After Life

In a quiet suburb, Steven, a young struggling painter, is in a deteriorating marriage with Rachel, who works at menial jobs to support them. She becomes envious of Steven after their newborn daughter quickly takes after him and his artist way. Abruptly, Steven passes away, but reanimates at his funeral as a spirit, and watches as Rachel and the rest of the world quickly forget about him. Dawn falls into neglect without her father, and Rachel enters a relationship with another man. Years later, after the Rachel and Dawn have deeply resented each other, Dawn, now a young woman, gathers the relics of her father's life and finishes his final masterpiece as the family is about to move out of the suburb. Living on through his progeny, Steven watches and leaves the earth as they drive away for the final time.

  • Aditya Vempaty
  • Aditya Vempaty
  • Jamie McNeill
  • Brendan Bennett
  • Amy Davidson
    Key Cast
  • William Nicol
    Key Cast
  • Samantha Cormier
    Key Cast
    "Dawn (Older)"
  • Sophia Robertson
    Key Cast
    "Dawn (Younger)"
  • Michael Coen
    Key Cast
  • Ben Ziryab
    Director of Photography
  • Kennedy Reed
    Production Designer
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 41 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    24,400 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 - Aditya Vempaty

Aditya Vempaty is a Los Angeles based Indian-American writer, director, and producer. Born and raised in the Silicon Valley of Northern California, Aditya’s films are reflective of his identity and upbringing. Being an artist amongst a family and community of almost exclusively doctors and engineers, and amongst the children of the Indian diaspora, Aditya is drawn to film as a medium for exchange, understanding, and healing between generations and cultures. With his voice, Aditya aims to reflect on the lasting implications of the clash between East and West through his Indian-American perspective. He most recently completed a dramatic short film, After Life, and is currently developing his first feature film.

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Director Statement

My name is Adi, and I am a young filmmaker hoping to impart the world with my immense passion for art, and share my spiritual connection to the universe with my short film, After Life.

After Life is a project that is deeply personal to me in many ways. Since my childhood, I have been both fascinated and conflicted with my grasp of faith and understanding the world. I was raised a devout Hindu, yet I doubted it from the start. Where did our souls wander after our deaths, I wondered. Witnessing my grandfather, who was almost like a second father to me as both my parents were seldom in the house with their hectic careers, pass away when I was six years old had a profound effect on the way I saw the world. Although I was very young at the time, I have vivid memories of the grief and mourning that fell over my family. Yet time passed, and while he was remembered, my family and the world more or less moved on. And I witnessed the cycle similarly repeat amongst my friends, their families, and so on. From this experience, I came to question our mortality and the true significance of our lives, as important as we make ourselves seem to ourselves, within the broader scope of the universe. As I entered adulthood, formative experiences led me to view the world more spiritually, understanding my place and connection to the universe and the rest of humanity, and living in harmony with this oneness. For too long I had grappled with my self-importance and mortality and now finally I understood the world as that which cannot be truly understood, only accepted as the omniscience of which we are part of. This is what I hope to share with my film. After Life follows a troubled and self-centered character who clings on to his fragile ego and the image of himself as his family’s savior. He even refuses to accept his own abrupt death, reanimating as a spirit, but witnessing the world transpire after his death, realizes that the only way to achieve immortality is to live on through his child; he guides her from neglect into strong womanhood, ultimately leaving her to accept his passing into the afterlife.

As a film student at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, I have always harbored an immense desire to create and grow, but with it comes obsession and pretension. Often I found myself so engrossed in my journey to improve that I forsook my friends, family, and health for the sake what I deemed artistic pursuit. Ultimately I realized that art is a reflection of life and is informed by immersion with the world around us. After Life is a film that I hope captures this obsessive nature of art and illustrates the value of ultimate detachment. The story is a meditation on the profound idea that art has the unique quality of capturing our voice and surviving us beyond our physical death. In this way, After Life is my way of sharing my admiration and love of art and promoting its place in our society.

After Life is a film that I feel must be shared and that I hope will encourage audiences to tell their loved ones that they love them dearly and that even death will not do part their spirits.