When four teenagers post their personal stories online using the hashtag, When Today Ends, they have no idea the extent of their impact or how their stories will intersect. With no filter and complete abandon, Jenna, Nick, Megan and James all share their deepest, darkest secrets only to fall eerily down the same path. Collapsing under the pressures of bullying, depression, and self-identity, their lives slowly unravel, revealing the tragic connection that binds them all together.
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
How many times do I have to go online and witness the increasing amount of news stories and social media posts about teenagers committing suicide?
Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,041 suicide attempts by young people grades 9-12. On top of that, online bullying has become such a vicious, and regular reality that it has created an international epidemic. The number of kids taking their own lives is increasing every day, and what’s even more shocking is that there doing it live, on social media.
What was it that pushed these kids to such an extreme end? What drove them to do it so publicly? It was those questions that hit me to my core. I had no choice but to take action and write. That’s how When Today Ends was born.
My driving force in writing and directing, whether in film or theatre, is to take on topics that need to be talked about, that need a voice, and I feel like When Today Ends is one of the stories. I knew this film couldn’t be conventional and I wanted it to feel as real as possible. I wanted the audience to question whether these were actually real kids, documenting a day in their lives and posting it to social media. In order to maintain the integrity of that storytelling device, we used different cameras for each storyline, shot them separately, over the course of a year, and the majority of the time, the actors were also the camera operators. My goal was to capture these super intense performances in very long shots with no cuts. I had to keep the audience engaged and invested in the lives of these 4 kids relying purely on the performances.
What drives me as an artist is to capture raw and honest emotion - to make an audience feel something deeply. Part of that craft is picking the right fearless actors who aren’t afraid to go to the depths of their soul, and to be completely vulnerable. I rehearsed each actor separately for months, diving into the psyche of these characters, also releasing any blocks that would stop the actors from telling these stories. The actors had to have the characters so ingrained in them so that they would be able to operate the camera without losing focus.
It is my hope that when people see When Today Ends they gain a new perspective but more importantly put a face behind the statistics. I believe that social media was created to connect us all, but it has disconnected us, and I hope that this film will bring us back together.
HOWARD BARISH - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Howard Barish is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer, director and distributor based in Los Angeles.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Barish gained extensive production experience in the thriving Canadian film and television industry as a First Assistant Director on feature films, television mini-series, made-for-television movies, pilots, and nearly 100 episodes of various network television series. After relocating to Los Angeles in the early 90s, he launched Kandoo Films in 1992, a production company that specializes in creating independent feature films, documentaries, and promotional and digital content for television and film.
As founder and president of Kandoo Films, Barish produces thousands of hours of short-form content, network image and branding campaigns, promos, sizzle reels, and long-form programming for clients such as CBS, The CW, FOX, HGTV, Lifetime, E! Entertainment, and Warner Bros., to name a few.
Barish expanded his portfolio to feature films in 2010 when then publicist Ava DuVernay approached him with a low-budget feature film. This was the start of a successful partnership that resulted in several projects and multiple award wins over the past seven years. They began working on I WILL FOLLOW and MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, which went on to win Best Director at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, a Gotham Award, and the 2013 Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. Barish also served as a producer on the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary VENUS VS. that showcased tennis great Venus Williams, HELLO BEAUTIFUL: INTERLUDES WITH JOHN LEGEND, and FOX’s historic web series, 24Inside.
Barish and DuVernay collaborated on the critically acclaimed 2016 Netflix documentary 13TH that centered on race in the United States criminal justice system. Produced by Barish and DuVernay, 13TH was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2017. The film has garnered multiple awards including four Emmys, a Peabody Award, BAFTA Award, NAACP Image Award, African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Award, and multiple wins at the first annual Critics' Choice Documentary Awards.
With a focus on developing emerging filmmakers, in 2017, Barish announced his first slate of low-budget features for the Emerging Artist Program, which included BROKEN STAR (Analeigh Tipton, Tyler Labine), SKIN IN THE GAME (Erica Ash), HOSPITALITY (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and BLINDFIRE (Brian Gerahty, Sharon Leal, Bethany Joy Lenz). The following year he expanded Kandoo Films’ services by launching the company’s distribution arm - Kandoo Releasing. Kandoo Releasing ensures that Kandoo’s emerging artist slate, as well as other quality independent films helmed by rising filmmakers, will reach audiences worldwide.
MICHAEL LEONI - DIRECTOR
Michael Leoni has always committed himself to creating and directing original material that can reach beyond the scope of traditional entertainment, challenge an audience’s beliefs, and motivate a movement for positive change. Recent film credits include the festival award-winning feature documentary, American Street Kid, available on all digital platforms.
Presently he is in post-production on his new feature film Famous, and in development, on his TV Series, “St. Marks Academy." Other credits include the short films Radford Rd., Deliver Us, Disappear Here, Spare Some Change (featuring the band, Switchfoot) and Someplace In Between - an Official Selection in the LA Shorts Film Festival. Leoni is the founder of Spare Some Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless youth. His book Dare To Be Bad, is currently available at stores around the country including Samuel French and on Amazon.com.
MAX FELDMAN - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Max Feldman is a Los Angeles based Director of Photography and VP of Technical Operations for An 11:11 Experience. Previously Max founded and ran a world champion robotics team in southern California. He also taught high school robotics with students going on to schools like MIT and Stanford, and working for companies such as SpaceX and Facebook. Recent credits include the feature film When Today Ends, “Rich and Acquitted” (Reelz TV) and “Cover Story” (Game Show Network).
MICHELLE KAUFER - PRODUCER
Michelle Kaufer has been working with An 11:11 Experience since its inception and is dedicated to the mission of producing media to create positive social change. Her first production with the team was The Playground, a rock music-infused piece inspired by the lives of homeless kids. Michelle's most recent television and film credits include producing "Wrench Wars" for MavTV, "Turn and Burn" for the Discovery Channel, "Delta Divers" and "Virgin Galactic" for National Geographic, and producing Deliver Us and Radford Rd. for An 11:11 Experience. Most recent film credits include producing the award-winning feature documentary American Street Kid, and the feature film When Today Ends. Michelle is also a co-founder of Spare Some Change, an on-going campaign and social movement to raise awareness for homeless youth (). She is a co-owner of The 11:11 in West Hollywood.
ERICA KATZIN - PRODUCER
Erica Katzin spent her formative years studying theatre and film at Whittier College.
She helped form 90 Minute Productions, where she wrote, performed and produced four short films including Signed, Souled & Delivered. Erica was first introduced to An 11:11 Experience on The Playground, a Rock-Drama inspired by the lives of teenage runaways and homeless kids. Since then, she’s stepped into the role of Creative Producer with a focus on script and story development. Some of Erica’s credits include: producing Someplace In Between, an official selection of the LA Shorts Film Festival; producing and performing in Elevator, which ran for ten months in Los Angeles and received the esteemed Los Angeles Times’ Best Bet and Critics’ Pick, as well as, Best Acting in an Ensemble Cast from StageSceneLA; the Ovation recommended show, Famous, which ran for a year in Los Angeles, producing the short film, Deliver Us, the Los Angeles run of Listen... Can You Hear Me Now and most recently, the feature documentary, American Street Kid, an Official Selection and Winner of the People’s Choice Award at The Beloit International Film Festival, the Social Impact Doc Award at The Hollywood Film Festival and the Award of Excellence from Impact Doc Awards.
MARK A. BURLEY - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Mark A. Burley is a director and producer known for the TV series GLOW, Orange Is The New Black , Weeds, Murder, She Wrote and Simon & Simon. He has also produced a number of TV movies including Mrs. Santa Claus and Hiroshima: Out of the Ashes . Mark has received four Emmy nominations and a Producers Guild of America award. He directed the series finale of Orange Is The New Black and directed and produced on the final season of GLOW.
MARTINE MELLOUL - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Martine Melloul is the founder of Kali Pictures, a production company specializing in independent features, documentaries and TV series. Before devoting herself to the entertainment business, Martine served as Executive Vice President of BCBG MAX AZRIA, a global fashion house. Since she started her company, Martine has produced 2 features; Breaking and Exiting and Beyond the Sky, and co-produced documentaries for OCS and Arte. She currently has numerous projects in various stages of development.