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Laying Low

“Laying Low” is a narrative short film that chronicles an adventurous New Year’s Eve for its protagonist, David Estrada, a thirtysomething Filipino-Chinese American, who is newly released from prison after serving 5 years in a federal penitentiary for trafficking Meth and MDMA (Molly). Dave isn’t your typical small-time drug dealer; he was a Harvard Phi Beta Kappa on the partner track at one of Wall Street’s most prestigious corporate law firms before his life was derailed.

The piece opens with Dave, who lacks impulse control and has a nose for trouble, getting fired from his job followed by his girlfriend ditching their New Year’s Eve plans. Licking his wounds from the day in a Brooklyn dive bar, Dave innocently gets ensnared in a moral dilemma when he makes friends with Vic, a charming, mysterious stranger.

Dave is asked to do Vic a “favor” involving a corpse in the trunk of a car that puts his hard-earned freedom in peril.

  • Hank H. Kim
  • Hank H. Kim
  • Sylvia Caminer
    "Chosen" (Starring Harvey Keitel) ; "Grace"
  • Johnny Wu
    Key Cast
    “The Good Wife,” “Limitless,” “24,” “Cold Case” & “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
  • Laith Nakli
    Key Cast
    “Horse Soldiers” by Jerry Bruckheimer, “The Wall” by Doug Liman, “24: Legacy,” “Inside Amy Schumer,” “The Blacklist” & “The Visitor.”
  • Clark Middleton
    Key Cast
    “Twin Peaks,” “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” “Louie,” “Snowpiercer,” “The Path” & “Law & Order.”
  • Luke Geissbuhler
    IFC Films’ “Match” (Directed by Stephen Belber; Starring Patrick Stewart) & “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” (Directed by Larry Charles; Starring Sacha Baron Cohen); Oscar nominee for Best Live Action Short for “Time Freak.”
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 5, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    100,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Hank H. Kim

As an actor, Hank H. Kim's credits include NBC's "New Amsterdam", Sony Pictures Classic's "After The Wedding", and STARZ Network's "Power." A 2010 graduate of the William Esper Studio for acting as well as the Labyrinth Theater Co. master class. Playwright credits include “Whipped” and “Iago’s Dying.”

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

An ex-con, recently paroled, fights to rebuild his life in New York City. Is the mecca of temptation truly the right place for a guy with PTSD and low impulse control?

I was inspired to write “Laying Low” and create Dave while pondering the notion of redemption, specifically getting a 2nd chance in life, a do-over. I wanted to craft a character, who desperately sets out to be spiritually and emotionally invested in his life, unlike his previously hollow, materialistic existence, which had made him profoundly miserable. The tension that underwrites this film is the conflict often created by one’s noble desires to overcome one’s flaws and demons to lead a meaningful life in an age where that is increasingly difficult. In Dave’s case, he must face the added challenges of being an ex-con trying to find his place in an ever-increasingly economically hostile New York City.

“Laying Low” was informed by my concerns about the relentless drive towards gentrification, transforming New York City and its impact on the wide range of its inhabitants. As troubling as the current trends are, “Laying Low” aims to serve as a Valentine to our beloved burg, shining the light on a host of characters all united by a scrappy resilience and love of life, no matter how twisted or misguided the manifestation of that love may be.