ShortList 2015: ‘Myrna the Monster’ Proves Humans All Feel Like Aliens Sometimes

Writer-director Ian Samuels combines puppetry, animation and live action for his look at an ultimate outsider

Last Updated: August 21, 2015 @ 2:19 PM

Moving to the city can be tough, especially if you haven’t quite figured yourself out yet.

In “Myrna the Monster,” one of the finalists in TheWrap’s 2015 ShortList Film Festival, writer-director Ian Samuels stuffs the anxieties of finding new friends, love interests, hobbies and one’s identity into a funky, frazzled-looking puppet from outer space.

“The film is sort of my autobiography,” Samuels told TheWrap. “I moved to L.A. a few years ago and just felt like an outsider. I had to adjust to life in L.A. and also being in transition in life in my late 20s and messing a lot of things up and learning from my mistakes.”

The 14-minute short examines many meanings of being an “alien,” from the literal sense to being a foreigner to questioning gender identity or entering a new industry. The visuals also take on several forms, juxtaposing the puppet with humans and animation.

Ian Samuels“It was a complicated shoot because there were so many variables,” said Samuels. “So many locations and so many actors and having a puppet is really hard on set to shoot. It’s hard to get the puppet to look in the right direction. It’s not like working with an actor; there’s another layer of complication.”

The director said he’s happy with the final product, but still ponders its impact.

“You wonder sometimes if a tree falls if anyone will hear it, and you wonder if you share something if people are watching it and are interested,” he said. “I learned a lot from this and I’m excited to do something else that’s a little big bigger and better.”

He laughed. “Maybe there really is an out alien out there, millions of miles away, who is more stressed out than I am. Who knows?”

Watch the film above. Viewers can also screen the films at any time during the festival at Shortlistfilmfestival.com and vote from Aug. 4-18.