In 2012, the U.S. military reported 608 deaths among servicemen and women. 259 died in combat. 349 took their own lives. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, America’s longest running war, have led to the highest reported rates of casualties by suicide in U.S. history, with the number of young men and women who die by their own hand due to the psychological trauma of warfare exceeding the number lost in the war itself.
Despite the efforts of the government, advocacy groups, and society, suicide among veterans of the Iraq and Afghan war continue to climb each year. Every year a new statistic, article, report, campaign, documentary, etc., aimed at stemming the loss of life within this tiny group in American society ends in the tragic realization that nothing is working. Though these approaches are admirable, worthwhile, and have helped saved countless lives, a large gap remains in the post-war healing process of not only the country’s veteran community, but the country itself.
Every society/nation/country throughout human history has had its stories - some small, some epic - to help it remember what it had truly sacrificed during hard times. Thus, Little Things, in this nearing post-war era, seeks to remind the nation of those we’ve lost, those we continue to lose, but most of all, how to heal, through the simple telling of a story of an unlikely friendship between a self-destructive war veteran and a dying 12-year old girl.
Little Things is a fictional narrative film which centers on the relationship between two unlikely companions, brought together at the mercy of forces beyond their control: Jamie, an adventurous self-destructive war veteran, and Natalie, an "orphan" confined to the children’s ward by a degenerative neurological disease. Natalie has been reading to Jamie since he arrived at the hospital and helps wake him from his coma. At first hating her for bringing him back to the nightmarish world of cruelty and monsters that live in his mind, Jamie and Natalie eventually find peace in one another’s company and friendship. Natalie’s optimistic view of life as a thing of beauty begins to heal Jamie, while at the same time, Jamie's nightmares and haunted world begin to bring out Natalie’s dark side. Their world turns upside down as Jamie must discover how to save Natalie, and himself, from death – and if not from physical death, from the death of her spirit that’s become a part of him.
Kristen Renton is a Los Angeles-based actress known for her recurring roles on the television series “Sons of Anarchy” and “Anger Management.” Her extensive acting background also includes portraying the southern belle Morgan Hollingsworth on NBC’s popular daytime drama series “Days of Our Lives”, as well as many memorable guest appearances on hit shows including “CSI: Miami”, “The OC”, and “CSI: NY.” Philanthropy is Kristen’s passion and focus when she is not acting. She is a devoted animal rights activist, an ambassador for Lupus LA, volunteers at Children’s Hospital LA, and is extremely vocal in supporting our military.
Maria Olsen, also based in Los Angeles, is a producer, actress, and casting director -- she will serve in the latter two capacities for Little Things. Maria is known for a variety of acting roles, notably for her appearances in “Percy Jackson & The Olympians”, “Paranormal Activity 3”, and “Starry Eyes.” She has worked on more than 65 feature films since 2005 and thus brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. She has had two short films appear at the Cannes 2009 Short Film Program and one at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. She is the owner of the production company MOnsterworks66.
Shaya McCord, is a Los Angeles-based actress who will be portraying the leading role of Natalie. As the daughter of a successful writer/producer, Shaya has always been destined for a career in acting. She has appeared in episodic shows such as “CSI: NY” and in short films such as “A Different Tree.”
Emily Peachey, is a Virginia native who recently rose to prominence after playing Monica in the film adaptation of John Green’s beloved “The Fault in Our Stars.” She previously acted alongside Taylor Lautner in “Abduction” and has been featured in several commercials and national print ads. She graduated from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh with a degree in Communications. Emily now resides in Los Angeles as she pursues a full-time career in film and television.
Masha Malinina, was born in New York to Russian parents. By age 5, she had already decided that she was going to be a film actress. Masha has appeared in several short films, including “Alice”, and was recently in a music video for “Cirice” by Ghost, which hit 1 million views in its first 2 months. Masha is also known for her leading role of Diana in the web series “Diana, Jerry and Friends.”
(Additional cast members TBA)
In recent years, films attempting to address the Iraq War have been unsuccessful, largely because they handle the subject too directly and attempt to give a social commentary on the politics surrounding the war. Little Things is unique in how it approaches the Iraq War in that, simply, it doesn’t. The war, wartime experience, or being a soldier is never directly spoken about, but instead hinted at through visual cues and cryptic dreams. The film is not about the Iraq War, and like its two main characters, the film has no mind nor care to provide opinions on the war. The film is about the platonic love and relationship between two helpless and fragile creatures, both at the mercy of forces beyond their control – for Natalie, her illness, and for Jamie, his own inner demons born from his war experiences.
The strength of Little Things is that it has something for everybody, but it does so naturally without any cue that it was engineered that way. Men will be attracted to the film by its use of a self-destructive ‘alpha male’-type who suffers from graphically violent and terrifying nightmares as its main character. Women, in turn, will be attracted to the film through the character of a young girl who saves a man from himself. Though some of the content in the film could be considered too graphic, violent, and possibly disturbing for a child audience, it is not overwhelmingly so, and the character of Natalie, a 12-year-old girl, makes the film accessible and relatable to a younger, teenaged, especially female, audience.
It is the Producers’ plan to make Little Things a wholly and uniquely Pittsburgh-based production. Goods and services needed for the film will first be sourced from local Pittsburgh organizations and businesses, and crew will be hired from the area as well. The Producers hope that completion of the film will contribute to the rising success and prominence of Pittsburgh as a major metropolitan center of art and industry in the United States.
Little Things is currently in development / pre-production and is slated to enter principal photography in the second quarter of 2016. The Producers are actively casting the film’s lead and supporting actors. New developments will be announced as they become available. If you wish to be informed of these updates, please enter your e-mail address below to be added to the mailing list. Your e-mail address will only be used for information related to the film and will not be distributed to third parties.
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