Private Project

Background Friend

The beginning of the end of a friendship takes place between two best friends.

Natasha recently moved to Boston to become roommates with her best friend from college, Cindy. With Cindy busy between work and a relationship, Natasha wasn’t quite aware of what it would mean to transition from a novel visitor to an everyday fixture in Cindy’s life.

  • Alan Wong
  • Alan Wong
  • Karina Cowperthwaite
    Key Cast
  • Tori Wong
    Key Cast
  • Jason Kimball
    Director of Photography
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Asian-American
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    August 15, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    2,800 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 - Alan Wong

Alan Wong is the executive producer of Boston University Productions. He oversees a team of video producers, and manages creative direction, workflows, and story mix. Alan has produced hundreds of short videos for BU's editorial and social channels, and has supervised the production of hundreds more. However, "Background Friend" is his first fiction narrative film project since film school.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Although I have produced hundreds of short videos at my current workplace as a video producer, this project is my first film in 21 years. In the winter months prior to the 20th anniversary of my last film, a musical that I wrote and directed in 2002 as a graduating film major at Boston University, I’d decided that it was finally time to end the streak and make a film again.

In the months since starting this project, I’ve come to see how much that 21-year-old was very in tune with his emotions and his ability to express himself. Looking back, he was a much happier, more innocent self… a very feeling self. But what about this 42-, now 43-year-old me?

Shot in October 2022 as autumn was setting in, this film attempts to explore the changes that I’ve observed in various friendships as people in my life transitioned (with the help of a pandemic as well) from spontaneous to scheduled, from partygoers to parents, from kinetic to sedentary—and transposes those impressions to the period that I last explored with more twinkle in my 2002 film: life after college, with so much possibility ahead for oneself. Thinking of my own life over the last 20 years in these last 20 months, I’ve found it deeply sad to measure and reconcile how much has been gained in life, and how much has been lost along the way.

A quick Internet search will declare that a “background friend” is a guest or a nomad outside any actual friend groups. My use of these two words refers to an article I read about people’s limited ability to maintain no more than about a handful of friendships, as in, four to six. Those friendships, which require work and attention, occupy a focus in one’s foreground. What does it mean for friends who recede or are relegated to one’s background? On the other side of this ostensibly self-centered perspective, how does it feel not to be prioritized? How does that feeling smolder after repeated reminders of that lack of priority?

Thank you for your time watching this film.