COVER the film is a short film about how we see others and ourselves. An indie passion project, if you will. It was shot primarily in Brooklyn, and the cinematography is outstanding. The film examines themes, identity, and perception of ourselves and others.
How people perceive you and how you view them depending on how they or you look, present yourself, or just “come off.” Do you wear different masks and shift personas based on the situation, setting, or because you don’t want to be perceived a certain way? If identity is a fluid concept, what defines you?
Does anything define you? Well, COVER answers those questions and has the viewer take a second look at characters who look a certain way but does not act the way that you think. It’s a glorious thing to realize, and once you do, you never do it again.
COVER: The Story
A struggling sculptor and wig-wearing pianist keep running into each other. When he goes searching for the music that breaks his creative block, he follows her colorful trail and soon discovers that there is more than meets the eye.
An interview with J.Y. Chun
How did the project COVER begin and evolve?
COVER began with a conversation with my mom about hair. And how you’d feel if you dealt with hair loss, something I hadn’t ever really given serious thought.
As soon as I reflected more on the various symbolic meanings of hair––its public and private aspects, sociocultural associations, and aesthetic use in constructing an image — I hit a broad stroke of character.
I began reading about hair and writing. I also spoke with friend and hairstylist, Kevin Woon, and someone whose close friend had alopecia.
Did you always know you were going to cast yourself as Nana?
No, I didn’t have any specific actor in mind as I wrote.
Only mental images and silhouettes. I knew the actress should be fluent in at least three languages; this was important, and the only justification for me, as a multilingual person, to half-admit I could play the role when the idea first occurred, thanks to Marcel Simoneau, producer and 1st AD.
Marcel brought up the idea and urged me to consider. Tayo Cittadella, lead actor, and associate producer, also supported the choice, but both warned me of the difficulty of acting and directing; especially, when it was my first time!
How was acting and directing?
Fun but hard.
I’m not entirely sure you have enough time for “preparation” as an actor. What’s also difficult is having produced it, so even if you’re not “producing” on set as actor-director, you’re acutely aware of all the months’ work that has been invested in securing those three hours, maybe, in that location.
So there’s pressure all-around, and you have to focus on the present task.
Could you name some pros and cons of acting and directing?
Pros: you know the “vision” behind the project. Cons: you know the “vision” behind the project.
How did this shape you into who you are today?
Before this film, I didn’t know what it was like to be so heavily involved in so many aspects of a single project.
Today I’d say I have a much more intimate knowledge of what that is like––or was for me, on this particular film. The entire process was an immense learning experience.