Proximity is an indie psychological thriller that follow's a woman's struggles with mental health during quarantine and her growing disconnect from reality. Her isolation is relieved when she goes on a first date with a beautiful stranger. Is it a fantasy made real or too good to be true?

  • Catherine Peinhardt
  • Catherine Peinhardt
  • Priscilla Shreve
  • Brianna Hammond
    Key Cast
  • Valerie Allen
    Key Cast
  • Will McCleland
    Director of Photography
  • Nicholas Lewis
    Assistant Director
  • Catherine Peinhardt
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    18 minutes 19 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 17, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    600 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Catherine Peinhardt
Director Biography - Catherine Peinhardt

Catherine Peinhardt is a first time director and recent graduate of The University of Alabama. She earned her undergraduate degree in creative media and loves all things film. She has worked almost every position of production and also greatly enjoys pre and post. The short film Proximity is her capstone project which she took great care in writing, directing and editing. She is eager to learn and create more after her directorial debut.

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Director Statement

This film was inspired by my personal mental health journey throughout quarantine and the pandemic. Thankfully, I never struggled with issues this extreme, but some days it could feel like I wasn't far off. Unprecedented levels of isolation and fear mixed with biblical level events like riots, sweeping wildfires, alien discovery and more is enough to drive anyone out of their mind. I remember all I wanted was someone to talk to about it. Not on a phone or zoom call, but someone to be there with me, in that moment, to feel with me what I was feeling. I have always struggled with chronic anxiety and depression and after over a decade of familiarity with it, I felt I had developed coping strategies and accountability networks that were healthy and successful. The pandemic shattered all of that. My mental health declined and I experienced dissociative thoughts for the first time in order to cope. Feelings of dysmorphia and out of body like experiences. Thankfully, I have a very loving network of family and friends who helped me get back on a healthy track and these thoughts are no longer something I experience. From a creative standpoint, dissociative disorders greatly intrigued me when I learned about how extreme these disconnects from reality could become. I felt it was the perfect tool to symbolically express a person's need for connection and the dangerous impact it can have on someone when that need is not fulfilled.
The dopple version of the character Ada, represents the toxic and dangerous parts of that desperate isolation. It is a literal reflection and manifestation of Ada's deteriorating mental health. The character Eve is the fantasy we sell ourselves to get through horribly down times and Lily is our ugly reality we are trying to avoid.
You will notice a lot of biblical references in this film. I was raised Baptist and that childhood has greatly influenced my artistic expression. I am no longer a believer but growing up bible stories fascinated me. The epic nature of them was something most storytellers could never accomplish. I believe creating a film placed during a time that felt so much like the end of the world, deserved a biblical level of inspiration and thought.
The covid-19 pandemic caused so much fear and grief that I believe a silent pandemic of declining mental health was happening at the same time. All of us tried to turn our homes into our own little Eden's but not all gardens are paradises. This film means so much to me because I feel it conveys some of the feelings and experiences of not only myself, but everyone who lived through the past few years. No matter how extreme the story may seem, I believe everyone can see themselves in it just a little. If that isn't connection, then I'm not sure what is.