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Living Reality

NY Premiere

Director: Philip Thompson

United States, 2023, 16 min

Shooting Format:MiniDV, Digital, VHS

Festival Year:2024


Genres:Comedy, Documentary, Experimental

WINNER: Audience Award

Cast:Philip Thompson, Sam Wallington, Simon Rabatin, Ruby Harvey, Spencer Evett, Mitchel Csermak

Crew:Writer: Philip Thompson. Producers: Desiree Tolchin, Philip Thompson, Aidan Cronin. Director of Photography: Aidan Cronin. Production design: Olivia Acuña. Sound edit/mix: Jack Liden. Editor: Michael Friedman, Aidan Cronin, Philip Thompson. Composer: Adam Kromelow, Dan Rufolo, and Edward Crowley. Set construction: Joe Esposito, Matthew Leddin.


A tonal shift occurs inside the world of an American sitcom resulting in the disruption of the show's rhythm. As it evolves, a looming presence of banality casts a shadow on the show's bright lights and bubbly personalities. Moments of vulnerability and honesty begin to seep into a world filled with shallow conflicts and punchlines.

Living Reality is an emotional exploration of television and the effects it has on its audience.


About the director

Philip Thompson is a filmmaker from New England, based in Brooklyn, listed as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. His work investigates popular media’s influence on culture and the one-sided "looking" relationship between audiences and image subjects. His work has screened at Atlanta, Palm Springs, Lago, Chicago Underground and Athens, and was featured on Nobudge Films of the Year. He is the co-founder of the Ithaca Experimental Film Festival.

Website Filmography

Filmmaker's note

Television was my window into the adult world as a child. It gave me the chance to observe humanity without needing to socially participate, which is something no real-life relationships could provide. This growing obsession grew into an infatuation, creating a warped lens that I saw the world through, which left me deeply unfulfilled with the monotony of the real world. Recognizing that I am not alone in this sentiment, I wanted to convey this feeling of disillusionment for others who may feel the same way.

In my work, I like to subvert familiar tropes and cliches to explore darker themes that are rarely expressed in media. This film was made to give viewers the opportunity to question why they watch television, and to explore the deeper purpose that television serves in their lives. Do sitcoms help fill an inner void, or do they just make you feel more lonely? Is television meant to reflect and represent our reality, or is it just a means of entertainment?

Living Reality represents my personal journey of comparing the alluring depictions of mid-twenties life on television with the everyday, intimate experiences that make up my own reality.

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