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Clams Casino a film by Pam Nasr. 2018, USA, 10 min. Mothers and daughters in a touching webcasting comedy. Women to Watch: Five new shorts by exciting voices.

Imagining the hidden world behind an international webcasting phenomenon, NYC-based Lebanese filmmaker Pam Nasr makes her enchanting and vivacious directorial debut with Clams Casino, now screening in its online premiere. Nasr conceived her touching, vividly designed tale of mothers, daughters and multi-course dinners after discovering mukbang, a now internationally popular Korean craze in which livestreaming “broadcast jockeys” prepare elaborate meals, then eat them on camera while interacting with online fans.

 

Taking this cross-cultural phenomenon as a starting point, and sensing affinities between Korean, Latino and Lebanese relationships with food, Nasr worked with Puerto-Rican screenwriter Natasha Soto-Albors to incorporate experiences from both of their backgrounds into the script. They set the film among Latina women in New York, and, true to the hyper-online life of their webcasting protagonist Arcelia, discovered the model and actress who plays her, Eloisa Santos, on Instagram.

 

 

“With Clams Casino, I wanted to communicate how an internet phenomenon such as mukbang can seem strange or viral-derived at first, be in fact quite human and relatable if we take the time to understand and deconstruct it. I also wanted to communicate how our desire for connection and affection can come in many forms.” PAM NASR

 

Nasr took on production design duties herself, drawing on her fashion and styling background for the elaborately eclectic settings, costumes, and food. The sprawling seafood banquet centerpiece was inspired by Salvador Dalí’s 1973 surrealist cookbook Les Dîners de Gala, and for the gloriously kitschy interiors she turned to an unlikely combination of influences: a childhood home of hers in Lebanon that had felt stuck in the aesthetic of the ’70s and ’80s, and Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990).

 

Pam Nasr grew up between Dubai and Beirut and graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Styling and Photography, before pursuing a Masters in Directing from the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has directed fashion films for brands like Mara Hoffman, and is art-directing a new short film by music-video veteran Bob Giraldi. She is also currently developing her next short film, “which explores how our earliest experiences and memories form our character.”

Trailer for Clams Casino.

Credits for
Clams Casino
cast
Eloisa Santos, Roma Lopez, Sarah Lynne, Rina Mejia, Isabella Diaz & Jeffrey Diaz
written by
Natasha Soto-Albors
produced by
Jason W. Short
executive produced by
Pam Nasr
cinematography
Diana Matos
sound designer
Connor Donahue
sound recordist
Eric Romary
editing
Rory Pfotenhauer
production design
Pam Nasr