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Rejected By Sundance, Profile #1 – Watch Michael Fequiere’s Short Film “Traum”

Rejected By Sundance, Profile #1 - Watch Michael Fequiere's Short Film "Traum"

Last week, after the Sundance festival committee announced its 2012 slate, I posted an entry requesting all those who submitted films to the festival, whose films were rejected, to email me and introduce themselves and their films, so that I can, at the very least, take a look at their work, and get to know the filmmakers. It’s something I’ve done in previous years since this site’s beginnings; and I’m glad to say that, unlike the last 2 years I made the request, this year, I received quite a lot of responses, thanks in part to the site’s growth over the last 2 1/2 years, as well as raised awareness since joining the indieWIRE network earlier this year.

A big THANK YOU to those who were brave enough to share their work with me, despite the Sundance rejection; some of you even included your rejection notices from Sundance!

I haven’t had an opportunity to look at every single response yet, though I’m getting to them gradually.

As for what I’m going to do with the information I didn’t have before… I plan to share the works of those who approve of my sharing their projects on S&A; and since my intent here has always been to *discover* black filmmakers I wasn’t already aware of, and, in turn, expose them to readers of this site, I plan to add these filmmakers to my talent contact list, so that I can stay abreast of what they’re doing from henceforth.

So, starting today, I’ll highlight works by those who allow me to share their work, without any bias; meaning, I’ll post them here for you all to see (the shorts primarily), or just know about (the features), regardless of my personal feelings about them. So I’m not sharing those that I think are *good,* *bad* or whatever. I’m just going to post them in the order I received them… again, just those who give me their approval to do so.

First up is a short film called Traum by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Michael Fequiere. It’s just his second film, and centers on “an ex-cop who suffers from insomnia after losing his wife. He takes a newly designed sleeping pill that puts him through a series of intense dreams that reveal a terrible truth.

Michael touts works by David Lynch and Andrei Tarkovsky as inpsiration.

Watch Traum in its entirety below:

TRAUM_SCREENER 2011 from Michael Fequiere on Vimeo.

This Article is related to: Features and tagged ,



WOW! But wait, I am not talking about the short (I'll get back to that) I'm talking about the exchange between Lil Nut and my man U of I Alum. Lawdy lawdy, they were cutting long, and deep and low. But don't tell nobody… I'm gonna steal some of their lines :-). Are you kidding me, that was some classic sh*t. Come to think of it, their exchange is worthy of a film short. Seriously, I mean, I can't quite figure out how to define each character but since each (Lil Nut & U of I Alum) profess to having degrees of higher learning, there is an earthy conflict of attitudes, motives and dislikes. Not to mention their distinct differences of vernaculars. Anyway, this film falls in my grove zone. Well, I was alerted to this post by an e-mail. Not because of the rejected film but I was told to check out the aforementioned exchange. So I read the comments first. I stopped viewing the short at around the 3 minute mark because I want to give it my full attention, but it seems to have all the elements I am looking for. I might come back to give a more indepth opinion.


I enjoyed the visuals, lighting, angles etc. I applaud the filmmaker for his work. It is not easy being an up and coming director and showcasing your work to the public. To be honest I thought he could of developed the story a little bit more it lacked something for me. But other than that, I will support this director and future filmmakers posted on Shadow and Act.


That's what I'm talking about!! very nicely done.. completely held me from beginning to end.. my first thoughts about his trauma was that he had been a bad cop.. I thought he might have gone political and showed the role that cops play in crime and drugs in the city.. but once he showed the guy who was also missing, I knew what it was.. still.. I love the way it was done.. this is real visual story telling.. that ending is great.

John Pickett

The film is okay, but a bit predictable and not based in reality. What I mean by that is, if a person disappears, especially a wife or husband, the first person in line for questioning is typically the loved one. This person is a cop so he would know that. I wasn't too impressed with the acting overall. The voice over is okay, but the fact that the VO and the actor's voices are different is a little distracting. The dream sequence is not bad, but confusing, as I guess dreams are wont to be. I liked that the VO was using the oath of the NYPD? as it's script. Very interesting. I can see why this film wasn't chosen. Tighten up the story. Too many loose ends.


should the comment section be reserved for praise? i welcome all comments on my pieces. I actually love to see a comment on here that isn't just saying it is great. seems like folks are just being nice that way. as long as you give good feedback when you don't like it carry-on.


Not bad… but I can see why it wasn't chosen; it didn't quite land. Perhaps would have been better with a bit more content and less 'black out' shots (felt a little film school-ish). Did like how I have no idea if the voice was his conscious or subconscious-either he had nothing to do w/ his wifes disappearance or he had everything to do with it.


I'm gonna say two things about Sundance and most of the top tier film festivals (not including Telluride and Toronto).

1.) Luke Matheny's Oscar winning short "God of Love" got rejected by almost all of them. ( Nine words: Academy Award for Best Live Action Short of 2010.

2.) Film festivals like Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, etc. are totally out of touch with what Hollywood as a whole revere. We're not talking about the greedy, all about the green Hollywood. We're talking about sound execs and craftsmen in the industry with film tastes that they don't take to the office. This taste is hungry for good stories with universal appeal and are always disappointed that they don't find these type of films at the aforementioned film festivals. They're bombarded with that artsy fartsy, lazy, mumblecore crap that most people don't want to see, that includes themselves (Hollywood). Some slip through the cracks and each one of these films have the very ingredients Hollywood is hungry for. Films like Pariah, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Winter's Bone, The Kids Are All Right, The Visitor, and Little Miss Sunshine have it. That is on average, 3 films out of the over 100 something films screened at Sundance each year. The rest don't have it sadly, although I think 2012's LUV has it. Luke Matheny said it best in this video, that his film is something that "moms and grandmoms like" and that these types make up the Academy. In other words, "give us more of the same but different." Give us something that a caveman would understand and appreciate. I don't want to see films where nothing happens. That minimalist BS isn't storytelling, it's a nonevent. Bor-ring!!! That is what seems to dominate these so-called top tier film festivals. This is why I dread going. The parties at Sundance though and the vacation rentals, PLEASE BELIEVE ME — the only reason why I don't put up a fuss about going. :) Like what was said by a guy in this video ( who is chilling on Main saying, "Movies? Not so much…" I digressed but it still helps to make my point.


had to watch it about 4 times. i have a lot of distractions and you had to pay attention to get this. was well-shot.


Wow! Simply Brilliant! What A Tour de Force! The writing, acting, plot, cinematography — Bravo! Amazing! (Hope no one figures out that I too am simply posing, pretending to have enjoyed or understood this senseless, nonsensical piece of proof that occasionally Sundance gets its rejections right!)


Pensive. Quiet. Tension.

I like it. I can see the influence. I like the premise also, of the drug that plays on memory and a deeper consciousness. I like how it plays with an ambiguous timeline. What's past, what's present, what's future? What's real, what's dreams? I am left wondering, what next? The short ends, but it doesn't really 'end', does it? Thanks for sharing these. I look forward to viewing more and being even more inspired. :-)


This guy Michael is BRILLIANT! I particularly enjoyed the cafe scene, and the ending shot, great film. Keep them coming.

Terence Nance

I love it when a filmmaker has a voice. It's also how weird that it felt refreshing that it was shot on Film. Can't wait to see what this guy does next.


Great film! I can see the Lynchian influence in tone also a hint of Aronofsky's early work too. Michael Fequiere is one to watch.


i can dig it

tony clomax

well done

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