Inclusion StatementThis project centers the immigrant experience and will feature strong performances from Latinx actors in all but one role. Cast and crew comprise a mix of LGBTQ folks and allies. And the writer/director is a woman, directing an action sci-fi that features powerful moments from both men and women.
About The Project
A jaded Border Patrol agent and his fresh-faced partner are bantering about the ethics of immigration when a comet rockets across the sky, and a call from base interrupts their conversation: Ground triggers have been tripped. Time to track down the interlopers.
But they’re not the only ones in pursuit: an alien arrived with that comet. Slender, androgynous, and child-like, it turns its wide eyes over the open desert, picking up the heat signatures of a migrant family: a mother, a father, and two young daughters.
As the alien and the agents converge on the family, unknown to each other, a tense hideout turns into an explosive chase.
Who will get there first, and how will it end?
We are living in strange times. The Wall looms as a blunt, brutal allegory - fear and hatred made visible. How could I counter, even a little, the rhetoric of dehumanization happening right in my backyard? Science fiction has long been a sly but powerful conduit for political themes, so I started there. The story would start like a thriller, then lift off and leave the ground, becoming a fable. A fairytale.
Without question, wish fulfillment is at work here: an outsider coming to the aid of underdogs. A small, contained interaction, reframing the debate. I wish it were that simple. But within the scope of a seven-minute short, I hope that at least we are reminded to look into the eyes of the Other with compassion.
The “humanity” of the aliens and the Alien are never in question.
INDIRECT, SILHOUETTE, and BACKLIT – The opening (agents in the truck) is lit warmer and softer, motivated by the glow from their console.
As the action progresses and the family is flushed from the safety of darkness, we move from SILHOUETTES toward HARSH, BRIGHT POOLS OF LIGHT:
During the climactic chase, two distinct styles contrast the forces closing in on the family: BORDER PATROL P.O.V, in NIGHT VISION : (cold, hard, seeing the family as prey)...
And ALIEN P.O.V. “LIFE SIGNATURES” (warm, glowing, seeing the family as life to be protected)
In the final moments of the film, as the Alien sends the family on its way, a peaceful sunrise light leads them onwards.
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About This Team
AMY STARBIN (writer/director) studied drama and literature at Hartwick College and Oxford University before earning an MFA in film production from USC. Her thesis short Milk and Honey won awards for cinematography and acting, as well as a special nod for screenwriting from CineWomen. Her feature dramedy Kelly & Cal starred Juliette Lewis and premiered at SXSW 2014, where it won the Gamechanger Award for first-time director Jen McGowan and was picked up by IFC for distribution. The film’s screenplay received special notice in reviews from Variety to the New York Times. Since then, has Starbin collaborated on the award-winning short Loveology with Project Greenlight finalist Mark Manalo and developed the emotional sci-fi feature I Can Change with actor Michael Nathanson (from the visionary Oklahoma! revival). Her latest project, the indie drama Lilian, is in pre-production with Alfred Molina attached for his directorial debut.
ADAM J. YEEND (producer) is an Australian actor and producer. Trained by actor John Noble (Lord of the Rings, JJ Abrams’ Fringe), Adam has worked extensively on stage and on camera with credits including Lifetime Network's Liz & Dick and ABC's Scandal. Yeend was producer on the hit online horror series Scary Endings which has had over 4 million views on YouTube as well as the viral thriller Skypemare and Brentwood Strangler, which screened at over 25 film festivals winning over 10 “Best Short Film" awards. In 2014, Yeend received critical acclaim for his work in the Australian Theater Company's Los Angeles Production of Holding the Man directed by Larry Moss. Adam also served as co-producer on the indie rom-com Lust for Love starring Dichen Lachman which was distributed by Gravitas Ventures.
SHAWN DUFFY (Sound Designer / Mixer) is a versatile artist and owner of Dufftone Sound, whose work has been heard in films from Sundance to SXSW, Tribeca and Fantastic Fest. From the elevated horror of Darling and Carnage Park to the gonzo gore of Tonight She Comes, the romantic drama of Maura Anderson’s Heartland, and documentary films like Desert Age: A Rock and Roll Scene History, Duffy’s soundscapes have played a vital role in transporting audiences. He’s also had a hand in TV, including titles like sci-fi series Personal Space, the travel/comedy series Chug for National Geographic, and the LGBTQ comedy series BIFL. Last but not least, he’s done sound design and mix on several shorts for Crypt TV, the digital genre network backed by Eli Roth and Blumhouse Productions.
ALICIA GARCIA (marketing and outreach) is an LA-based marketing professional. A recent first-generation college graduate of California State Los Angeles, she deeply values her community and giving back, frequently volunteering for 826 LA and other empowering organizations. An avid reader, art lover and film nut, she is passionate about broadening indie film exposure. Any free time she has is dedicated to Frida, her Beagle-Jack Russell Terrier mix, named after her biggest artistic influence - Frida Kahlo.
TREVOR GARDNER (cast) is an L.A.-based actor with recent credits including American Horror Story (FX), New Girl (FOX), and Return of the Mac (CBS). A true film aficionado, if he's not working on a movie, he’s probably at home studying one (while cuddling his new hubby and their mini-golden retriever!). Trevor is a survivor of gun-related violence and is outspoken in favor of gun control. Through his commitment to volunteer groups and his continued appearances in nationally broadcast public service announcements, Trevor has become a known advocate for those suffering from PTSD and gun-related trauma.
ABRAHAM RODRIGUEZ-SMITH (Graphics and VFX) has over 15 years in motion design and post, with a skillbase extending from concept design and storyboarding to live-action green screen shoots, compositing and motion tracking, all rounded out with a background in fine arts.
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