Righteous Self

Newman, a frustrated young man, struggles to escape a bizarre men's wellness retreat led by a mysterious patriarch known only as "Professor."

  • Matt O'Connell
  • Matt O'Connell
  • Matt O'Connell
  • Ahsha Davis
  • Matt O'Connell
  • Max Vanderwerf
    Director of Photography
  • Justus Hightower
    Key Cast
  • Eric K. Roberts
    Key Cast
  • Cliff Dunigan
    Key Cast
    "Sweat Rag Student"
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    November 27, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Arri Alexa Classic
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.35:1, 9:16
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Columbia College Chicago
Director Biography - Matt O'Connell

MATT O’CONNELL (1995) is an emerging filmmaker and musician based in Chicago. Having first embarked on a Hollywood path at Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video, Matt’s passion for independent, boundary-pushing storytelling led to an MFA in Directing from Columbia College Chicago. His experimental VHS debut STOP premiered at the 2016 Chicago Underground Film Festival, and his most recent short AN APOCALYPSE was awarded Best Student Film at the 2023 Wolf Tree Film Festival. In addition to film endeavors, Matt is a self-taught musician and plans to be deeply immersed in Chicago's vibrant DIY scene once all this blows over...

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Director Statement

Online men's wellness communities have continued expanding their influence into the real world. Led by the likes of Liver King, Troy Casey, the Fresh & Fit Podcast, Captain Taylor Morgan, Kinobody, Will Blunderfield, Sol Brah, et al, most exist in tandem with figures like Andrew Tate and other hateful conspiracists seeking to reverse (and capitalize on) the “emasculation of the modern male” by any means necessary. Their content is consumed by millions of young men daily, weaponizing self-help practice into calls for extremist action. As filmmakers, the aim was to use humor and provocation to expose the inherent absurdity of Professor’s cult-leader authority.