In the film Aprille/Desirae, Aprille is in a lesbian relationship with a married woman, Desirae, who is reluctant to give up her broken marriage because of the uncertainty the choice will entail. The short film is a snapshot of a moment in their relationship when Aprille finally decides to confront Desirae regarding the future of their affair. She makes up her mind to give up a fellowship to be with the woman she loves.
Aprille/Desirae really is a minimalist film about fleeting moments that when sewn together create a story. When I recently showed the rough cut of the film to one of our Executive Producers Ray Arthur Wang, he said he felt the film was about “the little deaths in our lives that determine each microscopic turn we take.” In one of my favorites scenes from Bergman’s Summer with Monika, Monika is trying to hide in the bushes after she is caught stealing food. What’s intriguing about that particular scene is how Bergman is able to capture each moment, the fear and unpleasantness Monika experiences; her scratching her arms from the insect bites to the almost too loud crickets dominating the sound. He not only tells a story but creates an atmosphere. With Aprille/Desirae, we strived, in a similar vein of realism, to show a difficult conversation between two women in a relationship as truthfully as we could in a low-budget two day shoot. I certainly was fortunate to have two very talented actresses Sheena and Crystal and a great crew led by New York based cinematographer Donavon de Cesare.
One of the biggest challenges was fundraising especially because I was going to college in Kentucky and many people were not receptive to the idea of a film focusing on a lesbian relationship. At the same time, I alienated some of my relatives from back home (Bangladesh) who were somewhat morally opposed to the story. For example, one of the donors to the film who is a president of a liberal arts college told me after reading the script that he would rather not be acknowledged in the credits. But, fortunately, we raised $9,250 on IndieGoGo toward the production budget and I put in all my savings and everything I had to make sure the film got shot.
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Bishen Sen is an independent filmmaker currently based in Winston-Salem, NC. Inspired by such European filmmakers as Bergman, Godard, and Antonioni, Bishen is interested in films that are minimalist representations of complex social interactions.