ROSE TINT: Life May Go On, But Will Our Memories Of Those Who’ve Left Us Survive?
Writer/director Aris Federman’s upcoming new film Rose Tint is a poignant story of love, loss and remembrance told from the physically invisible yet ethereally omnipresent view of a deceased young man (Loflin, played by Benjamin Izaak) who desperately attempts to keep his memory alive through one of his beloved survivors, Ella (Ashley Allen).
Powerless to change his eternal fate, and equally unable to change the ever forward march of time, Loflin sees that while Ella and his old college friend Mason (Joey Pittorino) continue to carry on with their lives, his fear of disappearing from their respective consciousness may be as inevitable as life turning into death.
Further details on the film will be available on Federman’s Instagram page (linked to below). Shot in a three-day period, and with all three aforementioned performers comprising its full cast, Rose Tint is a hauntingly vivid portrait of the void that a person’s departure from our lives leaves us with, and a wistful consideration of how — for better or worse — life goes on while the mourning continues.
None of us will definitely know what “life after death” will feel like until we reach that phase, but everyone who’s suffered the loss of a family member and/or friend knows both the enormous sorrow that such losses carry and the seemingly impossible job of having to move forward with their lives after the last eulogies have been uttered, and while Federman thoughtfully ponders the emotional effects of death on the living in Rose Tint, its narrative and characters force us to contemplate something much deeper: how those who’ve left us would deal with spiritually being on the outside looking in.
“I used Rose Tint’s ghost story as my own opportunity to play with perception, asking the question ‘what does it look like to grieve when you have no future?’. So much of the grieving process deals with moving on but how can you move on if you have nowhere to move on to,” says Federman. “It was a fun question, you know? Do ghosts grieve for the lives they’ve lost? How would they even begin to achieve a form of catharsis?”
In its earliest form, Rose Tint’s script was a run-of-the-mill ghost story — not even close to the bittersweet drama it would later become. “(The first draft) followed Loflin as he fell in love with a mysterious specter that had appeared in his home,” Federman recalls. “Ultimately, we felt we needed to make Loflin more active.”
Making Loflin “more active” meant removing him from the active world. Thus, as Federman reports, the story and his character improved. “Our solution was, essentially, to kill him off and turn the tables. His being dead gave him something to relentlessly long for: life and those he left behind. He rapidly became a more interesting character.”
What also makes Loflin so powerful is his relatable reaction to the heartbreaking situation he’s trapped in. Adds Federman: “…He (Loflin) deals with very fundamental, human emotions that we all grapple with; the feelings of loss and being lost, jealousy, etc.”
The humanity and compassion that Izaak brought to his depiction of the troubled Loflin made his performance all the more striking. For Federman, both qualities are apparent in Izaak’s total approach to his performance, and his ability to elicit empathy from audiences when a scene demands undeniable pathos.
“Ben brings an otherworldly quality to Loflin, as well as a unique charm. You feel for Loflin more because of it,” Federman replies. “Even in Loflin’s most misguided moments, his actions can ultimately be traced back to a deep-seated love for Ella. I know love is something central to much of Ben’s work as an actor, I’m comfortable saying that because I’ve heard him say it more than once. It shows in his work.”
Though making Rose Tint offered Federman the chance to take a deeper look at its themes of mortality, remembrance and love, the clashing aesthetics he used to visually project those themes — black and white cinematography for Loflin’s angelic state, color for flashbacks presenting him in his formerly corporeal presence — bring the tragedy of his character’s arc and his invisible yet all-seeing perspective on his living friends into sharp relief.
“We wanted a way to convey that, even if you couldn’t see him, Loflin was always present,” notes Federman. “He’s the unspoken third character in a lot of these scenes. When we can directly see Loflin, it’s black and white. We were trying to create a sort of purgatory-like staleness; this idea that there isn’t anything particularly bright on the other side. No future prospects. We only see color in the ‘land of the living’, so to speak. It keeps him caught in the past.”
Rose Tint’s supporting cast made huge impressions on Federman, as they are certain to do on audiences. “There is also a gentle candidness in Joey’s performance as Mason which we felt made the character a more dynamic ‘antagonist’ (even though I’d argue the story doesn’t have a true villain),” the film’s writer/director explains.
Federman was also won over by Allen’s outstanding audition, making her the perfect choice to play Loflin’s cherished love. “A major audition side for Ella came in the form of an abstract poem that appears in the short,” he reveals. “What set Ashley apart was her masterful specificity when reading it. She had such a firm opinion on each line despite the text’s abstract nature. She’s an incredibly compelling actor.”
Despite its production being occasionally postponed due to the COVID pandemic, Federman and his small yet talented cast and crew made exceptional use of the film’s limited resources to present a meaningful and thought-provoking tale of mortality seen from an uncommon point of view.
“I think it was a growing experience for all of us,” he comments. “We tried to tell a big story in a very minimalist fashion. That took resourcefulness and resilience. In directing, I was able to learn from the rest of the team throughout the entire process, which is a gift.”
Federman’s experience in front of the camera was also a plus as cameras rolled on the film. “I am an actor as well, although I didn’t appear in Rose Tint. I think that directing helps you to grow as an actor and vice versa. I feel like that growth was catalyzed by the opportunity to work with Ashley, Ben, and Joey, who are all gifted storytellers.”
Rose Tint teaches us that as hard as it is to heal from the sadness of personal loss, we can start to ease our heartache by learning to move on while never forgetting the people who’ve touched our lives the most. Federman elaborates on how his film will stress that ideal: “…True catharsis comes from a place of selflessness, I think. When you try and lock something you love in a cage, you ultimately lock yourself in one as well.”
The trailer for Rose Tint can be seen here:
For more information about Rose Tint, follow Aris Federman on Instagram @arisfederman.