In a near-future dystopia, when a worldwide event means people can no longer meet face to face, four stories — PLACEBO, PLEASE LOG ON, TOUCH, and R NOUGHT — unfold with unexpected revelations as the screens through which they connect hide the twisted reality of their lives.
Writer-director Shem Bitterman taps into human nature with four stories that capture the echoes of the Covid lockdown. The dialogue is theatrical. DISTANT TALES could easily transition from screen to stage. The real-time, intensely intimate vulnerability would be electric. It already pours off the screen.
TOUCHCo-workers surreptitiously connect over late-night Zoom calls. Once discovered by their partners, Ben and Seraphina show their true colors. Samuel Martin Lewis gives Ben a relatable longing. The performance from Tiffany Wolff is chilling.
PLEASE LOG ON
A job interview goes off the rails when the effects of prolonged isolation rear their ugly head. Liz Fenning gives Beth an irritable edge and desperation we all recognized during lockdown. Rupak Ginn is Rohit, a character in the opposite headspace. This segment presents the viewer with an awkward moral dilemma.
PLACEBOThe head of a clinical trial and one of her subjects find common ground through culture and shameless flirting but clash over social distancing protocols and the trial’s progress. Amen Igbinosun plays Ese as a jovial spirit. His physical and emotional journey is heartbreaking. Carolyn Michelle Smith balances skepticism and kindness. It is a nuanced turn.
R NOUGHTThis intense piece explores online extremism and conspiracy theories with phenomenal performances from Ben Bowen and Christoper Curry. An online talking head pushes a grieving husband to take up arms against the government. Can he battle his emotions and resist the influences in his life?
As a whole, DISTANT TALES tackles all the chaos of lockdown in complex ways. Each story gets under the audience’s skin for vastly different reasons. If nothing else, Bitterman’s keen observation of human desperation will undoubtedly have people talking.
“Distant Tales” trailer:
IS NOW AVAILABLE ON iTunes, AMAZON.COM, and VUDU
COMING OUT ON BLU-RAY ON DECEMBER 12
The dark psychological thriller, DISTANT TALES, a 4-part anthology from writer/director, award-winning playwright, Shem Bitterman (who, as a young screenwriter, wrote HALLOWEEN 5) and executive produced by Oscar-winner, Tom Schulman (Academy Award – Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen “Dead Poet’s Society”), will be released on Blu-ray December 12.
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Los Angeles, CA (November 30, 2023) – After a two-month exclusive run on Cable TV OnDemand with Xfinity, Spectrum, and Contour, DISTANT TALES, from acclaimed playwright and screenwriter writer/director Shem Bitterman and executive producer and Oscar-winner Tom Schulman (“Dead Poet’s Society”), is now available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and Vudu. The film will be available on additional streaming platforms later in December. Pre-orders are now available for the December 12 Blu-Ray release on Amazon.com.
DISTANT TALES, a dark, four-part dramatic anthology where desire, madness and a struggle for love erupt in a dystopic future after a worldwide event prevents people from meeting face to face, was filmed in isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In DISTANT TALES four individual stories set during a worldwide pandemic unfold with unexpected twists and revelations: an extramarital affair, cut short by a pandemic and continued online; a mysterious job interview, overseen by an unseen judge; a vaccine trial, where a burgeoning love leads to some bad decisions; a grieving dad who finds sympathy from an online advocate for violence.