"Portraits" is a Western Drama set in the 1800’s about a female outlaw who finds herself terrified of the life she’s chosen. After a particularly brutal heist, Alex is disturbed by the actions she and her fellow gang members have just committed. Terror sinks in as she looks around the campfire and realizes that she's the only one affected by their grizzly deeds.

  • Danny Motta
  • Danny Motta
  • Danny Motta
  • Desirée Tolchin
  • Josh Gordon
  • Adam Kull
  • Chloe Caemmerer
    Key Cast
  • Chris Black
    Key Cast
  • Michael Westmoreland
    Key Cast
  • Alan Nelson
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Western, Drama
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 52 seconds
  • Production Budget:
    7,200 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Ithaca College
Director Biography - Danny Motta

Danny Motta is a writer and director based in Connecticut. He has a bachelor's degree from Ithaca College in Cinema and Photography. Since a young age Danny knew he had a passion for storytelling.

Throughout his career thus far, Danny has gone on to direct three short films, as well as amass a TikTok following of over 810,000 people, and a YouTube following of over 62,000 subscribers. While Danny's original goal was to become an English literature teacher, he believed, "if you want to teach someone, you have to entertain them first." This lead him to follow his passion for filmmaking and become an independent filmmaker.

Danny has always enjoyed engaging with people's minds and helping them appreciate the deeper themes within fiction. His short films focus on the fears and anxieties everyone experiences, but are rarely comfortable enough to confront.

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Director Statement

Leaving college feels like being cast out into a vast, barren desert. The world, you find, is infested with uncertainties, and far more hostile than you'd been brought up to believe. Every encounter could be a golden opportunity, but every mistake could mean your downfall. These are the anxieties that I wanted to explore in my western drama, "Portraits".

The lead character, Alex, aspired to chase the outlaw fantasy, only to be met with the harsh brutality of the real world. Ambrose has grown desperate for recognition, after years of tireless work has proven fruitless. If Alex represents the fear of venturing into the unknown, then Ambrose represents the fear of being corrupted by it. I was inspired by Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" when writing this film, and its harsh deglamorization of the west.

This is an uneasy, disparaging film, because I want audiences to connect with those themes of anxiety as they put themselves in the characters' shoes. This is a film about mistakes and their consequences, about fear and corruption. Most importantly, this is a film that begs its viewers to reflect upon their own experiences.