Joshua Seftel's New Short Explores 'The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano' (Exclusive Video)

Doron Gild
'The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano'

The documentary, premiering at Tribeca, follows the NYC photographer as he transforms into various characters and faces his greatest fears.

The future has many deadly faces, according to photographer Phil Toledano.

The New York City photographer and his peculiar obsession is the subject of Joshua Seftel's new documentary short, The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano​, which will make its world premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

The filmmaker of ​War, Inc. and Taking on the Kennedys follows his longtime friend and college buddy, who has recently become obsessed with his own future. But Toledano chooses to face his fears head-on, using ​DNA tests, fortune tellers and a prosthetic makeup artist to repeatedly immerse himself in the dark possibilities that frighten him most — obesity, desolation, stroke, isolation, suicide and violent death to name a few.

As Toledano becomes dozens of characters for a series of haunting photographs, his family worries about the project's consequences, including the possibility that he will never be able to imagine a positive future.

Of the origin of the film, Seftel explains that "[a] little over three years ago, I ran into Phil just after his father had died. My father had also just died. Phil talked about his new project with psychics and prosthetics, and it resonated with me in part because of the passing of my dad, because I was grappling with a lot of the same things Phil was dealing with," says Seftel. "It’s disturbing to spend three years watching a friend and contemporary explore his demise over and over in graphic and horrifying ways. It definitely led to me having nightmares and general anxiety. But there’s something about staring this stuff in the face that made me smile and laugh a lot too. And that part is liberating."

Toledano remarks, "When Josh asked to film me, I agreed because I trusted him — that trust matters when you’re exposing the inner mechanism of your unfinished art."

The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano premieres at Tribeca on April 16 at 9:30 p.m. The film's executive producers include Steve Tisch, Regina Scully and Geralyn Dreyfous.

Watch the trailer below.