Exactly As They Are

Amidst a late night of deliveries, a struggling bike messenger is tasked with a bizarre delivery: a lunchbox of uncanny origins. After tonight, her life will never be the same.

EXACTLY AS THEY ARE is an urban fantasy brought to life through a blend of character study, the uncanny, and classical stop-motion puppetry effects.

  • Philip Heinrich
  • Philip Heinrich
  • Ben Davis
  • Philip Heinrich
  • Chynna Walker
    Key Cast
    My Dinner With Werner
  • Tomorrow Shea
    Key Cast
    Glenn's Gotta Go
  • Patty Pell
    Key Cast
    "The Merc"
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    13 minutes 13 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 9, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    31,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.33, 1.85
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • FilmQuest
    Provo, Utah
    United States
    May 27, 2021
    World Premiere, In-Person Festival
    Official Selection; Nominee, Best Cinematography
  • Deep in the Heart Film Festival
    Waco, Texas
    United States
    July 24, 2021
    Winner, Best Cinematography - Short | Nominee, Best Texas Short, Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Short
  • Tallgrass Film Festival
    Wichita, Kansas
    United States
    October 17, 2020
    Official Selection
  • Lone Star Film Festival
    Fort Worth, Texas
    United States
    November 4, 2020
    Texas Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Shriekfest
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    West Coast Premiere
Director Biography - Philip Heinrich

Philip is a writer and director based in Texas. Raised in Kansas City, Philip developed an early interest in filmmaking that started with plastic dinosaurs on wires and, in time, developed into stop-motion.

He later owned and operated an online stop-motion animation community about which he directed the 2016 documentary feature, BRICKS IN MOTION. Philip studied film at Baylor University and has worked in both narrative film and commercials since, most recently directing two Healthcare Ad Award winning spots for Envision Healthcare.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

My approach to telling a story in film is to translate a dream into a tangible work that creators and audiences can share in experiencing. This doesn't mean simply throwing surreal images onto the screen. It is about expressing ideas and feelings that are innate and human through a lens that extends past the boundaries of reality. The result, when successful, is an experience only cinema can provide.

EXACTLY AS THEY ARE is an embodiment of that approach. I wrote and directed this film during the final years of my twenties. There's a tension of transitioning into adulthood that I've carried with me during this stage of life. You come to see the mothers, fathers, and other authority figures in life no longer as figures, but as human beings with their own fears, hopes, challenges, and dreams. This is the central tension of this film, and Ava's experience in it.

I'm not the first person to grapple with the idea, so I wanted to examine it through a magnified, at times unsettling lens suited to this process of discovery. As an enthusiast of special effects and mixed medium animation, I knew that bringing magical realist elements into the story through a blend of classical puppetry and current compositing techniques would be an exciting challenge. It allowed us to craft a world visually set apart from the approach of most contemporary genre films. It's our way of inviting the audience to engage with the story, and to nurture dreams of their own.