A Good Dream, written, directed, and produced by Mahum Jamal is an independent art film featuring Melany Bennett, Karim Saleh, and Victoria Atkin with a cameo by Kayvon Zand. A Good Dream, is a psychological thriller about a girl in her 20s trying to find herself in NYC. Instead, she has trouble distinguishing perception from reality as she falls deeper into her pursuit of self. Original score by Cyril Hahn with contributions by the club DJ duo Dandi & Ugo.
Official Selection Madrid International Film Festival 2017
Official Selection NewFilmmakers New York 2017
Official Selection Long Beach Indie International Film, Media, and Music Festival 2017
Winner Best Feature All Genre and Best Director Feature for April 2017, The Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards
International Independent Film Awards:
Platinum Winner 2017 Actress In A Leading Role (Melany Bennett)
Platinum Winner 2017 Cinematography
Platinum Winner 2017 Narrative Feature
Platinum Winner 2017 Soundtrack
Gold Winner 2017 Animated Visuals
Gold Winner 2017 Concept
Gold Winner 2017 Original Score
Winner Best Director, Around Film Festival, Paris
Finalist, Play Film Festival Paris
Nominated, The Berlin International Filmmaker Festival 2017
102 minutes, Digital
MELANY BENNETT Born in Los Angeles but with a childhood spent abroad, Melany is of Swedish/Mexican descent, a former Ford model, a student at the California Institute of the Arts, and starred in Fernando Sarinanas' film "Loco Love." She's also been featured in "Zwicky's," "You Only Live Once," and "Sunday" among other films.
KARIM SALEH Karim is a French/Lebanese actor known for Iron Man 2 (2010), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), and Munich (2005).
VICTORIA ATKIN Victoria is an English actress best known for playing the character Jason Costello, previously known as Jasmine, in the British soap opera Hollyoaks and Hollyoaks Later as the soap's first character with Gender Identity Disorder. She also starred as Evie Frye in the game Assassin's Creed Syndicate.
KAYVON ZAND Kayvon is an American nightlife personality and musician based in NYC. He is most known for controversial live performances and parties.
WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, MAHUM JAMAL A Good Dream is Mahum's first feature film. Mahum is a graduate of Barnard College at Columbia University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies with a minor in Religion.
PRODUCER, EDITOR, NIKOLAI METIN Nikolia is a producer with several film producing credits, including films like Fresh Blood, Landing Up, and Tomorrow Ever After.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY, OREN SOFFER Oren shot "No Letting Go" starring Alysia Reiner, Kathy Najimy, Richard Burgi, and others; and "Little Miss Perfect" starring Karlee Roberts, Isabella Palmieri, and Lilla Crawford. He is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts
COMPOSER, CYRIL HAHN A native of Bern, Switzerland, Cyril is a music producer and composer with several hundred thousand SoundCloud plays and over two million YouTube views. Cyril is known for his remix work of Solange, Jessie Ware, Haim, Sigur Ros and the ever-popular Destiny’s Child remix of Say My Name. He is signed to the label PMR Records and headlines sold out shows all over the globe.
I was always fascinated by the subject of disillusionment during my time at Columbia. I was drawn to books on the subject and films about hollow people who are lost in cities attempting to find themselves. Somewhere in the midst of existing nowhere and belonging to nothing, the characters in these stories connected with God.
I could relate to their stories. I wrote profusely about disillusionment in poetry; fabricating my own personal meaning in poetic verses. The experience of meaninglessness, Existentialism, was a way to discover my connection to God. In the midst of disillusionment, I began to see patterns and hidden truths. Yet, as a young person, still learning about myself, I was unaware of how to integrate these insights with my regular, tedious day-to-day experiences. Instead I was flung into the world of the insane and irrational, where I observed that spiritual insight and schizophrenic visions were one and the same thing. I met many interesting characters on this journey, like a good friend who would make birds appear out of nothing in the sky with his mind. He once demonstrated his skill to me, by pointing out of a hospital window — “That bird right there? I made that right now. I’m really good at seagulls.” And others who were on the brink of brilliance and insanity.
Uma is one of them, one of us. She is deeply psychic and connective. She reaches into the recesses of her mind as she mediates through her day-to-day life. When the uncanny opens up to her, however, Uma is ill-prepared to take on the burden of unreason. She cannot resolve the ennui of the everyday with the magnitude of the uncanny. She experiences a form of existential dread, a condition whereby she cannot intellectually comprehend the experiences she has, and therefore struggles to assemble meaning. A Good Dream is her story.
FAQS of Writer, Director, Producer, Mahum Jamal
1. Why is this film important now?
Millennials live in an age of an influx of information, ideas, and connectivity. The “existential crisis” has more significance in our world today than ever before. Young adults discovering themselves have more reference points and exposure, making the process of adulthood ever more complex. A Good Dream is about a girl struggling to find herself in the new millennium. She is smart, dreamy, and naive - touching on the little girl in all of us who is still exploring the world, yet finding ourselves close to danger in the process. This is a film for dreamers, explorers, and wanderers of the mind who have found themselves on the brink of losing touch with reality.
2. What did you learn about writing, directing, or producing films?
Making a film with no connections or prior industry experience takes a massive amount of drive and inspiration. I think these have to be qualities in your personality already. I wasn’t hungry to make this particular movie, I was starving. I had people with experience tell me they would back me on a more commercial script, but not this project in particular. The determination to do this story exceeded in importance for me other opportunities that could have benefited me greatly in my career. And to be honest, today I may not have made the same decisions I did. But I am really glad that I made this film and that I made those decisions at that time. I think it made me the person I am today. Those choices allowed me to make this film, this story, that, I think, defines me in a certain way. Now that it’s out there, I feel more open to the process and the different roles as jobs. But in the beginning, it was the story and the vision, that was it. That was what was driving the car. I was simply steering the wheel.
3. If you had to do it over again, what would you do differently?
I would have spent more time writing, tightened up some of the production, and probably by-passed a lot of extra steps I took to finally get the film where it needed to be.
4. What was it like working with your actors?
My relationship to people is funny to begin with. I like to know someone deeply and well. I like to understand people. The casting process was both easy and challenging. It was clear to me when someone was not a fit for the role. The “no’s” were easy. But once it came down to the three leads that were ultimately playing the characters, I had to take my understanding of them as actors to the next level. I had to not only understand them as people, but I also had to help them understand the people that were my characters. So the process was me helping them take on these personality skins that I had prepared and was so familiar with from my script. On their end, they were trying to see what I was seeing. So it was an interesting experience. These were the only people with whom I could do this really, but it was the first time I was bringing someone into my world view and showing the way I see people. With Melany, we were practically psychically synced up throughout production. She and I had a non-verbal communication going on. She would essentially absorb my thoughts, my gestures along with my explanations and the many moods of Uma. Before each scene, she and I would chat about where Uma was “at” - what she was feeling, what the tone was. This film is a very moody film, so much of the acting was very musical really - It was finding the level of the scene (deep, light, lonely) and exacerbating that out of the character into the dialogue, which was minimal to begin with. Working with my actors alone was by far my favorite part of the experience. They put in a lot of work for the kind of film it was, and it brought the film to another level.
5. How did you get NYC nightlife personality, Kayvon Zand, to make a cameo in your film?
Kayvon actually auditioned for another role in the film. As a matter of fact I think he had auditioned for a few of the smaller roles, and when I was going through the reels, I found out he was a nightlife personality, which actually worked out great for the kind of vibe I was going for to begin with. He also worked on another project with one of the producers, so it kind of worked out without thinking.
6. What part does music play in the film?
The music-scape defines the world of the film entirely. It sets the stage for the emotional journey. Many people told me to go with a film composer. It was my first time in the process, and they said a seasoned film composer would be able to deliver the vision in my mind. But I knew right off the bat that the music had to come from an artist working specifically in electronic music already. It had to come from someone who knew that world of music and the power it has over people. Cyril was a perfect fit for the job. He did fantastic work on the score, and I could not be more pleased.
7. Who are your influences?
Growing up, I felt akin to a lot of philosophers, writers, artists, and still do. Nietzsche, Freud, Van Gogh, Kerouac, Gertrude Stein. These are just people who I feel speak exactly to me. I would add filmmakers, too: Wong Kar-Wai, Lars Von Trier, David Lynch, Woody Allen. I’ve noticed there aren’t enough women on my list, nor enough musicians. I blame the former on history. But by far, my biggest influence is my dad.
8. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to college?
I was born in Saudi Arabia. I lived in Bahrain from the ages 2-7, then moved to the Bay Area, California, where I stayed until college. I went to Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City.
9. Where are independent films going?
With cameras now ubiquitous, every individual has the power to make their own content. Big budgets, studios, and connections are no longer prerequisites for creating art - making a feature film on a smartphone is possible. Films like Tangerine pushed the border of what is acceptable by using an iPhone to shoot the entire film. In addition, there is an active conversation in Hollywood about allowing new, fresh voices into a formerly exclusive community. A Good Dream similarly pushes that boundary. Directed by a female, Pakistani-American, with leads that are Lebanese-French, British, and Swiss-Mexican, this independent film pushes the cultural-ethnic boundary of typical Hollywood.
10. What’s it like to be one of a few women writers/directors/producers of thrillers?
I think there aren’t enough female directors in general. Women are very easily type-cast in any professional role, so I would say not enough women have had their voice out their in film, period. Millennial women are pushing this boundary.
Produced by NIKOLAI METIN, ALENA SVYATOVA, MAHUM JAMAL
Written and Directed by MAHUM JAMAL
Director of Photography OREN SOFFER
Special Effects by JESSE NEWMAN
Original Score by CYRIL HAHN
Casting by ADRIENNE STERN CSA
Associate Producer BEN SELIGMAN & JESSICA KINGDON
Production Designer LAUREN NESTER & KNOX WHITE
Costume Designer AMINAH HADDAD
Editor NIKOLAI METIN & MAHUM JAMAL
Animation SARA GUNNARSDOTTIR
Sound Design by JARED PAUL
Colorist JOHN TISSAVARY
Uma MELANY BENNETT
Nico KARIM SALEH
Beatrice VICTORIA ATKIN
Roderick KAYVON ZAND
Bunny SEAN MAVERICK
Pinkie CAROLINE STUART & SARAH CASEY
Man in bunny suit JAMES FATTU
Man in elevator with pizza NICHOLAS GAROFOLO
Professor - Seminar DAVID OLSEN
Lara JULIE CHEN
Farrah ANGELIQUE CHAPMAN
Harrison JAMIE FLANAGAN
Ben JULIAN SELTZER
Beatrice’s roommate RAIZA ALI
News reporters - Pam & Ben YUKO TORIHARA & BEN BROWN
Antique Dealer KAREN LESLEY LLOYD
Emo - kid JON STEIGER
Women poet SUZANNA DUCHARME
Stylized child GRAYSON CAMPBELL
Ice cream guy ANTHONY WILLIAMS
News reporters - Clare & Nate INGEBORG RIDEMAIER & HASNAIN ALI
Creepy middle aged woman MICHELLE CUMMINGS
Expecting male BOBBY KNUDSEN
Expecting female SARA SCUR
Tattoo Artist JOSH EGNEW
Wizard CHRISTIANO SANCHEZ
Zack KYLE AXMAN
Unicorn COREY PACKER
Stranger outside club EDDIE CUPUANO
Cab driver KEN RICH
Homeless woman SOPHIA PAULMIER
Marie MEGAN LEE FARRELL
Professor - lecture hall THOEGER HANSEN
Homeless man on subway platform LUKAS SUTOWSKI
Ralph JOSH COHEN
Unit production manager COREY PACKER
First assistant director MELISSA WATSON
Second assistant director DAYNA SCHUTZ
Associate production coordinator STEPHEN SANTAYANA
Assistant production coordinator NICK CANDIDO
Locations RACHEL ROBERTSON
DIT MICHAEL MACALINCAG
Script Supervisor TETIANA ZHELIEZNIKOVA
Script supervisor substitute CHRISTOPHER NEGRON
1st AC MARK FERGUSON
1st AC Substitute MICHELLE DOCAMPO
2nd AC KELSEY JOHNSON
Gaffer RACHEL ADKINS
G&E swing TAMIR KAYWOOD 7 DEXTER DUGAR, JR.
Key grip JONATHAN ALVARADO
Best boy grip KARLI KOPP & IAN HERMAN
Swing grip KARLI KOPP & IAN HERMAN
Swing G&E TOLAN AMAN
Swing DONGCHAN KIM
Steadicam operator PATRICK MORGAN
Director of Photography - 2nd Unit AHARON ROTHSCHILD
1st AC - 2nd Unit PAIGE WOLLENSAK, EMMA HING, GABRIEL HARDEN
2nd AC - 2nd Unit ADRIAN ANAYA
Gaffer - 2nd Unit BLAKE HORAN
Key Grip - 2nd Unit GARRETT DOERMANN
Sound Mixer JARED PAUL
Sound Mixer Day Player - JUAN PABLO TRAMUJAS
Art Director - JOHN CARNEY
Assistant Art Director - KATE PRICE & HANISH FRANK RUBANZA
Art Laborer MICHAEL RIZZO, KATE SMITH, NATALIE MATTOX, FRITZ MEAD, OLIVIA FERRARA BATES, LORA GETTELFINGER
Carpenter JESSE MALINGS
Costumer Assistant CARMELA JENNIFER LANE
Wardrobe Supervisor EUNJIN LEE
Set Costumer GADDIEL LOPEZ
Key Hair & Make Up JODI KING & DAMARIS SANTANA
Assistant HMU LAUREN ADAMS & JULISSA TORES
Wardrobe Supervisor JENNIFER HARRINGTON
Post Production Supervision by MAVEN PICTURES & MICHAEL MACALINCAG
Assistant Editor GREG STANKEVICH
Post Production Accounting CANDICE KUWAHARA
Legal ANDREW RAIDER WOOD, ESQ.
Production Assistant GREG WEITKNECHT, ADAM DUPLECHAIN, JAMES FATTU, KARIN BEN ZEEV, PAMELA EMIL, LOGAN KANE, ALVARO HUEZO, SEYRAM KOFI, ALVIN ADADEVOH, CODY FITZGERALD
Extras MICHELLE YOUNG, JAMES BRICKHOUSE, NADINE BRYANT, VANESSA JOSEPH, TANISHA BEATON, DONALD TUCKER, GIANCARLO CACCAMO, DINA KUZNIETSOVA, MARIYA CHULICHKOVA, MOR MBODJ, ALEXANDR RISHKEVICH, SEAN MAVERICK, JAMAR BRATHWAITE
Club Music by DANDI & UGO
“RAW INTENTIONS” MANUAL MARTINO/YAM AGA LTD
“Loud Voice (Gery Otis Remix)” FRANKYEFFE/YAM AG LTD
“My Own Sensation” FRANKYEFFE/YAM AG LTD
“Into Rippled Stream” FRANKYEFFE/YAM AG LTD
“Crazy Man” FRANKYEFFE/YAM AG LTD
Crafty SHAVON COOKE & NATALLIA YAVID
Catering ULA ROBERTSON
Photographer KATRIN ALBERT & SIMONE HAMILTON