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Still frame from Layers.jpg
Still frame from Layers, the scene in which Alice teleports whilst standing still apathetic from step to step.
Directed byZarel Smith
Produced byZarel Smith
Written byZarel Smith
StarringZarel Smith
Music byZarel Smith
Edited byZarel Smith
Release date
12 June 2018
Running time
3 minutes
Country Kingdom of New Finland

Layers is a 2018 New Finlandic surrealist short film created, directed and produced by artistic filmmaker and actor Zarel Smith. It was Smith's first film produced independently from his studio Z&jProductions. The film was made in homage to the surrealist cinema movement in France in the 1920s, and stars Smith as a young man, named Alice, doing mundane tasks in unusual manners with unexpected juxtapositions.


Throughout the film, Alice repeatedly looks directly into the camera, and his shirt chances in every scene. Alice wakes up and puts on three pears of glasses; in the next scene he is wearing only one. He gets up and walks downstairs, where, upon entering the kitchen, he drinks from an empty cup with water suddenly appearing and filling it up. He goes to get cereal, and teleports whilst standing still apathetic from step to step. The film ends with him drinking from a water bottle played in reverse.


Smith in August 2020

Smith became inspired to create the film upon learning about surrealist cinema at his film school in Surrey, UK. He spent the next week writing down a list of ideas for the film, and picked Smithington (now New Leeds) as the filming location. Production took place on 12 June 2018, and the film was released on the same day. It was his first film not to be produced or distributed by Z&jProductions, a film studio he and his younger brother co-founded, due to the nature of the film. It was filmed on an iPad 5 at 30 frames per second, and he added a black and white filter in post-production. It was edited with iMovie, and for the scene played in reverse Smith used Smith also composed an untitled piano song for the film.

Copyright status

Smith has stated that the film is available under the Creative Commons license Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0), indicating that a person may copy, download and redistribute the material in any medium or format (as well as remix, transform or build upon the material), so long as they do not use the material for commercial purposes and give credit to Smith.


A remake of Layers by Smith with the eponymous title is planned for late 2021.

See also

External links