From Victor Pourcel

We're raising money to make Otto Cannot Dream, a surrealistic comedy addressing the role of the American Dream in our society and opening a discussion about how to best redefine it!

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"What if our dreams had a say in what we dream for?"


OTTO CANNOT DREAM est une comédie surréaliste, critique du rêve américain dans sa version la plus désanchantée, jouant à la frontière entre les rêves et la réalité, dans l'univers dystopique d'un Los Angeles sans couleurs. 

Otto fête ses huit ans, quand une curieuse brigade fait irruption chez lui, et tue ses parents sous le prétexte que ce sont des originaux. Pour calmer l’enfant effaré, on lui donne une pilule rose.

Otto a maintenant 45 ans et vit une existence morne. Pilule quotidienne, travail routinier, troubles du comportement. Lors de ses rendez-vous de contrôle avec son supérieur, le constat est toujours le même: malgré la pilule, Otto n’arrive pas à rêver le "A dream", porteur de gloire et de prospérité.

Jusqu’au soir où, sous l’impulsion de Julia, une de ses rares collègues qui a encore un grain de fantaisie, il se refuse à prendre la pilule. Alors s’ouvre à lui la porte, non pas du "A dream" mais de ses rêves personnels. Ils ne le quitteront plus, faisant irruption dans sa vie, de jour comme de nuit.

OTTO CANNOT DREAM is a surrealistic comedy and a critic of the American Dream in its most disenchanted version, playing at the frontier between dreams and reality, in the dystopian world of a colorless Los Angeles.

On the night of his 8th birthday Otto lost his two parents to an obscure tyrant regime, and has never been able to dream since then. Otto, now 45, has settled into an OCD routine of wake up, wash, walk to work, stamp papers, walk home, take the A-pill and go to sleep. 

But when his co-worker Julie inspires him to stop taking the A-pill, his subconscious is unleashed. 

As characters from his mind enter his waking reality and subvert his daily routines, a strange eclipse flares the world into a relentless magenta glow. 

Otto's oneiric adventure challenges him to find back his inner voice, to stand up for himself and face the secrets of his trauma before being finally able challenge the institution that took his parents, and his childhood dreams, from him.

The world

Pour soutenir la fantaisie de ce court métrage, un important travail sera fait sur la chromie. La vie d'Otto enfant sera traité en couleurs naturelles. Celle d'Otto devenu adulte, en revanche se déroulera dans une chromie très désaturée. Une éclipse manifestera l'irruption des rêves, qui seront saturés de couleurs, et baignés par une lumière magenta.

Otto - he has OCD, he cannot dream, and is therefore disconnected from his inner voice when the film starts.

Otto 2 - Otto's alter ego from the dream world, eccentric, magical. He looks just like Otto, except for his clown red nose.

The A-dream - a disenchanted version of the American dream, only directed towards celebrity and money.

The A-pill - a new medication capable of transforming "confusing and scattered" dreams into the A-dream, making it an "enjoyable & productive time"

The A-team - characters from Otto's dreams, invading his daily life and chasing after Otto 2. They secretely work for Otto's boss, and call themselves "bad dreams".

The "breach" - dreams invade reality and vice versa, visually materialized by a total solar eclipse (day for night lighting scheme).

The writer-director: Victor Pourcel

Born and raised in Paris, Victor Pourcel developed a passion for storytelling at an early age, due to the influence of his grandfather, Jean Cosmos, a notorious French screenplay writer. After getting his Baccalaureate in economics with high honors, Victor studied humanities for two years in one of the most prestigious French hypokhâgne-khâgne. Admitted in Audencia, one of the top French business schools, he specialized in management of multimedia industries. Victor interned in Artmedia, the biggest talent agency in Europe, and was then hired to read, breakdown and criticize three screenplays a week for them, while finishing his Master degree in business in Nantes, and in Cincinnati, where he attended MA/MBA classes in art administration at the College Conservatory of Music.

Victor did his final internships in Los Angeles, in a management company and two production companies, one of which being run by Michael Phillips (Taxi Driver, Close Encounters of the Third Kind), who became one of Victor’s mentors throughout the past years. Back to France, Victor worked for a production company, where he developed and produced a number of short films, including a prestige collection of short films adapted from unseen Boris Vian screenplays, and pre-bought by French national TV channels France 2 and France 3. Victor then worked for a year on a documentary about his grandfather, ‘A Life of Storytelling’, before heading to USC SCA Master program in Film and Television Production, in order to perfect his craft as a storyteller.

The Producer: Ian McClellan

Ian McClellan started as a company electrician on the 2012 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning film Beasts of the Southern Wild. He went on to associate produce for Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman on their documentary The Battle of AmfAR (premiered Sundance 2013). He earned his MFA at USC in film and television production and now runs his production company Punk Riot, focused on enabling directors to realize their unique artist visions.

Associate producer: Marine Delorme

Marine was born on the French island of Reunion. She graduated from high school with a baccalaureate in Literature. At the age of 20, she moved to Los Angeles where she discovered her love of filmmaking and subsequently enrolled in the Film & Television Production undergraduate program at USC. Marine has gravitated towards producer roles. 

She produced a short western that was selected in several local film festivals and was an Associate Producer on Lalo's House, produced by Victor Pourcel, winner in the short film category at the 2018 Pan African Film Festival. In addition, her passion is to document the growth and blossoming of her three-year-old daughter with short videos.

Where your donation would go

Producer's statement

Otto Cannot Dream is a surreal dystopia where we hyperbolize the contrast between what society wants from us and what we want to do as individuals into a terrible government regime that forces its citizens to take the A Pill to all share the same dream of success. But when Otto cannot dream, we’re forced to ask if we can ever do or become what we cannot dream? Ultimately can individuals define themselves against all outside pressures?

Otto Cannot Dream reminds me of some of my favorite dystopian films- Disney’s animated Paperman, Brazil, 1984. By talking about a parallel world where things are not the way we want them, we can look at our own world. From a dystopia we can imagine utopias. And as a filmmaker I’m excited to create this fantasy world that has so much to say about our own.





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