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Before her 30th birthday party, Eleanor’s anxiety and demand for perfection turns a pleasant manicure into a bloody mess.​

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Jordan Sarf

Our world puts a lot of pressure on people to act and look a certain way. This pressure can come from family, friends, social media, magazines, everywhere. However, nothing can compare to the pressure we put on ourselves. Trying to be "perfect" is impossible and can tear someone to shreds trying to do so.


This has lead many to experience the mental and physical burdens of body dysmorphia, anxiety, and OCD, depression, eating disorders and more.

"Manicure" is a glimpse into the struggles of dealing with body dysmorphia, anxiety, and OCD. Having to be perfect for yourself and failing can be a true turn the worst, especially on your birthday.  What Eleanor does behind closed doors tells her real story, but it's the front she puts up after that signifies the front we put up for everyone. 


I have personally dealt with these burdens all my life. Never truly feeling comfortable in your own skin is the worst feeling. The worst is putting up a front like everything's ok but inside, there's nothing there but aching pain.

You can tell a lot about someone based on how their nails look, you really can...  


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MANICURE is a psychological thriller short film that explores the burden of body dysmorphia, anxiety, and OCD. Inspired by Martin Scorsese’s 1967 short, “The Big Shave,” MANICURE takes a mundane ritual to its extreme, worst case scenario. I chose to direct MANICURE after my producer and co-writer, Jordan Sarf, pitched the challenge of capturing this generation’s state of anxiety-driven panic in a seemingly simple, day-to-day sequence. Social media is damaging our generation by promoting unrealistic expectations of success and "idealized" body types causing negative effects on our mental and emotional health. This has led to millions of young people to suffer from clinical depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and most disturbing, body dysmorphia. MANICURE is a 10 minute sequence that enthralls the audience in a spiraling rollercoaster of what a human with these conditions goes through on a day-to-today basis.

Tonally, the film follows the steps of Pablo Larrain’s, “Spencer” and Darren Aronosky’s, “Black Swan”. However, it deviates from the popular handheld horror approach. MANICURE was shot with sleek and precise cinematography consisting of elegant camera movements and classical framings. This demanded a strict pre-production timeline filled with storyboards, animatics, and precise shot listed floor plans with my cinematographer, Nona Catusanu.

As a director, I like to make bold and finite decisions; I do not shoot coverage. I design, plan, and execute intricate moving masters that cover several story beats — in turn, acting and camera rehearsals are pivotal in the pre-visualisation process. I was lucky to have an industry veteran actress, Stef Dawson, (“The Hunger Games” series, “The Paper Store”) in the lead role. Her knockout audition made it clear that we were on the same page on what the film should be and what Elanor experiences in her mind.

I hope that the audience will engage in an active dialogue that escalates to larger topics and points of discussion stemming from the film, perhaps in a therapeutic way.

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