Here’s a fun horror comedy short for you to watch titled Tooth! In the film, “Fed up with decades of suffering through the forced perfection of modern beauty standards, a tooth takes matters into its own hands.”

The film was directed by Jillian Corsie and it was shared in collaboration with FilmQuest Film Festival. We’ve included an interview with Corsie below discussing the project and the inspiration behind it.

Without spoilers, tell us what your film is about, its characters, and its themes. Is it a proof of concept, or a standalone story? 

TOOTH is a short film about a vengeful tooth driven to rebellion by unrealistic beauty standards and years of mistreatment. Fed up with the relentless pressure to conform to societal ideals, it takes matters into its own hands, launching a full-scale attack.

The film sheds light on the detrimental effects of unrealistic beauty standards on individuals’ self-perception and self-worth. While TOOTH is ultimately a comedy, it serves as a poignant commentary on the pervasive influence of societal expectations on body image and personal identity.

What was the inspiration for your film? How did you come up with the idea?

In the summer of 2020 my parents decided to move out of my childhood home after 34 years, causing my mother to offload what felt like all of her belongings onto me…..including all of my baby teeth. That’s right, my teeth. She had kept every tooth that had ever fallen out of (or been pulled from) my head.

Of course, I didn’t know what to do with said teeth. They used to be a part of me after all, but I couldn’t display them on my mantle. So I put them in my medicine cabinet where they sat for a year. Every night I’d brush my teeth, and stare at that jar of teeth (so meta).

Now, I’m someone who regularly has the classic “teeth falling out” nightmares. So one night, I’m looking at my teeth thinking….what would happen if I were brushing my teeth….and they all fell out? I posed this question to a writer friend of mine. Her response: “Well, they’d come to life and kill you, of course.” Of course.

Tell us about yourself. What is your background? How long have you been a filmmaker?

I’m a filmmaker, editor, and film festival programmer based in Los Angeles. I’ve been making movies since I first got my hands on my dad’s VHS camera at 5 years old.

What inspires you to work within genre cinema and tell these kind of stories?

When I was a kid, I loved horror and sci-fi. Every Sunday night was a new X-Files episode with my dad. I anticipated summers that brought a new M. Night Shyamalan film. TOOTH is my first genre film but in a way it feels like the project I’ve wanted to make since those days.

While I’ve only made documentaries until now, TOOTH explores similar themes of body issues that run through my other films. In an image-conscious society, women persecute their bodies to achieve physical perfection. But so much of the injecting, starving, plucking, pulling, and whitening can wreak havoc on our physical and emotional health.

So what if our bodies simply said “you know what? Fuck this, I’m out.” Hence TOOTH. TOOTH had such a wonderful film festival run that it’s inspired me to make another horror film. I’m currently writing a feature length coming of age horror called LAMB. I can’t wait to dive into the deep end of the horror genre.

What was your favorite part of the filmmaking process for this project?

My favorite part of the filmmaking process was undoubtedly working with my friends. Collaborating with people you trust and enjoy being around is invaluable. TOOTH was particularly special because it allowed us to indulge in the absurdity of the concept.

We laughed our way through crafting puppets from my teeth and concocting a toothpaste tube that hilariously squirted toothpaste into my actress’s eye. The fun we had really made the entire experience incredibly enjoyable and memorable.

What are you most proud of with this film?

I’m really proud of myself for…finding myself (as soap opera-ey as that sounds!). Initially, I gravitated towards documentary filmmaking because it seemed more accessible. TOOTH challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and explore new creative territories.

Making this film was a testament to my growth as a filmmaker and my newfound belief in my abilities. I feel like I’m right where I need to be, making work that would make my 8 year old self proud.

What was your most challenging moment or experience you had while making your film?

We shot TOOTH in January of 2021, during the Omicrom Covid wave. My actress, Janine was battling cancer, so protecting her was my top priority. I quarantined for two weeks leading up to the shoot and required everyone to be vaccinated and test negative for COVID before coming to the set.

But On the morning of day 3, I tested positive for COVID. Suddenly, this magical film felt like a disaster. When I called Janine and her wife to let them know, I couldn’t get the words out. I handed the phone to my mom to deliver the news that I was too ashamed to admit through thinly veiled sobs. “We have to reschedule,” I thought. I’d funded the film with my savings account, and the costs had included flying out several members of the crew.

It would take a year to save up enough to get everyone back here. Not to mention Janine had postponed her double knee replacement for this shoot! I felt doomed on so many levels. Then, a ray of hope emerged when my producer and good friend, Vincent DeLuca, told me the crew had come up with a plan for us to finish the final day.

We’d finish the shoot with me quarantined in a closet directing the action on a monitor via Zoom. Luckily, Janine ended up being ok – she never did get Covid from set. And we finished our shoot.

If it did, how did your film change or differ from its original concept during pre-production, production, and/or post-production? How has this changed how you’ll approach future projects as a result?

Getting Covid on set taught me the importance of adaptability and resilience in filmmaking. Moving forward, I’ll always prepare to the best of my ability knowing that unexpected obstacles may arise. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, I’ve learned to trust in my ability to problem-solve and remain flexible in finding solutions. I’ll carry that adaptability onto future sets.

Who were some of your collaborators and actors on the film? How did you start working with each other?

A big handful of my crew are friends from college. Katie Gault, my writer. Monique Dias, my production designer. Jared Potter, my VFX artist. I’ve been editing a feature film for my producer Vinny. And all of my post-production people come from my days of working at boutique post houses. My incredible composer Sherri Chung composed on my last project. These are my forever collaborators and I can’t wait to have them on my new film!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received as a filmmaker and what would you like to say to new filmmakers?

Failure is just part of it. I fail all the time. There is no such thing as perfection. If you never try, you will never fail, but you will also never succeed. As a filmmaker, it can be disheartening to invest years and significant financial resources into a project only to face numerous rejections from grants and film festivals. However, with each setback, I learn and grow, and my work improves.

The experience also provides opportunities to meet new friends and contacts, who can contribute to my future projects. Rather than viewing each project in isolation, I see it as a building block, and witnessing the growth in my films is awe-inspiring.

If I won an Oscar at 19…where is there to go next? To me failure is a sign of courage; of having courage to keep going, or having courage to push yourself in your work. I hope I keep failing all my life. Because to fail is to grow — and I don’t want to stay stagnant.

What are your plans for your career and what do you hope this film does for it? What kind of stories would you like to tell moving forward?

Currently, I’m juggling several projects, but one that excites me most is “LAMB,” my feature coming of age horror film currently in development. Despite its eerie and somewhat…. unconventional nature, “LAMB” delves deep into themes grief and identity.

While I have a passion for genre films, at my core I love telling stories that touch people’s hearts. I look forward to crafting stories that blend the elements of genre storytelling with poignant, heartfelt narratives. “LAMB” will explore the depths of human experience within the framework of a thrilling horror tale.

I’m eager to continue pushing boundaries and creating films that not only entertain but also leave a lasting impact on viewers, touching their hearts in unexpected ways.

What is your next project and when can we expect to see it? 

I’m currently in development on my feature horror LAMB. I have two documentaries coming this year that I wrote and edited: Desert Angel and Body Electric.

Where can we find more of your work and where can interested parties contact you?

Website: Instagram: @jcorsie Tiktok: @Salute_Your_Shorts

Bonus Question #1: What is your all-time favorite film?

Jurassic Park

Bonus Question #2: What is the film that most inspired you to become a filmmaker and/or had the most influence on your work?

Dear Zachary gave me the belief that I could do this. The Sixth Sense made me want to make movies like M. Night.

Enjoy the film!

Joey Paur

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Comedy Horror Short Film TOOTH a “Teeth Falling Out Nightmare” and Interview with Director Jillian Corsie — GeekTyrant