A trio of longtime friends from Alabama teamed up with various other talented filmmakers to produce Wet joint cigarettes, a short film about a man who seems to be losing his mind while trying to maintain his individuality in a consumer society. Wet Seal Cigarettes, a fictional cigarette brand, is a crucial part of the story as the main character struggles to overcome the pressures he faces around every corner.
“This short film seizes every opportunity to inspire the individual to be more than what they consume, be it their environment, the media or even the illustrious Wet Seal cigarette”, Nicholas G. Sims, who is the star and the film’s executive producer, Blavity said.
According to the producers, Wet joint cigarettes “mixes and bends cinematic genres to create a world where consumerism eats individualism alive.”
“In a series of genre-bending events, Nicholas Bordeaux must fight to stay sane in surreal New York as he resists a new world order and the temptation of the coveted ‘Wet Seal Cigarette‘ in this courageous French New Wave short film,” states the film’s synopsis.
In his previous screenplays, Percival Bernard, screenwriter of the short film, has featured many of the characters that are often seen with cigarettes in hand. Now, in the writer’s latest project, cigarettes are an even bigger part of the story.
“My characters are always smoking cigarettes somewhere in a scene. I was like they were smoking so many cigarettes, why wouldn’t I do cigarettes kind of like a character,” Bernard said. “So in all this that I make, whatever cigarette they smoke, it will be a Wet Seal cigarette. It is the fictitious mark. It was a fair idea to write a movie about those cigarettes and create that world behind that encompasses what the vibe is.
In the case of Wet joint cigarettesthe film transmits a dreamlike world, featuring authoritarian personalities and other singular characters who push Bourdeaux to give in to temptation.
Sims has been chasing his own dream of becoming a movie star since he was a child in Mobile, Alabama. The filmmaker took a big step forward when he recently joined two of his friends to launch a black-owned film company, Pyramidal Productions. The company’s goal, according to Sims, is to tell stories of underserved groups.
“We’re trying to create a lens for them to tell their stories… it may not have been told elsewhere,” the Pyramidal founder said.
The filmmakers chose a pyramid as their company logo, reflecting the symbol often associated with African history and culture. But there is also a reason why the pyramid is shown upside down.
“I flipped the pyramid because I wanted to look at it from multiple angles,” Sims said. “Because when I say we represent people of color, I’m not just talking about black people. We represent people from all underserved communities.
Bernard is also another of the three friends who co-founded Pyramidal Productions. Bernard said he started writing screenplays at age 16 and continued to work on his craft through his college years. The Alabama native, however, struggled to find people who would support his work and understand his passion. Everything changed when he reconnected with his childhood friend Sims who was willing to read Bernard’s scripts and offer his support.
“That’s what I needed, nobody else was trying to read my stuff,” said the Wet joint cigarettes says the writer.
Blake Greene, another filmmaker who grew up in Mobile with The Sims and Bernard, is now head of productions for Wet joint cigarettes. Greene and Sims, who remained close throughout their childhood, reconnected with Bernand in 2019 and vowed to start a film company.
“The three of us grew up together in Mobile and we’ve never seen [Bernard] since college. When we came across [Bernard], he told us his views on writing and everything. That’s when we built the production team together,” Greene said. “We are today.”
The three childhood friends are now joined by Baltimore native Earl Weaver Jr., who serves as producer for Wet joint cigarettes. Like many people around the world, Weaver felt stressed while quarantined during the pandemic. But he found relief after finding a viral short created by Sims.
Weaver said he was able to relate to Sims’ skit, which sent a message of compassion toward people struggling to find hope during the pandemic.
“I came across a viral video of Nicholas that went crazy on the internet,” Weaver said. “The video resonated with me because I felt like the character he portrayed. You can relate a lot to what the protagonist was up against. This led me to reach out to him personally and ask him how he got into the movie theater.
Weaver, who had worked on his filmmaking skills in college, stayed in touch with The Sims and later jumped at the chance to work on Wet joint cigarettes. The film, shot in Brooklyn, proved to be a life-saving experience for Weaver and the rest of the young stars.
“The whole production showed us exactly what a producer is,” Weaver said. “By the time we got to the end on the last day and [Bernard] shot his last shot of the film, I saw him fall to the ground. I can just say that it was just a phenomenal experience to see him direct and also to be able to immerse yourself in the whole thing until the very end.