Private Project

At present

When Debby and Timo find out that their beloved greenhouse, along with an archive of videotapes is taken over by a demonic cult, around them starts to happen disturbing events, which divulge the darkest secrets of their relationship.

Timo and Debby are over wearying, hours-long train journeys. Each of them covered 300 km in order to reach their sacred meeting place, a unique greenhouse, located in the middle of the forest. Every 3 weeks for almost 5 years, the couple spends there 3 days. 300, 5 and 3 – this numbers determine the rhythm of their lives. Just as, meticulously filled up with pictures, VHS tapes, at which Debby and Timo record their alone day-to-day existences.
Walking the forest path, loaded with baggage Timo recalls the conversation, which he has eavesdropped in train. Debby doesn’t share his interest in discussing topics, which revolve around a mysterious organization called “The Present Guild”. She strides glass-panelled facility, not noticing that tucked behind the door, a black envelope falls down. After a quick glance at well-known space, woman starts unpacking. While in Timo’s confessions long-distance relationship is a pure romanticism, for Debby spending weeks on drifting thoughts towards the beloved person means ordeal.
The couple heads over to their private archive of everyday life, embodied in a wardrobe situated among the trees. As new videotapes join their pals at already full of scrupulously labelled VHS tapes shelves, Timo and Debby make a promise to throw-back to them on the day, they will begin a life together. With the performance of typical household tasks, they endeavour to create a substitute of home, which in fact, they don’t own. Joint activities draw them together, but a while of erotic massage is ceased by Timo’s psychedelia.
Man unexpectedly comes upon compromising printout from his own mailbox. Correspondence with a prostitute, with whom he had been meeting at the beginning of acquaintance with Debby almost 5 years ago, in some way got in Debby’s bag. Both of them cannot comprehend, how it could happen. Reality around the couple becomes dreamlike, which results in peculiar role reversal. It is not clear anymore, who is guilty and who is harmed. Timo harbours a grudge against Debby, as for 5 years, she hasn’t confessed to knowing about his intimate contacts with other woman.
Debby steps on the black envelope in the middle of an argument. The letter, which has fallen out through the window frame previously, turns out to be a message from greenhouse owner. He informs the couple, it is the last time, when they can rent this place. He asks for clearing their VHS tapes out, as since now, the greenhouse and its surroundings comes into possession of “The Present Guild”, thereby gaining completely new destination. When Debby hears from Timo that the organization is anything but a cult, she escapes from the greenhouse.
As woman needs to cool off after thrilling experiences, she hides in a small wooden house. Again, everything around starts to pulse disturbingly, and Debby discovers that right next to her, there appears a photograph of a handsome man. At that exact moment, Timo runs up to her, begging for forgiveness of infidelity from the past. The tables are turned one more time. Debby accuses Timo of deliberate planting photo of the man, who poses her contingency plan in case of failure of their relationship. He is the one, about whom Debby moons over with the aim of relieving pain of longing in lengthy intervals of separation with Timo.
Timo and Debby are terrified with, where their relation has gone. With the intention to finally start the life together, Timo approaches the archive. When he wishes to take all the VHS tapes away, he notices that its place was taken by recordings belonging to “The Present Guild”. Reality starts to blur and Timo once more emerges in the wooden house. Debby inquires about Timo’s plans for the future. She desires to know, how their life together is going to look like. Man is unable to crystallize, what he really wants. For Debby, such perspective seems unacceptable. The surroundings begin to morph. Timo again finds himself in psychedelia in front of the archive, whereas Debby walks away and disappears, melting into the forest.

  • Beata Migas
  • Beata Migas
  • Beata Migas
  • Mateusz Trzaskoma
    Key Cast
  • Monika Sznajder
    Key Cast
  • Patryk Dróżdż
    Director of Photography
  • Sebastian Rędziak
    1st Assistant Camera
  • Piotr Kłos
    Production Manager
  • Mateusz Andrzejewski
    Sound Recordist
  • Szymon Kuc
  • Jakub Kapusta
    Best Boy
  • Karolina Rum
    Editor & Colorist
  • Jakub Juchniewicz
    Sound Design & Re-recording Mixer
  • Barbara Migas
    Costume Designer
  • Klaudia Wypiór
    Hair & Make-up Designer
  • Paulina Wawrzacz
    Poster Designer
  • Dariusz Mysłowski
    Stills Photographer
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  • Runtime:
    9 minutes 7 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 14, 2023
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
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Director Biography - Beata Migas

Film Director, Producer and Founder of Haddock Entertainment film company.
Beata has acquired a comprehensive education both in Poland and Serbia. In 2019, she obtained the degree of Master of Engineering in Ecological Sources of Energy course at the AGH University in Cracow and graduated from Film School in Belgrade (Serbia).
She has been dealing with cinematography for years; writing screenplays, shooting and producing movies that draw social and existential topics out. Not without reason, the motto of Haddock Entertainment is: „to shape the matter into soul touching content".
Due to engineering background, Migas pays lots of attention to environmental and industrial issues of the contemporary world. In 2018, she directed and produced psychological movie „The study of smog", which broaches the subject of air pollution in her hometown of Cracow and its influence on people's minds.
As Migas has always desired to sensibilise the general public to the mosaic of social issues, which bother the unprivileged community of Silesians, 2 years later, she shot „Republic of Silesia" (2020), a documentary on the first world's civil experiment aiming to create the new civilization of free people in the territory of Lower Silesia.
Her last bittersweet documentary „UFO: They are already here” (2021) reveals the manipulations of Polish New Age industry, showcasing the multi-threaded story of the biggest ufological phenomena, that have been happening every summer over the period 2000-2006 in the Polish village, Wylatowo.
Besides filmmaking, as an entrepreneur, she handles literacy work, as well. In 2022, she wrote and published an adventure and culinary e-book „Islandówki”, the story of Icelandic legacy with the hindsight of her personal experiences attained while two, months-long expeditions. E-book became a viral hit of 2022 in Polish internet.
Not resting on her laurels, Migas produced short thriller „At present" (2023), the story of 30-something couple, living in a long-distance relationship, who one day discovers, that their beloved greenhouse located in the centre of the forest was taken over by a demonic cult.

2017: Silesian Chain of Solidarity – short film
2018: The study of smog – short film
2020: Republic of Silesia – short film
2021: UFO: They are already here – feature documentary
2023: At present – short film

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Director Statement

With Timo and Debby, I desire to tell the story of a couple living for years in a long-distance relationship, who due to diverse personal blockades is unable to share everyday life with one another. Being aware of inevitably passing time, both of them record and archive day-to-day existence on VHS tapes, in the belief that one day they will catch up with all the moments they have lost. When their cherished meeting place is taken over by a cult, Timo and Debby are presented with a necessity of choice, how to guide their relationship since now. They both share a strong urge to change, but while for Timo life together means just a presence next to a beloved person, for Debby it is something more profound, embracing declaration of life plans and decision on the permanent place to live.
Unexpected appearance of The Present Guild causes, that the true reasons of their indecisiveness come to the surface. The cult bares Timo’s weakness for prostitutes and Debby’s pent-up feelings to the mysterious man from the past. Stylistically, we follow two protagonists simultaneously, exploring the concept of relation dynamics, not as a linear progression, but as a malleable entity that can be bent, twisted and fractured. Through the semiotic charge of colours, high visual aesthetics making the most of Michelangelo acclaimed frescos, "At present" poses an unique artwork, which goes beyond a classical narrative.