more content!!
Thanks for reading (if you made it this far) and stay tuned!
We're a small film company, making big moves! Here's some news on our latest artistic endeavors.
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