Private Project

The Secret of Pin-Up Island

A point-and-click psychological fairytale about "the little girl in a big world" who, despite being surrounded by many peculiar individuals, tries to escape her loneliness.

Alesia, “the little girl in a big world”, who suffers from loneliness after all members of her family passed away, finds herself locked in a weird, abandoned factory. Soon she discovers that she is chosen by the secret Pin-Up Organization to save the human race from a lethal virus. To escape this factory and save everyone, she must gather a crew, find the encrypted key, and solve an endless number of quests and riddles.
On this adventure she encounters peculiar characters and faces situations that gradually become more and more absurd.
Throughout her powerful emotional journey, she not only solves the puzzles of this mysterious place, but also tries to solve past traumas to escape her loneliness.

  • Alecs Nastoiu
  • Alecs Nastoiu
  • Ovidiu Vasu
  • Rina Gri
  • Alecs Nastoiu
  • Rina Gri
    Key Cast
  • Ivy Chumley
    Key Cast
  • Lora Djurovic
    Key Cast
    "Wizard, Vera"
  • Lulu de Hillerin
  • Bogdan Orcula
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Feature
  • Genres:
    Adventure, Fantasy, Family
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 46 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 27, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,600,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Alecs Nastoiu

Alecs Nastoiu was born in November 1982 in Bucharest, Romania. As a child, he was attracted to puzzles, magic (tricks) and mathematics. None of these elements conducts us to think of his desire to pursue a career in film. He did not know that as well. But these small pleasures outlined his personality and have led to his choice in profession. As in cinematography, you have to be very calculated, you must pay a lot of attention to details, you must solve complex situations, you have to be patient and you have to catch the interest of the viewers in a pleasant way. All in one: math, puzzles, and magic.

In 2007, Alecs got his degree in film and television directing at the University of Drama and Cinematography “IL Caragiale” (UNATC) in Bucharest. Since that moment, Alecs wrote and directed various projects, including short and feature films, commercials, or music videos. So far, his best-known work is Billion Star Hotel, a feature film which got multiple awards and selections at festivals around the world.

Not one time Alecs has proved he is a versatile artist. He edits some of his video projects; he worked in advertising industry; he publishes books; he coordinates a cultural NGO, developing projects for young people with economic, geographical, or social difficulties; during his spare time, Alecs practices photography; in 2009 he founded SHORT to the Point, International Short Film Festival.

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Director Statement

The Secret of Pin-Up Island is not only a fantasy film about a girl locked in an abandoned factory who is trying to escape. It’s a film about mental health, about people suffering from anxiety and depression and the solutions to overcome them. So, by solving puzzles and riddles in the game, Alesia is actually treating her past traumas in the real world.

There are many reasons why someone might go to psychotherapy or counseling. Anxiety and depression are two of the most common issues. There are also many reasons people give for NOT going to psychotherapy or counseling, despite having difficulties that might be helped by doing so. And somehow, the next idea came to my mind: What if you can heal your traumas by playing a game instead of talking to a therapist? The game inside the film follows the rules of psychotherapy, in order to keep the authenticity of the topic.

Point-and-click refers to a type of adventure game, which is built around interactions with items of the world. The most classic interactions are talk, look at something, take something, use an item, combine items. In a sense, point-and-click games are similar to psychotherapy or counseling.

The film uses animation and graphics to enhance the feeling of a real video game, in the hope that the audience will empathize or even try to interact (somehow) with Alesia, the main character.

The video game concept is created by Dr. Vera Marley, who watches the patient’s development through the mirrors positioned strategically in each room. In this way, she is aware of Alesia's condition and can intervene whenever necessary, embodying the Wizard character.

We shot all scenes of the movie from a mirror subjective point of view. Characters are looking in the camera and they are speaking with the audience. This choice was made also having in my mind the mirror principles in psychology which say that what we do define who we are and how we experience ourselves.

The film has multilayered plots: the main plot, the straightforward one related to the puzzles that Alesia has to solve; the second layer, the main subplot is represented by the treatment of depression through a scenario, a virtual world created by an artificial intelligence designed for psychotherapy; the third layer is a symbolic subplot, which deals with people's ignorance. Although there are many known problems that people face, mainly in their relationship with nature (global warming would be the best example), they accept the problem silently and continue their ordinary lives. In my film, even though the characters find out that they must go to Pin-Up Island, in order to save their species, they just procrastinate and wait for something miraculous to happen.

All the characters in the "The Secret of Pin-Up Island" are female, for the simple reason that they are Alesia's versions from the past. They were created by artificial intelligence, using parameters from a questionnaire that Alesia filled prior to the game psychotherapy. For example, Odette is a version of Alesia's conflict period; Ugne, The Hairdresser, and the girls around them are versions from the period of Alesia's adolescence when the main objective was to look as good as possible; Sad Girl - the period full of sadness and existential dramas, and so on.

The Secret of Pin-Up Island is a superhero movie for those who don't like superhero movies. It tells a story of a usual girl who doesn't save the world. She saves only herself. But by doing this, she becomes a better person and probably because of this, she can soon save other people.

Therefore, I wish that The Secret of Pin-Up Island may become a form of art therapy, or a motivation for the spectators who suffer from depression to try to seek help.

Alecs Nastoiu
Writer and Director of
The Secret of Pin-Up Island