About The Project
Svetlana is an undocumented Russian immigrant who came to the United States in the hopes of starting a new life and making enough money to support her son, whom she left in the care of her sister. While working the graveyard shift at a West Texas gas station, she is put in an uncomfortable position when a man who she believes to be a local child kidnapper stops at the gas station. Her maternal instincts kick in and she feels the need to rescue the child trapped in his truck but in doing so she risks compromising her status and her future.
Whining Low is a Senior Thesis student film being executed by a passionate crew from Chapman University. At its core, Whining Low is a tragedy that is veiled by themes of immigration, capitalism, racial profiling and a mother’s maternal instinct to do anything in order to help a child. By placing Svetlana, the protagonist, alone in an off-highway gas station, geographical solitude begins to play a primary role as the station represents the only beacon of light in an otherwise arid desert. Not so different from the plight of many undocumented citizens across the world, Svetlana is invisible to everyone around her, tethered to a location because it is the only place willing to hire her, and without any friends to whom she can share her experience with. Consequently, when she realizes that a wanted local kidnapper has walked into the station shortly before closing, she is faced with a challenge: does she break her routine and take action, risking that the police gets involved, leading to her inevitable deportation, or does she not get involved and allow this kidnapping to happen?
Thematically bolstering Svetlana’s tragedy are the characters of Larry, her employer, and officer Rogers, Larry’s nephew who works for border patrol. These two characters aim to represent the capitalist ideals of American society. What’s important to note is that all three of these characters ultimately attempt to stop the kidnapper, but nobody does it for a purely noble purpose. Even Svetlana’s ethical gears change as she is indoctrinated from working off her maternal instincts to attempting to save a child for a monetary reward. This overriding motif of selfish agendas is what propels the narrative towards its tragic climax, ultimately resulting in the death of the kidnapper and the abducted boy. However, Svetlana, Rogers and Larry soon discover these two individuals were actually a Mexican immigrant and his little boy. Whining Low comes to the conclusion that although Svetlana tried everything in her power to do the right thing, her own selfish interests blinded her from realizing that the man she inadvertently killed was no different from her; a parent willing to sacrifice her own well-being for the welfare of their child.
The film is currently well into its pre-production stages. Location scouts have already taken place and final agreements are currently being made along with budget decisions.Whining Low is also the recipient of the esteemed “Excellence in Producing” Award, provided by Entertainment Partners. Cinematographer Dave Cortez and director Sergio Zaciu ultimately came to the decision that film would be the best format to capture the depth of the desert in order to aesthetically juxtapose the darkness of the endless highway with the luminosity of the gas station. The use of film is very ambitious as well expensive, but it is an art that we dream to keep alive. Our location of a deserted gas station also poses a logistical challenge of transportation and ensuring the safety of our crew of 30 for a total of 6 isolated night shoots. Any monetary donations would be greatly appreciated so we can make our artistic vision come true while also making sure safety needs are met. Thank you!