A game involving chocolate tasting and French-kissing with his friends leads Michael to
come face to face with a dilemma he’s been living with for years: his sexual identity.
Realizing he may not fall within societies’ clean-cut lines he raises the question of sexual
identity as a whole, and whether labels are really necessary?
After a long time abroad, a young man returns home and reunites with friends. A sensual
game amongst them forces him to confront deep conflicts within himself that lead to a
Michael just came back to his hometown after spending two years abroad. His friend
Edward has organized a welcome party in his honor. While only knowing Edward,
Michael quickly becomes friendly with the rest of the gang as they get involved in a
provocative game of chocolate tasting and French-kissing.
The openness of the group makes Michael come face to face with a dilemma he’s had
for quite some time; of not only questioning his own sexuality, but the notion of sexual
identity as a whole, and are labels really necessary?
After a storm that leaves them soaked in the middle of the night, Michael finds the
answer to all his questions, the Morning After.
Director: Patricia Chica
Producers: Patricia Chica and Byron A. Martin
Writer: Kristian Hodko
Cinematographer: Martin Bouchard
Sound Recordist: Bruno Carrières
Art Director: Alexandre Piedon
Editor: Patricia Chica
Composer: Vivien Villani
Michael: Thomas Vallières
Edward: Kristian Hodko
Teegan: Zoé deGrand Maison
Dana: Jordana Lajoie
Alex: Joey Scarpellino
NOTE: In order to test the actors and the dialogue, we filmed with a Canon 7D a few snippets of
the Morning After work-in-progress screenplay. We then created this VIDEO-PITCH REEL in
order to support our crowd funding campaign and to serve as a proof of concept for potential
financial donors. Please watch this demo to get a sense of the look and feel of Morning After,
LINK TO THE VIDEO-PITCH:
LINK TO THE SNEAK PREVIEW:
WHY IS THIS FILM IMPORTANT?
Morning After is not only a film about sexual fluidity and accepting yourself the way you
are. It’s also an inspiring tale about human connection, oneness and finding the flow that
unites the sensual experience with the truth within us.
Morning After is for the people in our world that exist somewhere in-between
the LGBTQ lines. Who live in the grey zone of sexuality. Our hope for this film is to
explore the “no-label” identity and translate the message that it’s okay to have impulses
and to change your mind, and then to change it again. Morning After encourages us to
stay open to new experiences and to let those experiences transform us. It’s a film that
will open the dialogue.
My intention with Morning After is to tell a story that speaks to the many millions of youth
in our world that deal with the pressures of sexual identity. This is a film that gives
people permission not to define themselves with specific labels, that it is okay to have no
I have set Morning After in Montreal: the city where I grew up and that I love, a city of
passion, openness of spirit, and sexual expression. In my experience, young urban
Montrealers are sensual and adventurous people. When one walks the streets of
Montreal in the summer, there is sexual electricity everywhere. This energy is a vital
component to Morning After. I’ve carefully chosen a cast that captures this energy,
ambiguity and diversity. Combined with the heat and humidity of a summer night, these
five characters are seduced, and intoxicated by this energy, as it invites them to explore
their desires and curiosities with one another.
Sexually fluid people see sexuality as a living, multi-colored, and multi-layered
composition of colors and tones that changes throughout their lives, in other words, they
see sexuality as constantly flowing, and evolving. It’s okay to have impulses, and to
change your mind, and then to change it again. It’s okay to be attracted to whomever
you want. It’s a journey. Enjoy it. And don’t fret having to explain yourself too much.
What matters in the end is that you’re comfortable in your own skin, not how well you fit
Morning After encourages us to stay open to new experiences, and to let these
experiences transform us. The reason behind the title of the film is that moment Michael
has by himself on the Belvédère, on top of the Mont-Royal: the last scene of the film,
which occurs on the ‘morning after’ his sexual revelation with his friends. The film
captures a moment in time that we can all relate to: those rare, magical moments in our
lives when we are changed forever by an experience; where the course of our lives has
shifted, the way we see ourselves and the world would never be the same.
Morning After is a poignant and moving coming of age tale that perfectly captures the
challenges and nuances of a young man’s “sexual transcendence” as he finally decides
to explore and accept his sexual desires, and release what he has been holding back.
The decisions he makes, amid the high stakes for his impulses, make Morning After a
gripping, touching, and contemporary film for a new open minded generation.
Today with everyone more curious about sexual diversity, a modern youth culture is
emerging that is hungry for new cinematic themes. Morning After gives voice to an
under-served audience craving characters and stories that reflect their own unique
experience. With its roots firmly planted in a universal narrative with an edgy and artistic
approach, Morning After depicts an emotional journey that will outlive its time and
continue to be relevant as the LGBTQ+ community and its identity issues touches more
and more the general audience.
The cinematography and musical soundtrack of Morning After serve as vital storytelling
tools, interweaving an aesthetic that rhythmically conveys the shifting thematic and
emotional dynamic of Michael’s journey into discovering his sexuality and the
relationships he forms with others as well as within himself. I will push for a kinetic style
in the look, as well as in the edit, implementing an intimate feel that conveys Michael’s
intense internal transformation. The story is mainly told from his point of view.
THE COLOR PALETTE
(summer warm tones)
I developed a color palette per character per scene
and for the overall look of the film.
I will use camera movement as well as a good variety of prime cinema lenses in order to
give the material a stark edge, and a bold, intimate, memorable atmosphere. Moreover,
using a dynamic shoot, rich depth-of-field, chiaroscuro lighting, saturated color palette,
precisely paced rhythms in sync with the pulsating musical score (diegetic and nondiegetic)
on the sound track, the short will be authentic, gritty, global, current.
The eclectic and fervent musical score created by local award-winning composer Vivien
Villani, will underscore the rhythm, like the pounding youthful heartbeat of the film,
giving an emotional pace to Morning After that pounds across the spectrum from chill
step to electro beats, creating a sonic tapestry that grabs us by the neck and draws us
into the scorching, sweat-drenched, and raw Montréal summer nights.
This is obviously a character-driven story and a total performance piece. Therefore, it is
very important for me to work with the perfect cast for these roles; actors who would
have a wide dynamic range in their performance and who display emotional depth
because of all the subtleties that these roles demand.
In this film, there are a lot of opportunities for silences, POV close-ups on eyes, hands,
lips, details of the action and subtle body language that show the progression of the
mental state of the main character, and his increasing sensual impulses.
The character of Michael must carry a lot of nuances in order to emphasize the
psychological and emotional tension that grows in relation to the other characters and
Brilliant Québécois young actor Thomas Vallières was chosen for the lead role of
Michael because he can carry the ambiguous balance between straight and gay, and
make his character believable within the context of this duality. Thomas is also an
impressive character actor who will bring meaning to this somewhat complex protagonist.
Other talented Québécois actors Jordana Lajoie (Patrice Lemieux 24/7), Joey
Scarpellino (Les Parents), and Montreal homegrown Kristian Hodko (Reign) and Zoé
de Grand’Maison (Orphan Black) complete the talented cast.
The relationship between Michael and the four other characters: Edward, Dana, Teegan
and Alex is at the center of this story. In addition to getting captivating performances, I
love to use the dynamics of this visual medium (color, composition, textures, saturation,
rhythm) to its maximum potential to bring the dialogue to life. It’s exciting for me as a
filmmaker to create the moments where the story transcends the imagination and
becomes a vivid reflection of the crossroads between reality and emotions.
One of my primary goals is to get the highest performances from my actors. Morning
After is a dynamic character piece with a humanistic story at its core, giving actors plenty
of material to craft deep, multi-layered performances with.
In my rehearsal process, I intend to utilize the Unlimited Actor method developed by my
mentor Nancy Mayans from New York. Being a certified acting coach myself, I intend to
spend time developing the characters further with my actors during the pre-production
The method that I use is based on energy work (as shown in the documentaries Let it
Out! and The Gold Inside which profiled my extensive commitment to shape
performances with the actors on my short films Ceramic Tango and Serpent’s Lullaby).
In my creative process, I use a method involving “Chi Energy”, an inspiring new
paradigm in actor training, shifts the focus of the art of acting from “thoughts” and
“actions” into the realm of character “energy,” the fountain-spring from which thoughts
and actions flow.
I empower my actors with tools that expand their understanding of how energy
galvanizes their character work, using this effective technique that I have been
perfecting for the last few years. They are quickly able to craft nuanced performances
through the use of sound, color, laughter, and movement. These exercises are designed
to help actors access their emotional depth, increase the scope of their imagination,
sharpen their focus, create a radiant presence, and move into their “creative zone” with
Based on my years of experience as a director of actors and non-actors, I use this
process in my films because it infuses performances with an authenticity that is
connected to their inner life force and the chakras system. Production value elevates
when I use these tools, especially in this type of film where time and budget is limited for
doing multiple takes.
I plan on extensive rehearsal time, preparing with my actors. The rehearsal time is a
sacred haven to explore different directions with them. For example, I will let the actor do
the first take as they interpret the scene and the character. On the second take, I would
ask them to try my interpretation, adjusting a few things and giving notes. On the third
take, a free-for-all, sometimes opposite of what’s on the page. I might ask them to switch
roles, improvise, play without dialogue, communicate through body language, colors and
energy, etc. in order to discover the actor’s range as well as explore other avenues for
the character that I may not have thought about. For example, if it’s a dramatic scene, I
would ask the actors and the reader to play it like comedy, and vice versa. It’s such a
liberating and creative process. Together with my actors, we have discovered many
variations and subtle character nuances through this process.
Morning After presents the ideal script for my next film where the characters and viewers
are given a space to think, act, react and reflect on a very contemporary international
narrative. Also, the story setting permits exploration of a visual language and aesthetic
that will emphasize the dramatic qualities of these diverse characters.
– Patricia Chica, director
MICHAEL (Lead – 20s)
Played by Thomas Vallières
Michael is a shy and introverted twenty-something who recently came back to Montreal
after two years abroad. He used to be best buds with Edward, but two years abroad
seems to have changed things, and stirred things up between them. Michael is faced
with a dilemma about his sexual identity, as he feels he may not fall between society’s
ALEX (Supporting – 20s)
Played by Joey Scarpellino
Alex is the epitome of sexual fluidity, and balance. He falls perfectly in the middle of all
that is sexual, open, and free. He loves to love, doesn’t matter the gender, what he’s
drawn to is a person’s energy. Alex has a very special relationship with Edward, a
romantic, yet platonic friendship that becomes a little complicated once Michael is in the
DANA (Supporting – 20s)
Played by Jordana Lajoie
Dana is the Queen Bee, the host and provocateur of the evening. She is incredibly
sweet and loving, especially toward Michael, but won’t let him off the hook once she
senses he may not be so comfortable with his sexuality. Dana is an observer, and
notices everything— although she can be intimidating on the outside, she’s as soft as
silk on the inside.
EDWARD (Supporting – 20s)
Played by Kristian Hodko
Edward is a free-spirited young man in his twenties, an old friend of Michael’s, but also
has a strong soul-connection with Alex. Edward’s surrounded by his favorite people and
couldn’t be happier, until old feelings toward Michael start to surface.
TEEGAN (Supporting – 20s)
Played by Zoé de Grand Maison
Teegan is a loving and quirky red-head who adores everybody, and everybody adores
her, especially Michael. Teegan is best friends with Dana, and looks up to her as a Beta
would to an Alpha, but Teegan’s got some tricks up her sleeve, and she quickly entices
Michael to sleep with her. Unbeknownst to her, she inadvertently caused Michael to put
everything he knows and feels into question.
BIOGRAPHY OF THE DIRECTOR
Patricia Chica is a multiple award-winning writer, director, producer, and master
networker with over 60 hours of content under her belt. She specializes in high-quality
auteur driven films that depict strong characters and thought-provoking stories with
Patricia’s work has been Official Selection at over 300 international film festivals and she
has spoken or screened in theatres, art centers, universities, and conferences all around
the world. Countries like Canada, the USA and Mexico as well as El Salvador have
presented retrospectives of her films in the past few years.
Chica has also directed and/or produced world-class primetime broadcast content for
networks such as National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Showcase, Oxygen, Animal
Planet, Bravo Canada, Canal D, ARTV, CBC, CBS, Travel Channel, UniMás, and El Rey
Network just to name a few.
She is perfectly fluent in English, French, and Spanish and has built a loyal social media
fan base and connections in those three markets.
Patricia Chica grew up in her beloved Montreal, Québec, did her internship in Paris at
age 22 and has had professional residencies in New York, Orlando, Toronto and London,
UK. She is currently developing her first feature film entitled Montréal Girls, an edgy
coming of age drama.