Written & Directed by Jaanelle Yee
Who here has felt that gut poke when checking your mail becomes a test to not completely lose it because, relentless past due bills? Hannah (Nadira Foster-Williams), a med school dropout who doesn't even see the fourth wall in her reality has failed that test. It is her complete transparency that makes her the perfect vessel for Sell Your Body, a dark horror comedy that sets the tone for so many urgent anxieties about the things we've learned to hate most about being an adult: debt and dating.
Hannah utilizes the one thing, easy to attempt swipe society, to creep slowly out of the other. Finding an adventurous couple on one of those apps isn't the difficult part. Michael (comedian Menuhin Hart) and Anne (Pauline Sherrow) are exaggerated flesh that do all of those coupley things I think even couples gag at. As narrowly conflicted as Hannah may be about her intentions, these two make her choices effortless. There's a design in our economic and social systems that create cause for bringing out the worst in our thoughts and actions. Further into the discomfort of navigating your representative when meeting strangers, lies that very tired feeling of being the third wheel. "Seriously, being single sucks sometimes," comments writer/director Jaanelle Yee.
A School of Visual Arts graduate in New York, Yee made Sell Your Body as a student project with the intent of utilizing humor to unveil our duskiest desires. While a statement on the concerns of the 20-29 group, some of the running themes easily blend into the generation of now 30-somethings, in particular Black women, as Hannah is a person I see consistently on screen and off. Foster-Williams hams out the perfect peformance as a woman who has completely fallen off the cliff of 'why bother?'. And it's a whole, ass mood. This 11 minute romp considers issues the Hannah's in the world face finding confidence in both the life and love game. As prickly as the 'I feel attacked!' statement we commonly use casually on Twitter is, this short is its unmerciful scenario.
Sell Your Body is a jolt of delight and awkwardness as the the exploited becomes the exploiter in a heinous cycle. It has a rage towards adulting that is deeply accessible and appreciated for making an aesthetic choices that helps us laugh through our pain.
As Sell Your Body is continuing to win awards screening at film festivals across the globe, Jaanelle is currently working on "a black and white silent film about falling in love with your nightmares" and is looking for 2D animators! Additionally, she has her creative claws deep in a feature script that "explores the fetishization of latinas through the story of a hopelessly romantic succubus".