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Eli, Briefly // Short Film // 2022

A young, newly successful actor Eli loses their keys after blacking out at their friend Gray's birthday party. Told in an invasive time structure, the film follows Eli the next day as they visit people from their past in order to get a spare set while piecing together what happened the night before. Through the process of reckoning with Gray and seeing their mother, Eli is forced to face their past self, and confront their self-destructive behavior towards the people closest to them.



Director's Statement

For "Eli, Briefly" I was interested in exploring how time fractures and the subconscious would penetrate someone’s state of denial. With that in mind, I wanted to create an unreliable narrator, a character that is grappling with their own truth. Eli is someone who doesn’t want to face this new version of themselves, and who would do anything for validation, a battle with The Ego. They black out as a way to avoid dealing with this new desperate version of themselves. However, their behavior begins to push away the people they care about the most.

"Eli, Briefly" is a story about mourning yourself and being forced to see the parts of yourself you’ve been hiding from. The film follows Eli as they experience the 5 stages of grief as they come to terms with their actions: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These are not linear, but we are with Eli as they remember the night before and recognize how they’ve boiled over. They end in the wings of their theater, about to go on stage. There we see them channel all of their confusion, hurt, and wanting, into a moment of artistic creation. Instead of backing down, they chose to move through it.

Eli is a complicated, human character who must learn to love themselves without other people’s validation. While they have many selfish qualities, they are learning how to be their authentic self. In the end, we are left with trepidation and hope, they will either repeat the cycle or use this experience for the betterment of themselves and their art.

Selected Stills

Behind the Scenes


Writer, Director, and Editor

Line Producer
Director of Photography
Art Design
1st AD
1st AC
Assistant Editor
Sound Design



Celine Sutter
Sadie Scott, Satyam Vali, Abigail Zealey Bess, Peter Osborn, Nhumi Threadgill, Gracie Fojitk
Kevin Lee
Yoko Kohmoto, Celine Sutter
Lola Gatti
Charlie Theobald
Stella Gatti
Derin Çelik
Allison Cavanaugh
Andreas Nicholas
Em Brennan
CJ Bruce
Em Brennan
Murdo Miles Barker-Mill
Klaire Zhang
Max Schuster, Radhika Rajkumar, Dezi Fernandez, Yoko Kohmomto, Em Brennan, Lola Gati, Stella Gatti, Savannah Jatkinson, Emily Eng, Kathleen Young, Aditya Jain, Navin Gopaul, Richelle Cyrus


In association with Columbia University School of the Arts, Film MFA

Special Thanks:
Ian Olds, Tom Kailin, Arthur Gay, Hector Pratts, Ann Czar
John Sutter, Kathleen Kucka, Noah Sutter, William Socolof, Jacob Shippee

"How To Leave a Lover"
Written by Dezi and Florio, Performed by Dezi
Produced by Florio, Dezi, Courtesy of Dezi

Temporary Music
"The Narcissist"
Written by Dean Blunt
Performed by Dean Blunt, Inga Copeland

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