An openmouthed Hayley stares at a tree and then puts her hands over eyes. She shakes her head and continues to look into the camera. Her image blurs as she considers walking then stops herself.
On a street in New York City, New York, she sits on a bench, facing a black railing. In a sequined silver and teal jumpsuit, she holds her ear to listen to the man playing a saxophone. Each person she passes has a bright yellow upside down smiley face emoji over their face. She runs her hand across the railing and views the crowd gathered at a fence.
She picks up a construction sign as two men work on the street. She skips on the sidewalk and dances in alley, using a garbage lid as prop. By the Brooklyn Bridge, people do push-ups and work out on treadmills. She throws her head back. People stare at her as she jumps on the sidewalk.
In the center of a park, people perform a flash mob. She waves her hands in front of a keyboard player. She walks through Times Square and laughs at the emojis displayed on the screens and billboards. She holds an upside down smiley emoji by her face.
Hayley, in her sequined jumpsuit, is considered a sweet and upbeat person. However, her recent move to New York City, has proven to be a moody experience. She wants to be who she was back home — a hopeful dreamer who believed the best in everybody. So far, though, she thinks she would’ve been better off being a server at some diner in her Midwestern town rather an artist trying to make it big in the city.
To get through the day, she dresses in some homemade outfits, designed for performance art pieces, and skips through New York City. Although people grin and say hello to her, she knows they are whispering to each other that she’s weird and mocking her behind her back.
The false sense of community among the artists cut into her self-esteem. She auditioned a performance art piece at a gallery and was reprimanded for her lack of professionalism. At an open mic night, they rolled her eyes at her poetry. Without a job, she traipses through the city, beaming as she plays the role of the peculiar wanderer. Inside, though, she stifles her tears and musters a smile. She knows is one of thousands in the city, clinging to broken dreams with nowhere else to go.
Director: Zac Farro Year: 2017
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