Private Project


Before her 30th birthday party, Elanor's anxiety and demand for perfection turn a pleasant manicure into a bloody mess.

  • Carluccio
  • Carluccio
  • Jordan Sarf
  • Jacob Karim
  • Stef Dawson
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Horror, drama, psychological thriller
  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 28, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Carluccio

Carlos Enrique Tejera, also known as "Carluccio", is a narrative and commercial filmmaker, photographer, and painter born and raised in Venezuela, now based in New York City.

Tejera served as the Ibero-American Competition Specialty Programmer at the Miami Film Festival for two years, curating international feature films for exhibition and competition.

Simultaneously, he was a Channel Manager for Cinedigm, curating and scheduling VOD and OTT content for Cineverse.
After founding his production company, Sfumato, Tejera directed music videos for the songs “Así” by Obregon for RED Music of Sony Music Entertainment and “Me Arrepiento” by GioBulla for YahYah Music.

Tejera received his B.F.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU) with a minor in The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Additionally, Tejera attended Directing Intensive courses and 35mm Cinematography Workshops at other top film institutions such as the University of Southern California and
New York Film Academy.

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Director Statement

MANICURE is a psychological thriller short film that explores the burden of body dysmorphia, anxiety, and OCD. Inspired by Martin Scorsese’s 1967 short, “The Big Shave,” MANICURE takes a mundane ritual to its extreme, worst case scenario.

I chose to direct MANICURE after my producer and co-writer, Jordan Sarf, pitched the challenge of capturing this generation’s state of anxiety-driven panic in a seemingly simple, day-to-day sequence. Social media is damaging our generation by promoting unrealistic expectations of success and "idealized" body types causing negative effects on our mental and emotional
health. This has led to millions of young people to suffer from clinical depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and most disturbing, body dysmorphia.

MANICURE is a 10 minute sequence that enthralls the audience in a spiraling rollercoaster of what a human with these conditions goes through on a day-to-today basis.

Tonally, the film follows the steps of Pablo Larrain’s, “Spencer” and Darren Aronosky’s, “Black Swan”. However, it deviates from the popular handheld horror approach. MANICURE was shot with sleek and precise cinematography consisting of elegant camera movements and classical framings. This demanded a strict pre-production timeline filled with storyboards, animatics,
and precise shot listed floor plans with my cinematographer, Nona Catusanu.

As a director, I like to make bold and finite decisions; I do not shoot coverage. I design, plan, and execute intricate moving masters that cover several story beats — in turn, acting and camera rehearsals are pivotal in the pre-visualisation process. I was lucky to have an industry veteran actress, Stef Dawson, (“The Hunger Games” series, “The Paper Store”) in the lead role. Her knockout audition made it clear that we were on the same page on what the
film should be and what Elanor experiences in her mind.