An isolated, imaginative perfectionist exacts ill-conceived revenge on all liars of the world via the one target she has access to: a classmate sharing her name.
Writer/director: Chell Stephen
Producer: Kristy Neville
Shauna is a Liar is based on a true story – the actual events themselves may be heightened or rearranged for effect in the film but the feelings are accurate.
As a filmmaker I’m drawn to the complicated times in a young person’s life where those things we’ve been told ‘matter,’ ‘are important’ or ‘are true’ are beginning to break down around us. I also think it’s funny how the things we hate most in other people are what we usually hate most about ourselves.
When my two young co-stars and I rehearsed I asked them what they thought about their characters and they seemed to feel they had them pegged: “I’m the bullied one!” “I’m the mean girl!”
“Nah, nah, nah my dudes,” I said, “They’re the same!” They feel exactly the same but are just acting out their BS in different, and equally silly, ways. I think we’re all a lot more similar than we are different, and I think the expectations we place on ourselves and others can put us through some gnarly times.
This might sound a bit heavy for a brightly-coloured film full o’ tunes and fantasies and childhood rage but these are all things I was thinking about while making this short – which we shot in the same elementary school where the actual true events took place. It was fun and funny and excellent. My whole family was there, literally!
It’s how my team and I like to do it – scrappy, all-in, lots of dancing. Good stuff.
About Chell Stephen
Writer/director Chell Stephen was raised in Toronto on healthy doses of music videos, The X-Files and teen dance movies – influences which shaped her debut short film Crystal (SXSW, 2014) a dark comedy about a be-spandexed 17-year-old jerk.
Its follow up, Shauna is a Liar, is based on a true story from Chell’s youth and features poppy camp visuals, a dash of surreal plus an earnest beating heart at the centre – aka Chell’s wheelhouse.
Chell is a Sundance Fellow selected to participate in the 2017 New Voices Episodic Short Form Lab 2017 with her series Kidnapping Brihanna.
She also directs fashion and music content for global brands with production family Think/Feel, and presently reps the motherland from “fourth largest Canadian city,” Los Angeles.