Private Project

The Forest

Grief-stricken after his wife takes her own life, Gabriel volunteers to search a notorious "suicide forest" for other lost bodies. His vulnerability is tested when, for the first time, he discovers someone alive and wrestling with demons of his own.

  • Julian Stamboulieh
    Dystonia, LARPs
  • Frank Marrs
  • Julian Stamboulieh
  • Benjamin Warner
    Dystonia, LARPs
  • Chimwemwe Miller
    Key Cast
    The Disappearance, Bellevue
  • Frank Marrs
    Key Cast
    Midway, Party of Five
  • Julian Stamboulieh
    Dystonia, LARPs
  • Juliette Lossky
    Director of Photography
    Three Months, Le Réfrigérateur
  • Joey Reda
    The Bizarre Murder of Mr. Tusker, Crossroads
  • Keegan Boulineau
  • Jen Viens
    Assistant Director
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  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    6,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Julian Stamboulieh

Julian Stamboulieh began his media career as an actor and a freelance video editor in 2004 in Montreal. After receiving his BFA in Photography, and creating his production company, Beanduck, alongside producing partner Benjamin Warner, he soon found himself in his directorial debut. In 2013, Julian created and directed LARPs, a scripted comedy web series that received worldwide critical acclaim. With a licensing deal from Legendary Digital Network’s Geek & Sundry, a second season was financed, with both seasons acquiring 10+ international awards and 3.5+ million views.

He has since directed several short films, including Dystonia and Caged, the latter of which won Best Film at the ACTRA Montreal Short Film Festival in 2018.

Julian approaches projects with a playful yet critical eye. He values the audience first and foremost, always striving to provide them an experience that is fun and original, as well as intelligent and respectful.

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Director Statement

The creation of The Forest was a difficult process for many reasons. The production itself was challenging for its limited budget, a problem which affects so many short films due to a lack of funding opportunities. However, as we were exploring a topic as important as mental health, we were fortunate to assemble an incredible team of passionate artists who could pull off miracles.

Second, this film marks only my second time as a director in the dramatic category. While my background has been primarily in comedy and web series, it is truly thanks to the experience on this set that I feel comfortable and inspired enough to continue exploring difficult themes.

Lastly, the theme itself. When creator and co-writer Frank Marrs approached me with the initial script, it was with a strong sense of vulnerability. It was impossible not to be affected by the story, and his personal relationship to mental health and suicide, having lost someone close to him to the illness of depression.

The goal we had laid out in front of us was to present this story with that same sense of vulnerability and care. To showcase the loneliness with honesty, the stigma with sensitivity, and the pain without sensationalism. In the end, perhaps all other surrounding challenges kept us focused on its significance, and supportive of each other. The result is a piece that everyone involved is deeply proud of.

We hope the film can help be part of the ongoing conversation about mental health and help raise awareness to its effects.