Sun Tea

A doctor with an unusual way of remembering his patients finds himself unable to let go of one in particular.

  • Charise Sowells
    Director
  • Charise Sowells
    Writer
  • Charise Sowells
    Producer
  • Evan Malouf
    Producer
  • Evan Malouf
    Key Cast
    "Dr. Allen"
  • Charise Sowells
    Key Cast
    "Iris"
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    7 minutes 32 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 23, 2022
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Rome International Movie Awards
    Rome
    Italy
    Award Winner - Best Experimental Short
  • Virgin Spring Cinefest
    Kolkata
    India
    Award Winner - Short Film - Critic's Choice
  • Black Swan International Film Festival
    Kolkata
    India
    Award Winner - Best Short Script (Charise Sowells), Best Actor (Evan Malouf), Best Short Film (Sun Tea), Best Director (Outstanding Achievement - Charise Sowells)
  • Niagara Falls International Short Festival
    Niagra Falls, NY
    United States
    Award Winner - Best Female Director (Charise Sowells)
  • Paris International Short Festival
    Paris
    France
    Semifinalist
  • Cannes World Film Festival
    Cannes
    France
    Award Winner - Best Weird/WTF Film
  • Phoenix Shorts
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Canada
    Award Winner - Best Short
  • Vancouver Independent Film Festival
    Vancouver, British Columbia
    Canada
    Award Winner - Best Actor in Short (Evan Malouf) and Best Ensemble Acting in Short (Charise Sowells and Evan Malouf)
  • Arthouse Festival of Beverly Hills

    Award Winner - Best US Short
  • Zero Degree Film Contest
    Mohali, Punjab
    India
    Official Selection
  • Amsterdam International Film Festival
    Amsterdam
    Netherlands
    Nominee - Filmmaker Globe Award (Charise Sowells) & Best Female Filmmaker (Charise Sowells)
  • International World Film Awards

    Official Selection
  • FLOW Festival and Film Market
    Florida
    United States
    Best Director (Charise Sowells) and Best Actor (Evan Malouf)
  • Palm Springs Movie Awards
    Palm Springs, CA
    United States
    Semifinalist - Best Short Film
  • Near Nazareth Festival

    Israel
    Semifinalist
  • We Make Movies International Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Charise Sowells

Charise Sowells has written, produced, and directed music videos, short films, branded content, and a PSA about underage sex trafficking which was added to Channel Austin’s rotation and an official selection at an international film festival. She often releases projects through her company, Unabashed Productions, where the motto is, “Don’t just think outside the box, live there.” Her scripts and songs have won awards and been featured on media outlets across the globe. Other writing of hers has been published and her photography has been exhibited. A full length play she wrote was adapted into a feature film and a one act play she wrote had a sold out world premiere at the Santa Monica Playhouse followed by a successful encore run. Charise is a New York University Tisch School of the Arts and Orange County School of the Arts alumna. After many years of working in production, she is currently freelance writing for multiple children’s shows including CoComelon on Netflix. Her original pilot, one act play, and musical feature scripts have placed in contests put on by Final Draft, ScreenCraft, WeScreenplay, Your Script Produced, and Stage 32. Her latest short film, Sun Tea, has won awards in several film festivals including: Cannes World Film Festival, Vancouver Independent Film Festival, Phoenix Shorts, Rome International Movie Awards, Virgin Spring Cinefest, Black Swan International Film Festival, and Niagara Falls International Short Festival.

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Director Statement

The concept for Sun Tea was inspired by a memorable experience I had as a teen with a creepy doctor at a clinic. It has haunted me ever since. So, what better to do than make a film about it?

My husband and I shot it entirely ourselves in our apartment and our neighborhood. I shaved his head, did our make up, padded his stomach, and assembled our wardrobes for the full transformation. We then gathered our props and set up shop.

It was in the thick of COVID. The theme of alienation and isolation, which is ever present in my work, felt even more universal during the production process in the midst of a pandemic. After a weekend of shooting, I edited the footage. Then, we recorded the voiceover.

Already weeks into the process, we spent additional weekend days working on foley, something I had wanted to explore for many years. Because the film is entirely comprised of an inner monologue, this struck me as the perfect opportunity to finally try my hand at recording sound effects from scratch to add another dimension. We dove into capturing and creating all kinds of audio, inside and out. It took far longer than expected but we completed it and I handed everything off to virtual collaborators in other countries for mixing and color grading.

David Lynch was the inspiration for tone, RIchard Linklater for conversational poetics deeply rooted in character, Wes Anderson for color theory, and radio dramas for heightened sound design. The result is indie and stylized while packing an emotional punch. Everyone gets lonely sometimes, after all, and each person deals with it in their own way. For better or worse...