crooked muse

June, a young artist and perfectionist, is stuck painting patterns she can't escape. When her canvas decides to rebel, the ensuing battle between them leaves her broken and defeated. However, she discovers that beauty can emerge from the mess.

  • Mallory Grossman
    Director of Photography
  • Peiqi Peng
  • Mallory Grossman
  • Mallory Grossman
  • Kyra Brennan
  • Mallory Grossman
  • Stevie Dust
    Key Cast
  • Savannah Paine
    Production Design
  • Jordan Streeter
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    3 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 9, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    4,898 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - American Film Institute Conservatory
Director Biography - Peiqi Peng, Mallory Grossman

Peiqi Peng is a Chinese writer/director based in Los Angeles, with a BFA in Film & Post-Colonial Studies from Emerson College and an MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute. She loves socially conscious female dramas with fantasy, gore, and absurdist elements. Her narrative shorts A ROADSIDE BANQUET, SUNTANNED ORANGE and ADIÓS MUCHACHOS have been screened at various Oscar-qualifying festivals around the world.

Mallory Grossman is a cinematographer currently living and working in Los Angeles. With her undergraduate degree in art and an MFA in cinematography from the American Film Institute, she transitioned into working in film production due to a passion for the visual language of cinema. But she holds storytelling above all else, committed to harnessing visual language to inspire emotion and connection through the screen.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

With this short, we set out to express the difficulties that come with the creative process, as well as the struggle of breaking free from self-imposed 'perfectionism.' When we get set into our ways, it can be hard to leave our comfort zone. But creativity inside of a box becomes stifled, and we can find ourselves simply going through the motions, playing it safe rather than taking risks. But sometimes, our most surprising and creative work comes from the moments when things go wrong and we are forced to adapt. The challenge is to become comfortable with the uncomfortable, and in doing so, grow and change as artists.

'Crooked muse' was shot on 35mm 3-perf film as a part of AFI's MFA program, where cinematographers are tasked with writing, producing, and shooting a non-dialogue story through visuals alone.