Wrapped is a feature-length film about overcoming insecurity. The film follows a wallflower of a girl, Abby, as she learns to stand up for herself by stealing back a birthday present from the drug dealer who robbed her. By the end of the story, Abby gains a positive self-esteem, and the drug dealer, Donny, leaves behind his poor life choices by learning to stop placing his self-worth in his friends’ opinions of him.
This project is written and (to be) directed by Calen Coates, a senior at Biola University. He has studied filmmaking for almost 10 years, but this will be his first feature film. Rachel Lin, a sophomore at Biola, is producing the project. The rest of the crew is to be comprised of Biola Students, and the film will be shot for approximately $10,000. Though this may sound like a lot of money to some, it’s actually a miniscule amount in comparison to most Hollywood films. Wrapped is built upon a DIY methodology, allowing it to be shot for far less than most films by utilizing resources the student-team has within easy reach.
Everyone struggles with insecurities, and this film seeks to prove that anyone can conquer their demons. For our protagonist, Abby, this means learning to love herself. For the film crew, this means doing something many have tried and failed. We believe the same can be true for you too.
The core theme of Wrapped is this: overcoming our insecurities is what allows us to live the most fulfilling life. Anyone can do this. That little voice in the back of your head saying “You can’t do this; you’re not good enough” is what keeps us mired in our problems, and it’s that horrible little voice which brings so many to settle for a lesser life. I’ve seen this in the lives of friends, and I’m personally all too familiar with that horrible voice. Some of my friends overcome it, but others haven’t. I can’t fix their problems, but I can tell a story which encourages them to keep trying.
I never thought I’d pick Wrapped as my directorial debut. Throughout college, as I’ve learned more about directing, my projects have veered toward more somber subjects -- dramas, thrillers, and the like. Wrapped is none of this. What separates this project from others is simple: this is a film I would personally pay to see. This is a story which straddles the line between Comedy and Drama. Abby’s journey to steal back her stolen birthday present is both comedic and tragic, just like real life. I enjoy stories which make me laugh and cry more than a one-note story, and Wrapped sets out to do this.
Various well-intentioned people have tried to dissuade me from attempting to direct a feature film in college, but I stand by my choice. A feature film is the ultimate demo-reel. A feature film is a marketable product. And a feature film doesn’t have to be expensive: with careful planning this project could be produced for as little as $10,000. Our school provides professional equipment and studio space, and our film program is filled with talented filmmakers looking to do more. I have almost 10 years of film experience, and I believe now is the perfect time for me to try something more.
– calen coates, writer/director