NEW YORK CITY — “Abigail’s Dawning,” a short film by Niskayuna native David Keen, was recently awarded the 2020 Best Low Budget Film award at FLOW, the International Florida Opening Worlds Film Festival.
The short film follows a fragile young woman, dealing with homelessness and drug addiction on the streets of New York. Keen took inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s dark fairy tale, “The Little Match Girl.”
“The movie dealt with a lot of existential questions of the meaning of life. It dealt with addiction, not just to drugs,” Keen said.
The cast is small, featuring lead actress Karen Xerri along with a handful of other extras. It was filmed in Manhattan from January through mid-March and wrapped up just as the coronavirus pandemic started impacting the city.
“By chance, we had finished everything and then a few days later went into lockdown. It was great to have that,” Keen said.
While in lockdown this spring at his apartment in Queens, he did the post-production editing. Keen, who is a musician and Schenectady Symphony Orchestra alum, wrote the music for the film. While most of it is sparse, with violin-driven sound, for one scene Keen worked with Xerri, to create an Italian pop song.
While working on the film was a great project to have during the lockdown, it came with its own challenges.
“ . . . I’m one guy and it takes a lot of planning to make things come off and you always have to be changing with the changing circumstances that comes with that. Making it as one guy involves a lot of planning and a lot of flexibility,” Keen said.
“Abigail’s Dawning” is the Niskayuna High School graduate’s third film. The first was “The Adventures of Boof Margarine,” with premiered at Proctors in 2018. It was followed by “Cold Wakeup,” which premiered in New York City in 2019. For more on “Abigail’s Dawning” visit Abigail’s Dawning Film on Facebook.