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Bokeh 2017



As film industry reviewers, we say Bokeh is one of our non-favorite movies. Please VOTE!

Bokeh is favorite or unfavorite?

BOKEH is the story of two people who are defined not just by what they focus on, but what they choose to blur.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this feature film!

About the Bokeh 💬

  • bokeh /boʊkə/ (boke-uh) noun

Japanese term for the subjective aesthetic quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, esp. as rendered by a particular lens.

  • Discover a world where your true self comes into sharp relief in the blurriest spaces. Discover BOKEH. What you blur?

BOKEH is the story of a couple in their twenties who are truly in love for the first time, traveling to Iceland to get away from everything.

  • 2 billion houses, 12,000 Walmarts, 525,000 dogs, but no people. What's the first thing you'd do when the world is yours?

When a flash of light shoots across the sky on their romantic, Iceland vacation, Jenai (Maika Monroe) and Riley (Matt O'Leary) wake up to discover every person on earth has disappeared. Their struggle to survive and to reconcile the mysterious event lead them to reconsider everything they know about themselves and the world.


Q: Why did you decide to film in Iceland?

A: I had been to Iceland a couple of times and fell in love with the people, the landscapes and just about everything there. It was unlike any place that I had been before, the lighting, colors and textures are unique to the country. A lot of films are shot in Iceland, most treat Iceland as another world or another time, few use Iceland as Iceland. We wanted to use the land as a way to tell our story. The colors and landscapes change as the story progresses. We could use some of the more surreal, alien-looking locations to emphasize certain parts of the narrative. Because much of Iceland’s power is generated through geothermal plants, we took that, with a little presumed automation, and it let us have an end of the world where the infrastructure is not crumbling. The characters' struggle is not strictly physical survival, thus their concerns are more metaphysical. Also, in June, Iceland has 23 hours of daylight per day. Since we were telling the story of the last two people on earth, we could shoot at 3 am in the empty streets of Reykjavik and it would look like morning. The people of Iceland were great, we shot at sixty locations without spending a lot of dollars. They supported our small production and allowed us to shoot in so many interesting and isolated areas of Iceland.

Q: Did you run into any unique challenges while filming there?

A: BOKEH is about the last two people on Earth and though Iceland only has 300,000+ residents and another 250,000 tourists, it is hard to tell the story of an empty world when life is around. We shot most of our empty Reykjavik scenes in the middle of the night to reduce the amount of human and car traffic. Even when we could clear the frame of people, our location sound would pick up car audio or a couple of blocks away. Empty was never completely empty while shooting. A lot of our challenges involved removing visuals and cleaning audio in post.

Q: What inspired you to make this film?

A: We love cerebral science fiction stories; The Twilight Zone is a favorite of ours. Narratives where the conceit may be extreme, but the stories are still just about the people that are put into an intense situation and how they choose to handle those moments. We wanted to see what would happen when the world ended without Armageddon, zombies or some dystopian future. Lo-fi sci-fi has the ability to be more relatable, it asks the audience to envision what they would do if they were in this situation. This gave us a narrative framework as we were reacting to some of the discord in the world right now. The tensions, just in our own country, whether they be political or philosophical, are driving people apart. What do you do when you're your own worst enemy?

Q: What is the relationship to the film's title and the photographic technique?

A: Bokeh is the blur, the out of focus part of the photo. In life, we choose what we focus on and what we blur. We wanted to tell a story of two people who continue to change their priorities, their ideals, their focus based on an altered world. They are defined not just by what they focus on, but what they choose to blur. One of our two characters, Riley is a photographer, he uses a twin reflex camera to capture moments. At times, Riley chooses to see the world through a lens instead of just lifting his head up and experiencing the world as it actually is. One of the features of the twin reflex camera is that you look through one lens while the second lens takes the photo. In essence, Riley's view through the lens and what is shot are slightly different, always a little off.

Q: Were you worried about creating a film centered around, more or less, just two characters?

A: Simple answer, yes. We asked ourselves if we could tell a relevant and compelling story about the last two people on Earth. This became even harder to figure out because we removed a lot the physical dangers that come with apocalyptic movies. Essentially, we chose to make a more cerebral science fiction film about a couple and tried to avoid having them constantly narrate their feeling to each other throughout the film. We learned to embrace the quiet nature of the film. Though challenging, this is also what excited us as filmmakers to make BOKEH.

Q: There are some significant questions about why Riley and Jenai are left alone; what motivated those decisions?

A: When we came up with the idea, one of our first decisions was to not be too explicit about certain elements. We didn’t want to know more than Riley and Jenai know in the film. A world-changing event like this is less interesting to us than how our protagonists handle it. This type of event can act as a mirror for the audience. If you believe in religion, then you may believe that everything happens for a religious reason and if you don't believe in religion then this event had nothing to do with God. Regardless of whether the event is religious, alien, or an unnatural occurrence, our characters still have to deal with this new, empty world whether they were chosen, forgotten or none of the above.

Bokeh Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Andrew Sullivan

Geoffrey Orthwein

Writing Credits

Andrew Sullivan

Geoffrey Orthwein


Maika Monroe

Matt O'Leary

Arnar Jónsson

Gunnar Helgason

Berglind Rós Sigurðardóttir

Music by

Keegan DeWitt

Cinematography by

Joe Lindsay

Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi (Science Fiction)

Countries: United States, Iceland

Bokeh Official Trailer

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