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(Someone Else’s Heart is the co-winner of the December 2012 Hammer to Nail Short Film Contest. Visit Zachary Wigon’s official website for contact information.)

Is our increasing dependence on virtual communication deforming the way we interact with others in our real, everyday lives? Isn’t there something inherently strange about all this “how many friends and followers do you have” business of late? While the internet is without question an incredibly useful contribution to our modern world, on the other side of that coin, take a few steps back and watch someone “interacting” with their computer. Whether they are playing online poker or writing an email or reading a work of great literature or speaking with a loved one, there they are, just sitting there, their glazed eyes mesmerized by a flat, glowing screen.

In Someone Else’s Heart, writer/director Zachary Wigon explores his own suspicions about the puzzling direction in which romantic human interaction has been heading in the early 21st century. Though Wigon’s film asks more questions than it answers—in a good way, mind you—by the end, his point is made very clear: before you start dating someone, you should probably actually meet them first.

New York City resident Harrie (David Gelles) is having a choppy Skype session with his girlfriend Madeline (Libby Woodbridge), who is living in Berlin at the moment. At first, one assumes that Harrie and Madeline are living apart from each other because of a work or school obligation. But at one point, Madeline asks Harrie a jarring, troubling question: “What if you meet me and I’m ugly?” What if he meets her? Apparently, Harrie and Madeline’s has been a virtual, long distance relationship all along, which obviously raises a few red flags.

On this day, when Harrie and Madeline hang up their computers, a literal siren goes off in Harrie’s mind, sparking some internet-enhanced detective work that leads him to question if Madeline is who—or, rather, where—she says she is. That night, Harrie’s search leads him to a Manhattan nightclub, where he innocently interacts with Vicky (Liz Holtan), a Facebook friend of Madeline’s. With the stealth of an A-level detective, Harrie tracks down some more concrete details. Which leads to his next and final stop: Brooklyn. Here Harrie learns an uncomfortable truth about “his girlfriend.”

Though technically a drama, Someone Else’s Heart has the creeping tension of a cyber-thriller, thanks in large part to the work of cinematographer Chris Teague, editor David Barker, composer Christoph Hochheim, and sound designer Gregg Swiatlowski. But Someone Else’s Heart is ultimately Zachary Wigon’s show. Best known up until now as a film journalist (for indieWIRE, Movieline, Slant Magazine, MUBI, and others), Wigon proves with this haunting 17-minute film that he is a startlingly assured writer/director in his own right. One hopes that he expands his talents to the feature realm in the very near future.

— Michael Tully


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Michael Tully is an award-winning writer/director whose films have garnered widespread critical acclaim, his projects having premiered at some of the most renowned film festivals across the globe. He is also the former (and founding) editor of this site. In 2006, Michael's first feature, COCAINE ANGEL, chronicling a tragic week in the life of a young drug addict, world premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film immediately solidified the director as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” a reputation that was reinforced a year later when his follow-up feature, SILVER JEW, a documentary capturing the late David Berman's rare musical performances in Tel Aviv, world-premiered at SXSW and landed distribution with cult indie-music label Drag City. In 2011, Michael wrote, directed, and starred in his third feature, SEPTIEN, which debuted at the 27th annual Sundance Film Festival before being acquired by IFC Films' Sundance Selects banner. A few years later, in 2014, Michael returned to Sundance with the world premiere of his fourth feature, PING PONG SUMMER, an ‘80s set coming-of-age tale that was quickly picked up for theatrical distribution by Gravitas Ventures. In 2018, Michael wrote and directed the dread-inducing genre film DON'T LEAVE HOME, which has been described as "Get Out with Catholic guilt in the Irish countryside" (IndieWire). The film premiered at SXSW and was subsequently acquired by Cranked Up Films and Shudder.

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