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Art for Art’s Sake: The Making of “Similitude”


There is something that happens when you’ve been in Hollywood for a long time. At least it happened to me.  I was caught in the hustle and the grind of the “business” and had forgotten about the reason I got into this all to begin with…. the ART.  My heart was hurting and I wanted to do something that was purely art for art’s sake.

I spent a lot of time in the California desert from 2013 to 2015 to just get out of the city and off the grid. While I was in various areas, I found a lot of inspiration from the land and the openness I felt, which ended up fueling me.

in Joshua Tree National Park

(Me in Joshua Tree National Park)

Over that time I wrote a poem called “The Stranger” and thought that it could translate into something very cinematic. I reached out to like-minded talented friends who I thought would be excited to come along on an artsy journey with me. Luckily they all said yes.

simi team pic

(Some of our team….Madeline Merritt my co-star, Leah Cevoli – Associate Producer, and Tim Guzman – Director/DP/Camera Op/Editor)

When I first approached Tim Guzman from SpinQ Studios to collaborate on this project, I knew we would create something special to both of us. Sharing a love of Sigur Ros and art films, we were influenced by the artistry of Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” and the Sigur Ros video starring Shia LaBeouf titled “Fjogur piano” directed by Alma Ha’rel, and “Similitude” was born.

Simi 1

(still from “Similitude”)

“Similitude” is an experimental short film, a love story between two women and the past lives they’ve shared together.  Adapted for the screen by myself and writer Barry Morgan, it’s an exploration of humanity’s longing for connection and ventures into the world of dreams vs reality with a story dancing in the space between past, present, and future.

(still from "Similitude")

(Madeline Merritt in a still from “Similitude”)

For the 7 minutes of this short film we accumulated over 30 hours of driving to many different haunting locations in California’s arid deserts. Shot for a production budget of only $400, the filming was done on random shoot days over the course of a year with a crew of 2 maximum at any given time. Some days it was just myself, Tim, and my co-star Madeline Merritt.

simi 3

(Madeline Merritt and Tim Guzman in Bombay Beach, CA)

(Shooting with Tim Guzman at El Mirage Dry Lake Beds, CA)

(Shooting with Tim Guzman at El Mirage Dry Lake Beds, CA)

After our world premiere in 2015 at the Hollyshorts Film Festival, I’m very excited to now be sharing this piece with the world online.  Thank you for coming on this journey with us. Enjoy!


xoxo Helenna

SpinQ Studios presents: similitude from SpinQ Studios on Vimeo.

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Helenna Santos

About Helenna Santos

Helenna Santos is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ms. In The Biz. She is also an actor and producer with Mighty Pharaoh Films and can often be found on panels at conventions such as San Diego Comic-Con, and has been interviewed by major press outlets including CNN. Her work as a contributing writer has been featured in MovieMaker Magazine, Backstage Magazine, IndieWire and BUST Magazine. She has produced numerous award winning short films, digital series, and feature films. As an actor, she can be seen in CW's "The Flash," as well as ABC's "A Million Little Things" and "The Good Doctor", and the highly anticipated Netflix limited series "The Baby-Sitters Club". Her latest feature film as producer and actress "The Shasta Triangle" is now available via VOD.