In a desolate countryside, a young drifter finds temporary abode and employment with an old medicine woman and her young godchild. In the course of his stay, the world of his dreams and the reality of the countryside mix, leading him into the borderlands between the living and the dead.

  • Nina Kotyantz
  • Nina Kotyantz
  • Ara Woland
  • Nina Kotyantz
  • Shadi Chaaban
  • Francisco Pereira Coutinho
  • Aaron Drake
    Sound Designer & Composer
  • Genevieve Parkes
    Art Director
  • Peter Bas
    Visual Effects Artist
  • Ara Woland
    Key Cast
    "Carl Milton"
  • Jane Edwina Seymour
    Key Cast
    "Medicine Woman"
  • Logan Laurel
    Key Cast
  • Driny
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Fantasy
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes 13 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 30, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Super 16mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival 2020
    Korea, Republic of
    July 11, 2020
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • HollyShorts Film Festival 2020
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    North American Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Maryland Film Festival 2021
    Baltimore, MD
    United States
    May 19, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Minikino Film Week 2021
    September 3, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Cinefantasy International Fantastic Film Festival 2021
    Sao Paulo
    September 9, 2021
    Official Selection
  • FILMETS Badalona Film Festival 2021
    October 22, 2021
    Official Selection
  • VGIK International Film Festival 2021
    Russian Federation
    November 17, 2021
  • AGBU Armenians in Film at Lincoln Center NYC 2021
    New York City
    United States
    December 2, 2021
  • Bastalavista International Genre Film Festival 2021
  • Harkat 16mm Film Festival 2021
    December 11, 2021
  • HDS Film Fest at Harvard University 2023
    United States
    April 21, 2023
Director Biography - Nina Kotyantz

A child of a drama theatre family, Nina Kotyantz is an Armenian American writer-director who grew up with immense fascination for the depths of the human psyche. Curious to understand what makes us who we are, she went on to explore the human condition through various artistic and academic forms, studying memory, identity, dreams and the unconscious mind. She holds an MA from Harvard University in existential anthropology and psychoanalytic theory, and an MFA in film directing from Loyola Marymount University. Her short films have screened at various festivals. Her most recent film-- PHANTOM VALLEY --shot on super 16mm, premiered at the prestigious Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival 2020. Nina is currently developing a feature script, continuing with themes of dreams and the unconscious mind.

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Director Statement

PHANTOM VALLEY is a story of a becoming -- a becoming of an artist. I have long been fascinated by the idea that our lives, our emotions, our actions, our sense of who we are and who we are to become are propelled and influenced by forces invisible, mysteriously lurking underneath our conscious self. Whether they originate from our own psyche or spring forth from the collective unconscious, or are the engraved traces of our ancestral and genetic memory, they draw us closer, step by step, to a seemingly predetermined path towards the purpose of our existence.

Within this dance of interdependent forces known and unknown, there seems to be a deep reciprocity between what we create and how the very things we create, inevitably create us. The ideas, the images, the feelings, the sounds, coming out of the hidden depths of our psyche, end up leading us towards realizations, discoveries of our potentialities, and transformations: in other words, becomings.

In PHANTOM VALLEY I wanted to explore what happens when an artist allows himself to be led by the very work he is compelled to create, delving deep into his own unconscious mind, and letting the images, the feelings, the vague understandings create circumstances in which he comes face to face with the very purpose of his life. And in that crossroad, make the decision to either jump into the fire so that out of the ashes he can recreate himself and embody the journey of his life, or to walk away and lead a smoldering existence.