Private Project


Ayla & Brandon have reached a personal milestone in their relationship. When they go out to celebrate, an encounter with someone from Ayla's past disrupts their plan for a romantic night out. Determined to keep their spirits up, the young couple heads back to Ayla's apartment, only to discover walking away from the past isn't as easy as they thought.

  • Emily Schooley
    Life and the Art of Lying, Forbidden, Psyche, Pears, Callgirl of Cthulhu, The Boob Show
  • Jessica Danov
    Bad Vegan: The Original Recipe,
  • Emily Brown
  • Jessica Danov
    Key Cast
    "Ayla "
    Pick, Abuela, Italian 101, Hotel Paranormal, Allie & Lara Make a Horror Movie, Bad Vegan: The Original Recipe, Haunted Case Files
  • Alex Yap-Young
    Key Cast
    Adulting, Untold Stories of the ER, I Did, Tales, Fear thy Neighbor, Isthmus
  • Nicole Fairbairn
    Key Cast
    "Detective Matthews"
    Amortal, Godforsaken, Tower, Web of Lies, Bedtime Stories for Men
  • Adrian Harasowsky
    Key Cast
    "Detective Saunders"
    Disasters at Sea, Lucky Penny, Of Body and Soul
  • Bree Ali
    Key Cast
    "Dr. Travers"
    Scars, See, New Eden, Shortest Way Home
  • Project Type:
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  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 15, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    1,200 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Emily Schooley

Emily Schooley is an award-winning actor and emerging filmmaker who is known for blending genres and pushing boundaries in her work. She is the founder of Laughing Cat Productions, a Toronto-based production company that focuses on telling bold, intelligent, and entertaining women-led stories.

Emily’s previous short films as writer/director/producer - 'Psyche' and 'Life and the Art of Lying' - have both been recognized with festival awards, with the latter also being included on CFMDC’s 2019 Queer Compilation. Her work has screened internationally, including festivals in the US, UK, Europe, Africa, and China.

In 2020, Emily was selected as one of just 100 women from across Canada to be part of Banff Spark, a development accelerator for women in media. She is also an associate member of the Toronto chapter of Film Fatales, and has appeared as an on-camera expert in several documentaries, including 'A Big Set of Lungs' (examining the horror genre) and 'MeAfterToo' (discussing the MeToo movement).

The stories that Emily brings to stage and screen centre under-represented voices and stories, featuring recurring themes such as physical and mental health, trauma, sexuality and gender identity, and the experience of being 'other'. She ultimately makes films for her fellow rebels, outcasts, and changemakers - to remind those who have historically been marginalized that their voices, experiences, and identities deeply matter.

Outside of her creative projects, Emily is an activist and animal enthusiast. She strongly supports gender equality and women escaping abusive situations, is an avid watchdog against police misconduct, and frequently speaks out for LGBTQ rights and equity-focused representation in media. She also fosters rescue cats with Team Cat Rescue, an organization that focuses on saving animals from high-kill shelters.

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Director Statement

My approach to directing is grounded in deep curiosity: who is a story ultimately about, and who is controlling the narrative? Sometimes the answer for both is "the protagonist", or "both are the same person" but that is not always the case. This is true in film, and this is especially true in real life, especially when it comes to stories told about women's experiences.

One of the things that drew me to Unlatched is the layers of complexity in a story that could appear rather black and white... at least, on the surface. As soon as I read an early script draft, I recognized two things: one, the beautiful, truthful, messy chaos inherent in each moment in this story, and two, how easily the narrative could be shifted away from focusing on Ayla's agency to tell her own story, in her own time, about her own experiences.

I so deeply appreciate Jessica trusting me with directing her beautiful script, especially because a lot of Ayla's journey parallels some past, messy incidents in my own life. More than that, I especially appreciate Jess trusting me to fight for Ayla at every step of the filmmaking process, because this film NEEDS to be about Ayla's story. It needs to be told in her own voice, about her lived experiences... even as the rest of the world happens around her, outside of her control.

There's a lot that I could say about Unlatched, but not a lot that I want to say without knowing that you've already watched it.

What I will say, in closing, is this: I hope you appreciate the complexity in this short film. And I hope it enrages you; both in equal measure.

Thanks for taking the ride with us.

xx Emily Schooley