A department store mannequin falls in love with a coworker and must confront their insurmountable differences.
Writer/director: Kyle Sawyer
Producer: Ryan West
Mann is about a mannequin named Dave who works (as a mannequin) in a men’s clothing store. Dave longs for connection and, as an outsider, has a unique perspective on mankind.
I think much of the main emotion of the film comes from my experience living in a big city where you can observe people’s behaviour and think “What on earth are we all doing and why?” Dave is living a repetitious life on the fringes of society in the American South and it gives him this exact vantage point. He witnesses the silly, pointless, endearing, benighted and hopeless behaviours of humans in their everyday lives but he looks at us so longingly that I hope it gives the film a sentimental heart.
I wanted the challenge of making a ‘silent’ film (Dave’s name is never uttered. We used it for reference’s sake and it stuck) and also wanted the challenge of lending emotion to a character who only has one facial expression.
It’s amazing what you learn when you need to break film language down to the absolute basics of shot reverse shot and then use that language to try and land a joke or a punch to the heart. In the end, many of the sequences came out very still and stripped down and I think that honours the story of Dave in a nice way.
I hope the audience can relate to the mannequin in some way. We all feel like outsiders in some capacity some of the time, but also hopefully you can see yourself through the mannequin’s eyes and feel warmed and maybe a bit fortunate to be a weird human being.
About Kyle Sawyer
Canadian-born Kyle Sawyer premiered his first feature Victory in Toronto in 2015. He filmed Mann on location in Nashville, Tennessee.