Experiencing Interruptions?

Tender Hearts

While remembering a warm summer afternoon, a woman unearths true feelings about intimate moments spent with her partner.

"Tender Hearts" focuses on the subtleties of relationship violence, coercive sex, and the confusion felt trying to connect these feelings to someone you trust.

  • Lauren Jevnikar
  • Lauren Jevnikar
  • Sadie Shoaf
    Key Cast
  • Sierra Weir
    Key Cast
  • Lauren Jevnikar
  • Denis Acosta Barreto
    Script Supervisor
  • Katie Krulock
  • Jeremy Jung
    Original Score
  • Lauren Jevnikar
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    drama, experimental, romance, lgbt, sexual violence, poem, poetic cinema
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 32 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    2,800 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Super 8
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Syracuse University
  • Concordia Film Festival
    June 21, 2020
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
    United States
    October 23, 2020
    US Premiere
    Jury Nomination Best Experimental Film
  • Balneário Camboriú International Film Festival
    Balneário Camboriú
    November 26, 2020
    South American Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Austin Arthouse Film Festival
    Austin, TX
    United States
    December 26, 2020
    Texas Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Lauren Jevnikar

Lauren (she/they) is a filmmaker and editor from Pittsburgh, PA currently residing in Los Angeles. Her work has been screened internationally in over 6 countries, notably at NFFTY and the YOUKI International Youth Media Festival.

Holding a BFA in Film from Syracuse University, she has additionally studied at FAMU International in Prague, CZ.

Thematically, Lauren is interested in exploring vulnerability and emotional intimacy. Topics behind a majority of her films look at relationships and life after sexual violence.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Something that was really important for me to convey with this film was the gray areas surrounding relationship violence. For many people who experience sexual abuse of some kind, you aren’t necessarily facing that scary man you don’t know in the middle of a dark alley. The people that you love or that you assume you can trust can be just as harmful. With “Tender Hearts”, I wanted to showcase the reality that not all situations like this are immediately black and white, especially to those who experience it. It can be confusing and painful to connect this hurt to someone that you’re supposed to lean on; as a result, you can start to craft this bubble around those moments to shield yourself from that knowledge. In the film, we follow the main character as she goes back and replays memories of a warm summer afternoon spent with her partner. As she reflects, we uncover alongside her that she was sexually coerced that afternoon.

Water and repetition within the film are both soothing and abrasive agents for our narrator. She longs to wade in a cool pool to escape the summer heat, but her partner insists its going to rain— they should head inside. Some time in the future, she bathes herself alone, imagining floating in a large body of water, surrounded by the sounds of waves. This storm begins to creep along the edges of her thoughts of her partner, her unease and discomfort rumbling in the distance. Images flow into one another, repeating and freezing, much like her thoughts and anxieties. She fixates on certain moments in time: it was a Tuesday, and she had said it was going to rain. While she tries to ignore this nagging feeling of something wrong, it continues to bubble and grow. She’s unsettled and can’t really let it go; we leave her to drift in this knowledge, unsure of what will happen next. When making this film, I wanted to create a subtle, romanticized numbness to hide the devastation waiting to crest over. In order to survive this honestly sinister truth that people you care about can do horrific things to you, sometimes you end up creating a new temporary reality to exist in.