Since she first picked up a controller, Lily Lee has dreamed of being a professional gamer. Her father is completely against it.
After Lily announces she is quitting school to become a professional gamer, her father John feels he must do something. He hires an online ‘assassin’ to kill his daughter’s character in hopes of discouraging her from playing.
When John realizes just how talented his daughter is, the two are forced to have a conversation they’ve been avoiding for years.
Writer: Joy Regullano
Director: Phil Borg
Producers: Kristina Esposito, Robyn Laliberte
When Kristina approached me with the script for Virtual Hitman last fall, I’ll admit I didn’t know what to think. I knew I liked it, but I didn’t know if I could pull it off.
On the one hand, she had a short script that spoke to a medium that I have loved since I was kid: video games. And on the other hand, it was about a family relationship amidst a culture that I have very little experience in – Chinese culture.
So we did the only sensible thing … we learned Chinese. Just kidding. What we actually did was ignore it all together.
Of course, there are cosmetic nods to Chinese culture in the Lee household but, in the end, Virtual Hitman is a story about family and the patterns people can get into to avoid communicating with members of their family in order to keep the peace.
Those patterns become tradition and, when that happens, it often takes something drastic to break free from it. Something like murder! (“Figuratively … figuratively …,” to quote Tyler, our virtual hitman).
The second overwhelming theme that grabbed me upon first read was the question of how to communicate, and the problems that come with not knowing how to do that with those you love. In fact, the film could be called communication breakdown, since for John this problem comes up time and again throughout our story.
John wants the best for Lily, but not only is he unable to talk to her openly and rationally about his plans for her – [come to think of it], I am struggling to think of a parent who IS able to do that with their child – he is also unable to listen to her.
When Lily presents the solution to his financial problem he shuts her down preferring his traditional view of how she should live her life, instead of considering how she could live her life.
And of course this lack of communication escalates to hilarious levels through John’s search for an alternative way to guide Lily along the path he wants for her.
I am immensely proud of the work from the entire Virtual Hitman team. We were all given quite a challenging time frame within which to makes this short, but everyone truly brought their A-game and worked together to make it all come to life in better ways than I could have imagined.
From myself and all the great people who worked on Virtual Hitman – enjoy!
About Phil Borg
Phil is a Toronto-based actor and writer/director with seven short films and one feature film to his credit in his young career.
His feature New Year had its worldwide premiere at the Montreal World Film Fest in August 2010. It can currently be seen on TMN Encore in Canada.
Phil’s education includes a BAH from Queen’s University in stage and screen studies in 2005. Subsequently, Phil spent a year in London, UK at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), in a one-year post-graduate conservatory training program in classical acting.