Pop-Up is a feature-length ensemble drama told in three interweaving parts. Shot on location in Newcastle, Australia, and Transylvania, Romania, it tells the stories of Mick, Rada, and Neil. Their backgrounds are poles apart, and in one moment their lives change forever.
Mick is down on his luck. He’s struggled to move on after his wife left 8 years ago, and now an unusual phobia complicates his job hunt. His daughter Emily keeps him centred, though it’s hard to pay rent when the bank fines him $20 for insufficient funds.
One day, Mick finds an old digital camera containing a single photo of a woman’s face. Smitten, he tracks her down. But when meeting face-to-face exposes him to his phobia, he’s forced to confront his demons head-on.
Sick of her domestic duties in a small Transylvanian town, and inspired by her younger sister’s American partner, Rada tries her hand at online dating. She meets Sam, an Australian. He has a stutter, and she has a prominent birthmark, so they’re a match.
After moving Down Under, their relationship is tested when Sam receives an implant to ease his affliction. Now he can speak clearly, his true personality can shine through. But as Rada discovers, perhaps that’s not the best thing, as his social status upgrade leaves her in the dust.
Ghosted and alone in a foreign country, Rada deals with her loss in several ways. She wallows in self-pity, reminiscing about better days in her home country. She drowns her sorrows and has a bender on the town. Finally, she channels her feelings, and makes pop-up cards for everyone she knows.
While delivering the cards, a freak accident throws her life in a new direction.
Neil has managed to eschew adult responsibilities most of his life. His mother a successful businesswoman, he survives off her handouts, leaping from one hare-brained scheme to another. His failed ventures include a chess boxing club, a decaf café, and a scuba diving course in Greece.
His latest idea is to stage a play – one he’s written himself – and his mother reluctantly funds it. The opening night is a success, but a critic’s scathing review unleashes Neil’s dark, dangerous temperament.
Pop-Up is a modern movie about life’s trials, from the random to the self-inflicted. It’s about three strangers struggling to make sense of their predicaments, and whose lives are connected more than they realise.