Killer Whales is a narrative feature film satirizing the horrors of forced eviction, rent control, apartment hunting, landlords, gentrification, and homelessness rampant in the urban jungle. We are raising $40k to fund the production of our film. Check out www.killerwhalesfilm.com for updates.
Inclusion StatementThe housing problem affects minority communities pushed out by gentrification, non-wealthy renters, and young graduates with student debt. Our hiring practice seeks to reflect the American inner city; Our team represents a diversity of races, socioeconomic backgrounds, genders, and LGBTQ+ members.
About The Project
Killer Whales follows Charlie, an ambitious realtor, as he tries to run a successful apartment open house in Los Angeles. But shortly after two visitors arrive and begin competing viciously for the apartment, Charlie discovers the dead body of the former tenant in the bathroom. Pressure from the powers that be drives Charlie to keep the body hidden and try to rent the apartment anyway. As the visitors’ competition escalates, each on the verge of homelessness, so too does Charlie’s paranoia. That’s when the dead former tenant makes himself known, strange forces grip the open house, and a nightmare is born.
Tonal Inspiration - Still from Persona
A low point in my life found me broke, unemployed, and apartment hunting in Los Angeles. I would hop from open house to open house, back sweaty from stress traffic. I felt shameful competitive urges when I'd see other open house goers. I thought they'd let me have the place if they knew I had already been turned down by twenty realtors. Didn't they realize I was desperate? More desperate than they? Phrases like "rent control" and "utilities" were new to me. I didn't know I needed proof of income or credit to rent. I walked by rows of homeless tents between apartments thinking about the lucky safety nets that kept me from living on the street. I grew up in a small town in Idaho where none of this existed.
Homeless encampment in L.A., 2017
Writing Killer Whales was my way of digesting gentrification, forced eviction, homelessness, and the circus that is apartment hunting in major US cities. I'd heard stories of potential tenants sending realtors complete memoirs, coffee tables, and biographic photo journals in efforts to secure an apartment. I'd heard of friendly small talk turning nasty when two separate groups at an open house found out parking was included. I’d fantasized about sabotaging my competition. I'd heard about veteran tenants forcefully evicted with loophole laws so that rent prices could accommodate gentrification.
On the one hand, the absurd apartment hunt charade can be a hilarious comedy of errors. On the other hand, the comedy hides a much darker truth: people are desperate for homes in this city. Killer Whales takes on both truths, thereby adopting the Thriller-Satire genre.
Just one of many U.S. families forced to live out of their car as the result of eviction.
Killer Whales started as a seed of an idea over three years ago. Will and I had our first writing session for this film in July of 2017. The story continued to expand and unfold, and now it’s long time to get it to the screen. We’ve worked to build an LLC, hire CPAs, lawyers, and producers, file for licenses, tax statuses, registered agent services, and pay registration fees. We’ve had meetings and phone calls and pitches and seminars and advice and failures and hope. We are a couple of artists bursting to tell this story. We can’t do it alone.
More millenials are moving to major U.S. cities than ever. Most are recent graduates with student debt, desperate to find affordable housing. When the recent graduates move in, gentrification takes hold, prices go up, and long-time residents are forced to move out (some by contrived eviction). In Los Angeles this trend has contributed to the raising homeless population, which grew by a staggering 23% in 2017 alone.
DTLA police guard the border of Skid Row, "protecting" it from wandering homeless individuals.
Killer Whales brings awareness to this cycle, finds humor in its absurdity, and fosters empathy for the forcefully evicted, the apartment hunters, the homeless, and the realtors. It hopes to cut through the circus and to reveal that, in the end, we’re not all that different from animals in the wild competing for shelter. In fact, that’s exactly what we are.
Our crowdfunding goal is $40k, with a stretch goal of $50k. Because our film is set in one location and has a limited cast, we’re able to make a good-looking movie for under $75k. Raising $40k-50k with Seed&Spark will allow us to begin production and give us the credibility and gravity we need to raise the remaining $25k-35k in private equity, plus any finishing funds once post-production is underway.
Together, Will and I have made four short films under the umbrella of our production company, Magpie Factory. We’ve been to festivals such as Cannes, Austin, Newcastle, and Hollyshorts. We believe in the power of storytelling to make life feel less heavy, to connect humans across communities, and to brighten a Sunday afternoon with a laugh. We are driven storytellers, and we want to share our burgeoning voices.
On location in Newcastle while shooting our short film, Howay! (2017)
The filmmaking journey is a long and winding path, and we are committed to a life on this road. By supporting this film, you are bringing an important story to life, but you're also becoming a part of our filmmaking journey. You're providing us with the opportunity to grow as artists, giving us a gust of wind to keep us moving deeper into the ocean of storytelling.
There are few producers willing to take the risk to finance a young team of filmmakers looking to make a movie. It's much easier to give the money to an established name (or brand) and have a better idea of what's going to come of it. As a hungry young team looking to break into entertainment, we need backers like you to help get our voices out into the world, to build a name, and to create a career of it.
So how will this film help us along our path? We believe we've grown significantly as artists, writers, and directors since our last short film, which took us to film festivals around the world. With a more honed and exciting screenplay in Killer Whales, we know we can take this film to bigger festivals, get the attention of producers, and expand our audience. These are essential steps toward supporting our creative lives and producing more important stories.
Please help us continue our collaboration and make a life in filmmaking. Your generosity means more than you know.
--Wyatt Bunce, Writer and Producer of Killer Whales
Wyatt and Will at the local Newcastle soccer match during Howay!
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About This Team
Raised next to Ernest Hemingway’s home hidden in the Idaho mountains, Wyatt grew comfortable living among literary ghosts. He is dedicated to telling original, experimental, and honest stories that find funny in the absurd and suspense in the surreal. He hopes his stories introduce emotion and mental illness in a way that makes them less taboo, less hidden, and less scary. He seeks to bring humor and lightness to the dark corners. Wyatt graduated from Stanford University with an B.A. in English Literature in 2014 and shortly after moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. Since connecting in 2015 with his collaborator and Magpie Factory co-founder, Will Hamilton, he’s presented two of their four short films at film festivals such as Cannes, Austin, Hollyshorts, and Newcastle. He is currently working on his debut novel, as well as cooking up future scripts to tackle once Killer Whales has wrapped.
A Colombian-American cinematographer, and a graduate of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Juan most recently shot the Sundance Film Festival winner Searching, his third feature following Sunshine State of Mind and the award-winning horror, The House on Pine Street. With music video credits like Schoolboy Q and The Neighbourhood, and corporate commercial clients such as Nissan and Skyy Vodka, Juan is committed to bringing innovative, modern cinematography to every project he works on. For his work, please see www.jsbaron.com
Will is a freelance filmmaker & photographer, dedicated to creating images that subvert our assumptions about identity, etiquette, and models of reality. Ranging from narrative to music videos, his work explores the versions of ourselves that we’re taught to repress. Originally from London, Will now lives in Berlin, running Indexthumb, a media service offering custom video and photography for clients such as Tricky, Bad Breeding, and underground events such as Strictly Forbidden. His films have screened at some of the U.S. and Europe’s most competitive film festivals, such as Cannes, Hollyshorts, and Austin. His industry experience spans stints at Plan B Productions, New Horizons Pictures, and Fresno Unlimited; he holds a B.A. in Film and Media Studies from Stanford University, where he also taught screenwriting and filmmaking for two years as President of the Advanced Film Workshop. For more of his work, please see his reel here.
Karleigh is an up-and-coming production designer based in L.A.. Her versatile portfolio includes work on seven features, numerous commercials for brands like Google Home and Axe, and music videos for Halsey and Trisha Paytas. For more of her work, check out www.karleighengelbrecht.com/work.
Growing up in the in the heart of the Idaho mountains, Josie found her best language was a paintbrush and color. These tools allowed her to express emotion and to connect with the humans in her life. At 18, Josie left the Idaho hills for UCLA, where she studied fine arts and was committed to living not as an isolated artist, but as an invigorated member of the community, using her art to contribute to teams serving a higher cause. While in College, Josie started her own business, managed its online store which features her own art, and amassed a major social media following. Josie's mission in her art is to make people feel comfortable in their own skin and to translate words into visually beautiful, richly imaginative paintings.
Diante Singley is a writer/director from Los Angeles, CA. He graduated from Stanford University in 2014, where he studied psychology and film. While at Stanford, he directed dozens of short films and was an avid member of the Stanford Film Society. Since graduating, he has gone on to work for CBS Films, QED International, and Animal Planet, as well as freelancing on various features as an Assistant Cameraman. Currently, Diante works the assistant to Film Director, Eli Roth. He has worked on theatrical released feature films such as Knock Knock, The Green Inferno, and Death Wish. Most recently, in conjunction with Amblin Entertainment, he worked on the feature film "The House With A Clock In Its Walls", staring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. To see his portfolio, head over to www.diantesingley.squarespace.com
Stationed at Hans Zimmer's Remote Control Productions in Santa Monica, Freddy currently works with acclaimed composer James S. Levine (Glee, American Horror Story, Bloodline). Holding music credits on hit TV shows Major Crimes and Instinct, Freddy also writes for Extreme Music's expansive library, as well as his personal music project, Arswain. He earned a pair of Bachelor's degrees in Music and Political Science from Stanford University, having spent a summer abroad composing and producing under the supervision of renowned professor and composer, Mark Applebaum. He also served as Director of the Stanford Concert Network and Music Chair of Stanford Students in Entertainment. Earlier in his Stanford tenure, Freddy pitched for Stanford's baseball team and was drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 25th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. www.freddyavismusic.com
A graduate of Fordham University’s Theatre Performance and Directing department, Olivia most recently featured in the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival-qualifying feature Radium Girls. Additionally, she has also starred in Paulo Sorrentino’s HBO series, The Young Pope and the Will Ferrell-produced FOX show, LA to Vegas.
Drew is an actor, based in Los Angeles, represented by Endorse Management Group and CESD. He graduated from Fordham University at Lincoln Center, NYC, with a BA in Theatre Performance and Directing. Drew is originally from Manchester, England, where he first discovered his love for theatre at the age of 10. He moved to Houston, Texas in 2005, where he performed in many plays and musicals at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Theatre Under The Stars, The Masquerade Theatre, and others. His bizarre accent is largely due to the polar-opposite nature of the first two places he lived - but don't worry, he can get rid of it if you need him to. After graduating HSPVA, he moved to New York City to attend the Fordham University Theatre Program, where he had the opportunity to work with Artists such as Kenny Leon, Tina Benko, Denzel Washington, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Daniel Alexander Jones.
Mike is a proud Bostonian, whose recent television appearances include Shameless, Chicago Fire and Fox’s 9-1-1. He can also be seen in such films as Hallmark’s Romance at Reindeer Lodge and The Assault, for the Lifetime Network. He believes Aladdin is the best Disney Classic and is willing to argue about it until further notice. For Whitebeard.
A.B. is a comedian, voice artist, actor, and writer originally from the South Shore of Massachusetts, and represented by Muse Management and Green&Green Talent Agency. She has opened for some major headliners like Carlos Mencia, Tig Notaro, and Bill Burr. Having graduated from the University of Redlands with a B.A. in the Art of Storytelling, she now lives in Los Angeles, and has just finished touring as the feature for one of California's hottest comedians, Jeff Garcia. You can also catch her performing at the Laugh Factory every month, or hosting her own regular show at The Mint. In addition to stand-up, A.B. is currently starring in several award-winning web series including: Treading Yesterday, Down and Out, and Neurotica. You can also catch her as the pensive triangle player, Beth, in the new independent feature, Trust and Other Lies, or as herself in the new Jenna Laurenzo feature Lezbomb.
Harry has been acting since he was 9 years old. He had hoped that finding success on stage, and developing charm and presence and comedic timing would make him attractive, and 9 year old Harry was really ugly. At least that's what his chief rivals told him. But it wasn't long until his shallow pursuit turned into something more, and he fell in love with performing on a sincere level. Getting his hands on as many projects as he could every year, and graduating from Fordham University with a double major in acting and directing, he's performed in more than 60 plays, films, and web series. He has come to wholeheartedly believe in the place storytelling has in our society, by shaping our assumptions, creating our myths, and hopefully making people feel more alive. When he's found a project he believes in, he's happy to work as whatever cog is necessary in the story-machine. Obviously he would prefer the cog to be attractive, charming, and with great comedic timing. Usually he has to settle for the comedic timing.
Lia Hamilton works in her school’s film club and has created short narrative films for the past two years (2016-2018). In the summer of 2018 she worked for THEM, a film production company, as their campaign and studio assistant. Lia has a general interest in the creation of films, but is more interested in marketing of the videos and the production side of film industry. In the next year Lia hopes to gain more experience working in film production.