When film and television production was forced into a shutdown in March due to Covid-19, there were two positive factors to weigh against all of the negatives; obstacles inspire artists to create and there would be some new template for film production in this pandemic era. We are beginning to see the fruitful results of this with films like Miss-Connecting which was recently released. This unusual comedy comes via the fascinating mind of Shreekrishna Padhye; the same writer who authored such diverse productions as the AltFF Alternative Film Festival “Best Comedy” Award-Winning Long Shot and a music video for Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” which transfixed YouTube audiences to accumulate a whopping 9.2 Million views. Padhye’s last pre-Covid released film, the crime drama Misprison, won awards at the Five Continents International Film Festival. During the somewhat oppressive tension of the lockdown, the writer was inspired to pen a scenario in a world where a similar social-distancing can portray the situation with some humorous undertones. Rather than concede defeat, Shreekrishna set his attention to creating something that would work within the new confines of our current reality. He relates, “The only way to make a film was to do so remotely. Instead of setting a story amidst the background of the pandemic I came up with the idea of creating a world where a sudden world-wide phenomenon exposes people’s thoughts to everyone around them, thus forcing everyone to isolate in their homes. Setting the story in this alternate reality gave me a chance to explore the same issues people are feeling during this pandemic like loneliness, uncertainty, and loss of relationships but while also providing the audience an escape from the current reality.”
Miss-Connecting stars Melissa Wilpers (known for her work on Netflix’s Nailed It! and Sugar Rush series as well as the Primetime Emmy Award winning Project Runway), Ashely Ahlquist, and Kelly Hall as three friends who struggle to save their important relationships in this new world where thoughts are read by everyone in close physical proximity. Anyone who has found themselves uncomfortable in a social setting can easily imagine how this overt inner-monologue could exacerbate an already stressful experience. When balanced against ideas like the lack of secrecy in regards to everything from banking security to nuclear launch codes, the idea that the film’s three main characters are fixated on what their friends and loved ones might think if they “heard” their real opinions; the humor is both humanizing and ridiculous.
While the right-brain inspired story was most certainly intriguing, it would take a good deal of left-brain ingenuity to manifest Shreekrishna tale. Soundstages with large crews gathered around the actors are currently verboten, requiring the production of Miss-Connecting to pursue a different course. This film is told through a series of Facetime and Zoom calls between the characters. While this reflects the means of communication for so many of us today, the production had to make use of different technological aids to avoid negatively effecting the pacing and interaction of the actors in various scenes. With so much of our lives taking place online these days, Miss-Connecting is an intersection of fiction and non-fiction while also being a strong indicator of where the entertainment industry is for at least the foreseeable future.
The welcoming embrace of the public to Miss-Connecting is not surprising. An Official Selection of the India Short Fest, CKF International Film Festival, and Five Continents International Film Festival, Miss-Connecting was recently named a finalist at the Kosice International Film Festival and Hollywood Gold Awards as well as a semi-finalist at the Phoenix Monthly Short Film Festival. Perhaps the best news for eager viewers in search of exceptional new films is the fact that Miss-Connecting is available for viewing on YouTube where it has already received more than 100,000 views. Shreekrishna enthusiastically remarks, “It’s really an exciting time to be a filmmaker because the industry and market are going through massive changes. Previously online only content was short, cheap, and distributed mainly on YouTube or other video sharing sites, but now pretty much all content being made is consumed largely online. The proliferation in streaming services has led to a lot of high quality content being made for online viewing and it’s exciting to be a part of it.”
Shreekrishna Padhye is currently writing his next film which is set to begin shooting in 2022, hopefully in a post-pandemic/traditional filming method. Produced by Dennic C. Miller of 80/20 Pictures, Underwater Phoenix is about a former mob lawyer who has moved on to a new life with a fiancé. When his estranged son is arrested for murder, he is forced out of hiding in a decision that may cost him everything.
Writer: Angela Cooper