A young man’s relationship with his roommate strains as he silently struggles with muscle dysmorphia and restrictive eating.

  • Emily Schmidt
  • Cheyenne Shepherd
    Assistant Directors
  • Emily Schmidt
  • Matt Culligan
    Key Cast
  • Spencer Erb
    Key Cast
  • Shaun Grady
    Key Cast
  • Bailey Sima
  • Byron Helmrich
  • Dan Laney
    Production Mixers
  • Josh Roddy
  • Jennifer Joby
    Production Assistants
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    May 8, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    50 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Ragtag Cinema
    Columbia, Missouri
    United States
    May 8, 2023
  • No Coast Film Fest
    Emporia, Kansas
    United States
    August 27, 2023
    Official Selection
  • Centre Film Festival
    Philipsburg, Pennsylvania
    United States
    October 30, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Emily Schmidt

Emily Schmidt is a student at the University of Missouri - Columbia. Emily is majoring in Film Studies with an emphasis in production and a minor in psychology.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Distorted is a film I knew I needed to make when the first glimmer of a plotline popped into my head seconds before I had to pitch the concept to my class. Prior to pitch day, I had no clue what I wanted my capstone film to be about - I took a friend’s suggestion and started randomly generating groups of words. After about 10 rounds I had privilege, silver, and dependence. I sat with those words for a few moments while I looked around the room at my peers; all but myself, the professor, and one other student were guys. The words silver, and dependence reminded me of fitness culture, and about all of my male friends who silently struggle with their self image and disordered eating. I realized how taboo these issues were in context to men in the media as opposed to women and settled on this as my concept. It took a lot of research and many conversations with my male friends to figure out how to approach the arc of my main character as he navigates his mental health. I received a positive response from my male peers and found that they could all relate in one way or another to my story. I pulled a lot of inspiration from Pumping Iron and The Wrestler - two films that explore the effects of fitness, body image, and steroid use on their male characters. The plot of my story and the characters' motivations developed so much from the first draft to the final product. During production, I realized less is more and removed pages of the script to focus on how one relationship was affected by my main character's self destructive spiral. I hope that this film starts a dialogue on men’s mental health and that the audience leaves more aware and compassionate towards their friends, family members, and peers who may be struggling with muscle dysmorphia and orthorexia nervosa.