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In March of 2021, my frequent collaborator Zak Zaidi and I set out to make our first mini-feature. We came up with the idea of a protagonist haunted by a series of strange, recurring dreams that he cannot understand. The result was Nocturna -- by far the most ambitious project I had ever embarked on.

Zak and I wrote the script for Nocturna the following month, finishing the script in early May before going into intense pre-production. The shoot, which took place during mid-to-late May, ran for 6 days and involved several actors across several locations around Princeton, NJ. In addition to being the largest shoot we had ever done, production involved several elaborate technical feats, such as simulating driving shots with lights and projectors and creating artificial daylight in order to film day scenes at night. During the following months, Zak worked on assembling rough cuts as I worked on the soundtrack. Finally, we finished the piece together in late July/early August in time for the film to premiere at the Princeton Garden Theater.

Our influences for the film included Satoshi Kon's "Perfect Blue", as well as the work of Christopher Nolan. Additionally, the score is largely inspired by FINNEAS and Michael Giacchino.


Written and Directed by Carl Coetzee & Zak Zaidi

Edited by Zak Zaidi
Original Composition by Carl Coetzee

Released August 2021

Read the Script:


Other Notable Pieces:

"An Unexpected Visit" (2022) - Short Exercise

Written, Shot and Edited by Carl Coetzee

"Orange Blossoms" (2020) - Short Exercise

Written and Directed by Carl Coetzee

Edited and Original Soundtrack by Carl Coetzee

"Unfinished Symphony" (2019)

Written and Directed by Carl Coetzee

Edited and Original Soundtrack by Carl Coetzee

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