Montclair director Casey Friedman’s film in progress, “Flora Borealis,” is an animated short focused on the story of two gay men struggling with depression in a ruined environment, and a depressed glassblower mourning his wife.

The film, says a release, “calls for a reorientation of human interaction with nature, illustrating why humans should look to plants to heal them, rather than viewing nature as a resource to be exploited.”  

It weaves together 3D models and 3D scans from Harvard’s Ware Collection of Glass Flowers, and rotoscoped actors shot on a green screen. Nearly 10,000 drawings will eventually bring the film to life.

Friedman was selected as the Spring 2019 Valentine & Clark Emerging Artist Fellow at the Jacob Burns Film Center, where he is producing and directing his animated short.

He has created a Kickstarter campaign so he can pay the actors, cinematographer, and others working on the film. The campaign, at, will conclude on July 5.

From the website:

Flora Borealis tells two stories about our troubled relationship to the natural world.

The first is a story of renewal in a darkened future, a tale of queer love and a chance for redemption as two men, Pat and Theo, struggle with depression in a ruined environment.

Theo knows they need to make a radical break with the past and start over somewhere new, but Pat feels this effort is hopeless. To buoy Pat, Theo tells him a story.

The story Theo tells is one of the past, of loss and hubris, of art and science, of knowledge and morality, as a botanical glassblower mourns his dead wife. Haunted by her memory, he seeks solace in nature, which leads him on a fantastic journey.

The two tales weave together, as both Pat and the glassblower struggle to find hope in despair and appreciate the beauty of nature.