End of the Line

2019 Official Selection
Directed by Jessica Sanders
2018| USA | 14:30 min.
Dark Comedy, Fantasy

A lonely man goes to the pet store and buys a tiny man in a cage.

Director Bio

Jessica Sanders is an Academy Award-nominated, Sundance and Cannes winning filmmaker and commercial director. Steve Jobs hand picked Jessica to direct Apple’s iPad launch spot. Her Sony “Make Believe” film won the prestigious Young Director Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Jessica directed, produced and wrote AFTER INNOCENCE, a feature documentary film about innocent men wrongfully convicted of crimes, cleared by DNA evidence and their struggle to reenter society after spending decades in prison. The film premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize. Jessica’s next feature documentary MARCH OF THE LIVING, filmed in Brazil, Germany, Poland, Israel and the US featured Jewish teenagers from around the world accompanying the last generation of survivors to the sites of the Holocaust in Poland, in an act of remembrance. Jessica was nominated for an Academy Award for SING a short film that tells the universal story of how squeaky- voiced 8 year olds learn to sing and become amazing choristers with the LA Opera, LA Phil, Placido Domingo and other maestros.

Jessica is directing PICKING COTTON, a narrative scripted feature based on the best-selling book by Jennifer Thompson, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo. She was awarded the Sloan Science Foundation grant at the Tribeca Film Festival and the Discovery Award at Los Cabos Film Festival to develop the film. The movie is based on a story in her Sundance-winning film AFTER INNOCENCE about the vicious rape of Jennifer Thompson, a white college student by a black man, who she identified as Ronald Cotton. Ronald spent 11 years in prison before he was declared innocent after DNA testing and was released from prison. The movie’s story is about forgiveness as Jennifer and Ronald forge a deep friendship and together are activists for criminal justice reform.

Jessica’s comedic work is reflected in BUNION, a short romantic comedy she directed with Alia Shawkat (Search Party), Michaela Watkins (Casual) and Avi Rothman. Film Critic Elvis Mitchell curated it for LACMA’s Young Director Series. Jessica also directed the ALMOST ASIAN web-series created by Katie Malia, and she is directing the improvised comedy feature I WANT TO FEEL FUN with comedian Little Esther (Alone Together), Simon Rex, Avi Rothman and others.
Her work can be seen at www.jessicasandersfilm.com

Director Statement

I have always loved Aimee Bender’s surreal and unusual stories. Her twisted tale about power, END OF THE LINE from her short story collection WILLFUL CREATURES has stayed with me since I read it in 2005. The story of a man who goes to the pet store to purchase a tiny man in a cage explores social class, desire and power. It’s dark, funny, sad, scary and exhilarating. As a director, I love playing with touches of surrealism from my first short film, the award-winning LOS ANGELS about a girl born with a birthmark in the likeness of the Great Wall of China on her stomach. END OF THE LINE explores themes I’ve longtime been interested in, power and it’s abuse, but explored in a highly unusual and creative way.

I enjoy films that explore the surrealism grounded in the natural world from ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, BEING JOHN MALKOVITCH to the giant vagina scene in Pedro Almodovar’s TALK TO HER. As a director I was excited to make a film that would challenge myself visually, with large art builds (we built a 25ft cage and a 30 ft penis) and Visual Effects.

I collaborated with the most incredible creative team of artists, working closely with production designer Justin Trask (Apple), Visual Effects Supervisor Eva Floodstrom (Star Wars, Star Trek), Cinematographer Brett Pawlak (Glass Castle, Short Term 12), Costume Designer Shirley Kurata (Rodarte), Editors Claudia Castello (Creed, Fruitvale Station) and Stephen Berger (I’m Here), Screenwriter Joanne Giger (Mes Copines) and producer Louise Shore (Unlovable). Actors Simon Helberg (Big Bang Theory, Florence Foster Jenkins) and Brett Gelman (Stranger Things, Lemon) brought so much humanity and emotion to Little Man and Big Man.

The film could not have been made without the support of Refinery29 and TNT’s Shatterbox film series to support female filmmakers. Making this film has been a creative dream come true.