A true indie film through and through, Elephants takes an authentic look at a modern relationship in a “slice of life” style, peeling away intimate layers to ask the question: how do you know when someone’s right for you or rather, when it’s time to move on?
When a fiery young couple attempts to rekindle their relationship after three years apart, the highs and lows of their passion leave the pair wondering if nostalgia is enough to keep them together.
After a three year stint in prison, the charming but hot-headed Lee Riley returns to Los Angeles to win back the girlfriend he left behind, alluring and headstrong Kate Caldwell. Despite having moved on and grown into an independent woman, Kate agrees to let him stay while he looks for an apartment and soon enough, the pair falls back into their old patterns, losing themselves in an ardent relationship once more. Yet, as the free-spirited nature of their romance starts to tear down the life Kate has built, she finds herself losing her new identity but unable to let Lee go. Likewise, Lee starts to wonder if the buoyant memories from their past are preventing him from growing up and becoming something more.
Official Song Now Released!
Meet The Cast!
Q&A With Director & Lead
A True Indie Movie: Our Story.
Elephants, a modern love story about a fiery couple that tries to rekindle their relationship after three years apart, is brought to audiences with Alex Hanno (Writer & Director), Luca Malacrino (Actor & Producer) and Samuel Lancaster (Director of Photography & Producer) at the helm.
A true indie film created by the next generation of talent, Elephants is the brainchild of a group of underdogs who came together, pooled resources and contributed countless hours to bring an authentic film to the often celebrity-saturated indie market. While the film presents a relatable narrative for audiences, the truly inspiring story is that of the behind-the-scenes, artistic journey which later translated to what you now see on-screen.
“The underdog card is a good one to play as long as you have the right people around you,” Luca says. “It’s about never giving up. If you truly believe in your vision and the people around you, you can make it happen.” And it was just that – a little bit of luck, a lot of persistence, and a ton of belief – that enabled this team to bring Elephants to life.
The story began when Alex and Luca met on the set of Chameleon, a short film written by the former. At the time, Alex was considering moving on from writing and directing, but sensing there was a greater reason for their meeting, Luca encouraged him to stay in Hollywood and continue creating artistic content. Shortly after, the pair filmed Between, a sci-fi short that deals with contrasting ideologies against the backdrop of alternate realities. They then went on to create the television pilot Served, a half-hour ensemble comedy-drama that follows the vibrant staff of a stylish LA eatery in their effort to function as a makeshift family. Served later won the award for Best Cinematography at ITV Fest, competing against over 5,000 different projects. From there, the duo started their production company, The Chameleon Effect, and set out to tackle their biggest project yet – their first feature film, Elephants.
Inspired by crossroads they were both experiencing in their own romantic lives, Alex and Luca felt compelled to create a story that begs the questions, how does one know if someone is right for them or if it’s time to move on? “We all sacrifice to make a relationship work, however the real question is whether or not the person you’re with is helping you grow into the best version of yourself or hindering you from reaching that potential,” Hanno says. “While coming up with the concept, we noticed a trend amongst our peers. A lot of single people in the 21st century seem to stay in relationships that stunt their growth as individuals, rather than allow them to flourish.” Is this caused by fear, a fear of losing the person who could be the one? Can nostalgia be the driving force that makes a relationship last? Those are the questions they set out to explore.
With this in mind, Alex and Luca sought further, real life inspiration from the actors they were looking to cast, asking them to be vulnerable and share the highs and lows of their prior relationships. “Having worked with Allison Blaize (“Kate Caldwell”), Lauren J. Kelly (“Sandra Caldwell-Durkey”) and Luca (“Lee Riley”) before, I sat down and interviewed each of them about their experiences with love and their respective journeys through life,“ Alex says. “They all truly opened up and revealed some of their most personal moments... And in true writer form, I used these stories to help develop storylines and characteristics for Elephants.”
Once the script was locked, Alex and Luca headed into the pre-production phase. From the outset, they knew they wanted to bring on Samuel Lancaster, an Australian filmmaker and one of the youngest members of the Australian Cinematographer's Society, to be their Director of Photography. Another story of friendship, Samuel and Alex met years ago while the latter was studying abroad in Sydney. Though they both went on to grow in their respective fields, they always knew they wanted to continue working in film together and after collaborating on Between as Director and DP, they decided to re-team for Elephants. To appease schedules, they planned out a tight, 12 day shoot - a grand feat in the feature world - and flew Samuel to Los Angeles to begin filming. With a full crew behind them, the team moved into principal photography, dead set on bringing a fresh take to modern love on the big screen.
In the end, Elephants transformed into something more than just a film, it’s what Luca refers to as “art on top of art,” for a number of collaborators in other forms of entertainment helped to shape the final product. Having gone on a spur of the moment trip to New Orleans before pre-production, for example, Luca and Alex met a band called The Roamin’ Jasmine and as if orchestrated by fate, the band eventually became a massive part of the film. “The Roamin’ Jasmine inspired us so much to keep going - to get this movie made - that I spoke to them after one of their concerts and now, fast forward 6 months, they’re scoring our film,” Luca explains. “We’ve integrated their whole album, which the band made whilst going through a breakup, so it even copies and mimics the storyline of the movie.”
But as with any good story, Elephants didn’t come to fruition without overcoming a number of obstacles. “We’re start-up filmmakers so we had to look at what we had from a logistical point of view,” Luca explains. “Locations, budgets, props – we had to be very clever with what we had to ensure we made the best motion picture we could using the resources and the talent at our disposal.” So, the team did what many aspiring filmmakers are scared to do – they put their money where their mouth is, investing their own to make this film happen. “And it wasn’t just money that helped get Elephants made,” he adds. “We had some amazing contacts we’ve worked with in the past that we reached out to again… That’s what it’s all about, building up those relationships in life that create authenticity and lead to true art.”
Those relationships can be felt in every frame of the final product. “Each person felt like they had an equal stake [in the film]. There was a true element of passion across the piece, from the boom operator to the script supervisor to the director,” Luca explains. “It was an electric feeling that ruled every room we were in... It was magical and it gave us the chance to capture lightning in a jar, which is something that’s almost impossible to do.”
Experience Elephants for yourself, an artistic and true indie film made by the next generation of talent who you may not know by name yet, but will undoubtedly be making waves in Hollywood for years to come.