We are thrilled to bring you Candyland, a short film written and directed by a Jouri Smit – one half of Black Dog’s newest directing duo with Gitte Meldgaard. Candyland is a one-of-a-kind short film that breaks the boundaries between fashion cinema and social issues. The 19-minute silent piece created in collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana reveals, to devastating effect, the emerging epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
A fictional narrative inspired by real life experience, Candyland tracks a typical day of a young LA producer named Jack Smith, played by actor and D&G model, Noah Mills. At first glance, he’s got it all: a successful career, Vogue-worthy looks and style, and a beautiful girlfriend named Amber, played by Roxy Olin. But, for Jack, prescription pills are a way to survive everyday existence. He is seen popping pharmaceuticals for whatever the occasion calls for, be it Adderall, Ritalin, Xanax, Vicodin, or Viagra – masking his drug abuse with a seemingly glamorous lifestyle, while inside, he self-destructs.
The Black Dog director deftly pulls the viewer into the headspace of the main character via a brave narrative choice – the creation of a completely silent film. Ambient noises can be heard, but there are no verbal exchanges. The silence is a compelling force in guiding Candyland’s passenger-seat experience, leading us into Jack’s harrowing demise with vivid visuals and an emotional performance.
The collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana is the first of its kind to expand upon the concept of high-fashion film as a venue to explore larger social issues. As a fashion house synonymous with glamour, Candyland brings a refreshing humanity and substance to the D&G brand, not only addressing the greater epidemic happening worldwide, but specifically, turning the lens on a lifestyle rampant in the fashion and film industries. The film demolishes the stereotype of drug users as strictly low-level, seedy addicts, and turns a spotlight onto the façade of seemingly highly successful people all around us that are silently caught in a downward spiral.
Of the landmark collaboration, Jouri Smit explains, “I personally think fashion films are the ideal vehicles for socially conscious issues, as it is short in form and has all the components to reach the targeted audience that PSAs could never reach.” Candyland is in keeping with Jouri Smit’s directing style as an artist driven to make socially conscious films; not only delivering cinematic, high-gloss visuals but lifting the veil on the larger issues underneath the veneer.