Set in a parallel society where people take 'Just Smile Tabs' multiple times a day, a young girl struggles to superficially suppress her negative emotions. A commentary on society's strive for perfection and the masking of mental health issues.
The idea that one is supposed to live in this happy joyous bubble of wonder where everything is always great is so pointless. We often smile to lie to people about our lives and pretend nothing’s wrong here! Just smile no matter what is like asking people to suffocate themselves with a lie. Petrina Gheorghiu wears multiple hats and she does it with grace. Commendable performance by key cast Diana, who has lived this role instead of portraying it on screen .Original score, graphics, editing, screenplay ,cinematography, direction and production design.
Director Biography - Petrina Gheorghiu Petrina Diana Gheorghiu is a Romanian filmmaker currently based in Abu Dhabi. Throughout her schooling in Qatar and the UAE, Petrina was able to culture her passion for creating through numerous film production courses. Petrina has recently graduated from the American Community School of Abu Dhabi with a maximum International Baccalaureate score of 7 in Film. She is set to move to New York as a ‘Film and Television undergraduate at NYU. As a filmmaker, she is accomplished in directing, cinematography, writing, and editing; usually filling up all these positions through the stages of production. Furthermore, Petrina has experience with theory by authoring various pieces and video essays analyzing different films, movements, directors, and genres. Her most notable works include Forever (2022), Just Smile, You’re Fine (2021), Photo Album (2021), and The Sandcastle (2018). These short films among others have been selected, nominated, and won awards in all types of film festivals around the world. Petrina, who is at the beginning of her career, hopes to embellish her craft and continue her storytelling through films.
Director Statement For this project, I was tasked with creating a film that would be submitted to the annual student film festival at my school. From conception, I had the goal of creating a serious film that tackled a serious global issue. This film came about during a very agitated and pressuring time of my life, and after many failed attempts of finding the right story idea, it only seemed authentic that I portrayed the mental health struggle of anxiety and stress. With today’s competitive nature and expectations imposed by oneself or others, being stressed out has become so normalized that it’s almost looked down upon to be vocal about it. I just felt like this thread would resonate with a lot of people, the same way it resonated with me. From there I conceptualized the idea of being forced to mask negative emotions with the magical realism element of the ‘happiness pills’ that superficially made people content. And from there the world with the motto “Just Smile, You’re Fine” unfolded.
Petrina Gheorghiu Director
Petrina Gheorghiu Writer
Petrina Gheorghiu Producer
Petrina Gheorghiu Key Cast "Diana"
Elena Gheorghiu Key Cast "Mother"
Emilian Gheorghiu Key Cast "Father"
Elizabeth Grobmyer Key Cast "Friend"
Matthew Foss Key Cast "Teacher"
Project Type: Experimental, Student, Short
Genres: Drama, Realism, Psychological
Runtime: 7 minutes 38 seconds
Completion Date: May 23, 2021
Production Budget: 200 USD
Country of Origin: Romania
Country of Filming: United Arab Emirates
Shooting Format: Digital
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Film Color: Color
First-time Filmmaker: No
Student Project: Yes - American Community School of Abu Dhabi