"The Unwinding"

A despondent widower befriends a young woman who gives him new reasons to keep on living.

David is a retired widower who’s battling depression as he counts down his last days. With the anniversary of his wife May’s death coming up, he avoids seeing his only friend Chris and makes plans to say goodbye to his pain privately, once and for all. On the anniversary date, he sets his table with he and May’s wedding dishes, puts on his best clothes, and orders what he intends to be one last meal from he and his wife’s favorite restaurant. When the food arrives, though, David is taken aback by the kindness of and unexpected connection with the young delivery woman, Lily, and they begin an unlikely friendship. Lily and David start studying Chinese together whenever David orders from her family’s restaurant, which gives him new reasons to keep on living. But the platonic relationship is thrown into jeopardy when David asks Lily to let him introduce her to his friend Chris, and David’s vital connection with Lily risks being broken forever.

  • Brendan Davis
  • Brendan Davis
  • Roger King
  • Brendan Davis
  • Susan Qin Davis
  • Naeem Seirafi
  • Stan Ruszkowski
  • Kevin Michael West
    Key Cast
  • Izyan Hay
    Key Cast
  • Daniel Charles Doherty
    Key Cast
  • Walter Volpatto
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    25 minutes 28 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 28, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    25,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Arri Alexa Mini
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Brendan Davis

Brendan Davis is a writer-director-producer working internationally in film & TV. He began his entertainment career in Atlanta in 1990, moved to Los Angeles in 2002, and has split his time between Beijing and Los Angeles since 2013.

Davis has been a producer on films premiering, competing, or winning at Sundance HK, Toronto, Berlin, and other festivals ("Metamorphosis", DEADGIRL, BORN TO DANCE, LIFE WITH FIONA). In 2013 Davis produced the first Los Angeles-based season of Chinese TV hit "Jia Pian You Yue", aka "The Best", featuring Stan Lee, Justin Lin, M. Night Shyamalan, Sean Astin, and others. In 2018 he wrote and directed the documentary “Yibin: An Elemental Journey” for CCTV in China. In 2019 he and director Eric Raine completed a 5-year global journey making feature documentary CRAZYHOT, about the world of ultra hot chile peppers. Davis is currently in development on Paris-based feature film MY FAVORITE SEASON and in production on feature documentary MAO/NIXON, which focuses on the clandestine, behind-the-scenes true story of how the historic Mao-Nixon Summit came to be, with director Larry Sullivan and his company International Troublemakers. Davis is also actively developing feature film THE BISHOP’S MAN, adapted from the best-selling novel by Lynden MacIntyre and to be directed in Nova Scotia by acclaimed filmmaker Babak Payami (752 IS NOT A NUMBER, SECRET BALLOT). In April 2023 he wrote and directed short film “The Unwinding” in London, produced by Roger King. He is also the writer-creator of TV pilot “Chinagirl”.

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Director Statement

"The Unwinding" tells a story that is very personal to me but also universal: one of grief and overcoming, loss and redemption, and of finding hope in the most unexpected places. David's utter despair over the loss of his wife is something I have lived with myself, in my own way, and what he sees as the only path out of his pain is a choice that sadly, too many of my own friends have taken. Lily’s kindness is a saving grace in David’s life, and she becomes a beacon of possibility for him as he looks down the road of his remaining time on earth. We also see David’s struggles with the aging process and the challenges that brings, which are a reality for many seniors I know and care about, so I wanted to treat that subject with a respectful touch. Lastly, David's friend Chris finds himself in the awkward position that many friends or family of older people know too well, that of having to interpret facts and put up guardrails to keep vulnerable people from hurting themselves or being hurt. I made this film - which is also the first act of a feature, in development now - to explore the full spectrum of humanity that is brought to bear when we or those we love begin to lose themselves or their place in this world, in order to create empathy for all concerned and to hopefully find new solutions to dealing with an ever-present societal problem.