Sunday Morning

Set in a outwardly looking perfect cookie cutter suburban town, a teenage boy, Sean, is adjusting to life in a single parent household. Sean and his friends bond over lacrosse parties and video games because it’s finally winter break. Sean’s friends dislike their teammate, James, because he’s aggressive, rude, and offputting. They decide to invite James to their parties anyways because he’s going through a rough time with his family getting a divorce. As a person that’s always there for others before himself, Sean makes an effort to be there for James during a difficult time. Sean and James go for fun adventures such as bike rides and swims while bonding over coming from broken households. Sean begins to dream about James but is in denial about his sexuality because he’s afraid of what will happen when he comes out. One night, James makes a move on Sean.

Even though Sean is starting to feel like he should avoid James, James coerces Sean to sleep over to help him avoid the crossfire of his parent’s fighting. While sleeping over, James becomes sexually forceful and abusive towards Sean. All the pressure of helping James stay sane with his family falling apart, helping his mom adjust to being a single parent, and helping his sisters grow up without a father, dealing with James’ physical and sexual abuse and coming to terms with his sexual is causing Sean to break down internally. Sean’ family becomes concerned about Sean because his personality has changed from a warm and loving to closed off and on edge.

Sean becomes depressed because he’s ignoring his own needs and begins to have nightmare flashbacks of James and what would happen if the cookie cutter town found out he was gay. James threatens to tell Sean’s secret and ruin his life if he doesn’t continue spending time with him. James cares about Sean, but coming from an abusive household, he doesn’t know how else to show affection besides force and manipulation. In order to stay sane, Sean realizes he needs to confront James, stand up for himself, and come out as gay to his friends and family; none of which are easy.

  • Matthew Allen
    Director
  • Matthew Allen
    Writer
  • Anngelica Eshesimua
    Producer
  • Sienna Oberman
    Producer
  • Tristan McIntyre
    Key Cast
  • Ethan Haslam
    Key Cast
  • Francesca Calvo
    Key Cast
  • Summer Moore
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Feature, Student
  • Genres:
    LGBTQ, Family Drama, Coming of Age
  • Runtime:
    40 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 8, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    9,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Alexa
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes
  • Miami Independent Film Festival
    Miami, Florida
    United States
    Official Selection
  • INDIEFest Film Awards
    Los Angeles, California
    United States
    Award of Excellence
Director Biography - Matthew Allen

Born in Orange County, California, Matthew has always had the drive to become involved in the film industry. He entered USC in the Film Production Program, but switched majors to Law, History, and Culture in 2015. He co-created Downbeat Entertainment in 2016 and continues to make content outside of school.

His expertise lies in post-production. Skilled in various editing programs, color-correction software, and sound design, Matt encompasses the entirety of the post-production stage of creating a film. Through Downbeat Entertainment, he has also developed skills in producing/pre-production and recently began his directing career through writing and directing the film "Sunday Morning".

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Director Statement

I wrote Sunday Morning because I wanted to tell a story that isn’t something usually told, but also I wanted my first project to be something extremely personal to myself. I am currently a gay man, but growing up and figuring out my sexuality was extremely difficult (as it is for most people). My first interaction with someone of the same sex was being assaulted and it happened at a time when I wasn’t sure about my own sexuality, which made everything so much harder. I told my story to show people that they aren’t alone, whether that be in discovering sexuality, assault, or anything in-between. The story is one of many that expresses equality in sexuality, but also sheds a light on the physical and mental effects that sexual assault has on its victims.

Originally I wrote this film and directed it because I felt that the story needed to be shared and I wanted to make sure it was as authentic and respectful as possible, but now I’ve found a love for directing and am determined to continue making meaningful and unheard stories. Directing was so amazing because it was the first time I fully experienced the collaboration that comes with creating a film. Coming from a post-production and producing background, I have always seen collaboration on film sets and have slightly felt it, but communicating between the actors, camera team, lighting team, and so many other departments while directing was truly such an amazing experience that I hope to experience again and again.

Sunday Morning is a film that should be experienced by anyone from any background, despite if you can connect with it personally or not. It touches on various topics that are both universal and unique and is capable of teaching the audience about the unique situations it displays. I was very inspired by Dustin Daniel Cretton and Barry Jenkins’ styles of directing; the realistic camera movements and acting tied in with slower paced dream sequences and a combination of natural and stylized lighting.

This film has been eye opening for me and, like any project that is based around a true event, has made me come to terms with many aspects and challenges that still exist in my life today. I hope that people are able to watch the film and come out with a better understanding of the unnecessary and unfortunate struggle of discovering sexuality, as well as the mental and physical effects that sexual assault has on some people. In the future, I hope to continue to create stories that focus on topics of sexuality, race, and anything else that usually isn’t expressed through the film medium.

Thank you for taking the time to review such a special project to me.