Private Project

Tiny Little Planets

In this nonlinear coming of age drama, Annie’s small-town world collides with Iz, awakening a part of her she’s hidden even from herself. Annie and Iz grapple with shared trauma, growing up, and the unknown by seeking an escape in each other. As they draw nearer, testing the limits of their friendship, Annie struggles with making a choice when all paths lead to heartbreak. In the memory within the memory of one night, Annie gives us a rich dream-like view into her most private mind, and into the stories we tell ourselves, to make sense of love.

  • Rachel Varley
  • Robbie Ellis
  • Rachel Varley
  • Renee Gagner
    Key Cast
  • Taylor B. Hill
    Key Cast
  • H. Lynn Pai
    Key Cast
  • Rachel Varley
    Key Cast
  • Brandon Beach
    Key Cast
  • John Hanson
    Director of Photography
  • Christiana Laine
    Production Designer
  • Jason Alarcón
  • Grant Floering
    Sound Designer
  • Barry Sharp
  • Rachel Varley
  • Grant Floering
  • Amy Wilson
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Romance, Drama, LGBTQ
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes 10 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 12, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    7,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Rachel Varley

Rachel Varley is an interdisciplinary, queer filmmaker, theatre artist, and musician. She has worked as a director, actor, producer and composer in theatre and film in Baltimore, DC, New York, LA, and across the Midwest. Her composition and songwriting has been featured on NPR’s All Song’s Considered, Baltimore Center Stage’s Write Right Now series, and on various live stages. Tiny Little Planets is her first film.

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Director Statement

When I returned to my midwestern college town in the Fall of 2019 for work, I experienced a reverse-culture shock after leaving my life on the east coast. The world of the city I knew was gone; gentrification stole most of my old haunts, there were few artist havens left, and the homogenous world view of what "is and is not" seemed to have thickened. In some ways I felt like a kid again, and as a queer person, I felt out of place and unseen.
When 2020 came upon us the city shuttered even more of itself along with the rest of the world. I found myself walking the streets day after day, swimming through floods of my own memories in a waking dream. These walks, and perhaps those conditions quickly shaped the world of "Tiny Little Planets". Annie's story is my exploration of love, queerness, and coming-out to yourself. But most of all it's about finding love and hope in deciding who you are.
You'll notice a heavy influence on nature, the elements, and space. In a small community that can feel suffocating and mundane, I've always taken comfort in the vasty beauty and magic of the midwestern landscape. It seems to give us permission to breathe into who we are.
I am incredibly grateful to have built an immensely collaborative, independent, and giving team of queer artists and filmmakers, who touched every last piece of this short. Many of us are made up of this landscape, so everything from the music and art, to locations and style, were personally created with memory, love, and hope in mind.