Hollywood NIFF

It’s Real to Me

It's Real to Me
Plagued by nightmares that become reality twenty-four hours after they are dreamed, a young woman must convince her friend to believe her visions to prevent a life-altering event.
Director Biography - Ruben Harjono
Driven by a passion for the cinematic process, Ruben Harjono wrote and directed his first short film "It's Real to Me" in 2023. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, his love of film photography influenced his visual methods in creating thought-provoking narratives. Harjono is eager to explore morality, ethics, and the complexities of the human psyche in his writing and storytelling journey.
Director Statement: This film tackles an important and emerging topic in our modern society. Mental health awareness and our desire to have our struggles heard/understood is a central theme in the story. As someone who has had their fair share of mental health struggles, I wrote and directed this film as a way to show the value of listening and offering support. We often have a tendency to try and provide a solution for someone who is struggling; but despite being well-intentioned, this can inadvertently be dismissive. In the film, I chose to portray the intricate nuances of navigating emotional distress through Moira's character; who has frequent nightmares that seemingly predicts her immediate reality. And when her most recent nightmare shows her friend's suicide, Moira's mission is to convince Allie that her dreams are linked with actual events. However, Allie's hesitancy to believe Moira leads to consequences. The dreams act as a metaphor for mental health; and Allie embodies the tendency of those around us to overlook the gravity of our suffering, whether it conforms to rationality or not. Perhaps the most important message of the film pertains to the validity of Moira's premonitions—ultimately, it's irrelevant. Moira simply required one person to listen to her, to believe her, to understand her pain. In a world full of pain and hatred, let's choose to listen and show compassion towards one another. Ratings