Salt in Soil

: Narrative Short
GENRE: Student Film
STATUS: Pre-Production


A high-schooler reunites with her grandfather she never knew was alive, and the resurfacing of forgotten memories forces her to confront a dark family secret.


A Japanese teenager goes on a quest to reunite with her estranged grandfather, whom she was told had passed away long ago. During their reunion, long-forgotten childhood memories bubble to the surface and force her to confront a dark and disturbing family secret.


The title, “Salt in Soil,” derives from a farming secret I learned from my grandfather that if you water tomatoes with salt water, they will come out as sweet as candy due to the tomatoes working hard to stay hydrated despite the circumstances. I saw this as a metaphor for how children who come from domestic abuse and dysfunctional family dynamics can turn out to be strong and sweet. “Salt in Soil” explores an often underrepresented theme that is common in many traditional households throughout the world, including child abuse, domestic violence, and mental health, which are often left disregarded or ignored. This film aims to raise awareness about these issues, as well as to amplify underrepresented storytellers like myself, a Japanese-American disabled filmmaker. This film will be for anyone out there struggling with mental health. I live with complex PTSD and severe depression, which allows me to portray abused characters in a delicate and authentic manner. Therefore, Nami’s journey of grappling with family trauma throughout Salt in Soil is one that is sure to move audiences with its raw emotional complexity. We have already secured our location, found a portion of the crew from Japan, and will have casting done by the end of December; all we need now is enough funding to fly out two crew members and ship equipment from New York to Japan and back, rent G&E equipment in Japan, hire a post-production team, and submit our film to festivals. Although we have already started the fundraising phase and have carefully strategized ways to obtain funding, such as through fundraising events, brand sponsorships, crowdfunding, and grants, none of these revenues are guaranteed. Thus, we need to seek out as many funding opportunities as possible, including getting fiscal sponsorship with Gotham.


Hina Effie Ogino - Writer-Director

Hina Effie Ogino is the writer-director. She is a Japanese-American disabled filmmaker currently studying film production at NYU Tisch and is a recipient of the Tisch Merit Scholarship. She was born in New York but was raised in Japan, China, Belgium, and the UK. As someone with C-PTSD and severe depression, she makes films about trauma and portrays abused characters authentically through her stories.

Nic Leb - Executive Producer

Nic Leblanc is the Executive Producer. He is a Canadian-American artist, producer, writer, and actor from the Midwest, is a senior at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Majoring in Film and Television with minors in Producing and Business of Entertainment Media and Technology, Nic brings a versatile skill set to their filmmaking craft. Committed to authentic narratives, Nic stands out in the film industry, consistently spotlighting and crafting thought-provoking stories. He is the creator of the upcoming LGBTQ web series LOVERUN and will be making his short film directing debut in 2024.

Mira Atwah - Producer

Mira Atwah is the producer. She is a film writer and producer from Cleveland, Ohio. She has produced many independent films of various styles and genres and currently studies film production at NYU Tisch. Being half Japanese and half Palestinian, she aims to utilize her diverse cultural background to produce films that effectively reflect a globally humane understanding of various national and world issues.

Thomas Wu - Producer
Thomas Wu is the producer. He is a writer, director, musician, and all-around post-production and sound guy from Hong Kong and Shanghai. Graduated from NYU Tisch studying Film with a focus on Sound Post Production and 3D Animation apart from writing and directing, as well as double majoring in German Literature. Director and producer of many award-winning films, Thomas brings technical Know-how from his experiences in almost every department on film and TV sets. He will be carrying his passion for exploring different cultures and understanding with international productions for this film.

Jeffery Lo - Producer
Jeffrey Lo is a producer located in Japan. He is a Taiwanese-American writer-director and producer. He speaks English and Chinese natively, Japanese fluently, and writes and directs in all three. With his multilingual background, he has been involved in several international projects. He is currently a student at the School of International Liberal Studies at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, and did a year on exchange at the Tisch School of Arts at NYU.

Jade Wicker - Associate Producer
Jade Wicker is the associate producer. She’s a senior enrolled in New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and is currently pursuing a degree in Film and Television. Hailing from New Jersey, Jade's passion for storytelling emerged at an early age. Initially expressed through photography and poetry, she later delved into the world of film. Jade showcases her diverse artistic skills as a writer, director, and freelance photographer based in the NY/NJ region. She enjoys working on projects that resonate with her desire to make our society a more trauma-informed and compassionate place.

Joanne Lee - Marketing Director
Joanne Lee is the Marketing Director. She is a junior at New York University majoring in Psychology at CAS with a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology at Stern, leverages her unique cultural experiences from Mexico, Korea, and France to excel in inclusive marketing. Passionate about marketing and film, she has successfully managed a Facebook page for @tenis_360, reaching over 1 million followers and other social media platforms. Known for effective communication and adaptability, Joanne aims to integrate her marketing skills with film, producing content that engages and represents diverse audiences. Her comprehensive skill set and commitment to inclusivity make her a dynamic and creative Marketing Director!

Clint Pang - Director of Photography
Clint Pang is the Director of Photography. He is a New York-based Director and Cinematographer who firmly believes in a strong vision in both style and substance that is guided by the narrative core of the story. He has experience shooting both film and digital formats over the course of his five years in the industry and has shot numerous shorts, music videos, and commercials. Clint believes that it is the responsibility of narratives to deliver an entertaining and interesting experience that will keep audiences engaged and invested.

Mack Flynn - Art Director
Mack Flynn is the Art Director. They are a nonbinary creative within NYU’s UGFTV program. They specialize in makeup and art direction, and derive great joy in the curation of aesthetics, specifically within the realm of surrealist, esoteric, and experimental genres.


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