The BLDG: Five Stories of Horror
We are crowdfunding to bring to life the first of five chilling stories, all set in the same creepy building, that make up our anthology film The BLDG... The tale of an aged janitor who fights the spread of an infectious goo that threatens to take over not just the premises, but his very life.
Inclusion StatementWe are a team of creators who come from very diverse experiences, made up of women and men of different nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Moving forward, we plan to foster behind-the-camera inclusiveness in terms of gender, race, and age, as well as representing those varied POVs on screen.
About The Project
Featuring a diverse set of voices unified by a creative vision of life in New York City, The BLDG: Five Stories of Horror transforms the turmoil and anxiety dominating the news and the everyday urban grind into a shared cinematic experience. These five chilling stories are all set in the same creepy building, where dark forces seemingly bring about the manifestation of its residents' worst fears.
Rather than attempting to go into production on all five segments at once, we are crowdfunding to complete the first of five shorts that make up our anthology: In the Bowels of the Building—a major step toward making the feature a reality, and one that will open routes to additional fundraising and collaborations down the line. Won't you join us in The BLDG?
The BLDG originated with members of the Filmshop collective, united by their love of the horror genre and coming together with the goal of creating a fun and unconventional omnibus film that would transcend some of the tropes we were used to seeing on screen. Taking inspiration from classic supernatural anthologies and films like Trilogy of Terror, Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath, and Rosemary’s Baby, as well as contemporary horror such as the V/H/S series or XX, we set out to make something that was both entertaining and driven by a real artistic vision, a film whose appeal might reach beyond the genre’s usual presumed viewership, horror fans or otherwise. We also decided to focus specifically on tales of the supernatural and the uncanny, rather than slasher fare that relied too heavily on gore, blood and guts. (Though we will say a couple of our films do include just the teensiest, most tasteful smattering of blood.)
We approached this with same spirit of collaboration that defines the Filmshop community at large, committed to developing new work through peer support. Taking a page from the Collective: Unconscious dream anthology, we deliberately opted not to have writers adapt their own work for the screen but rather choose a director from among the rest of the team, to allow room for more of us to participate and make for a more exciting and invigorating creative process.
We came up with a set of five stories that would function as stand-alone pieces all set in the same location, a creepy New York City building, and loosely connected by a handful of recurring characters.
We're excited to kick things off with In the Bowels of the Building, in which an aged janitor fights the slow spread of an infectious goo that threatens to take over the building, if not his own life.
This is the film we will be making first, with the funds raised from this campaign!! Our aim is to go into production in fall 2018.
A building is a body as well as a hierarchy. At the bottom of the building is the bottom of the body, and the bottom of the hierarchy. What happens at the bottom is not what the top wants to see. Thus there is a potential for body horror in the bowels of a building.
–Dane Benko, Writer, In the Bowels of the Building
The universe is a maddening place. Its mysteries swallow you unprovoked and unexplained. You can try to fight it, try to understand it, but in the end its power over you is its indifference. It has a will and a way and you are merely in its way. In those times surrender to madness is your best defense.
–Nikolai Basarich, Director, In the Bowels of the Building
The other four films that make up our anthology are...
I’m Not Myself Today:
After incurring the ire of a strange and belligerent family, an overworked social worker realizes that the case she’s been assigned might come with a curse.
This is a changeling story centered around a parent-child relationship–for many of us, a particularly emotionally fraught bond. I wanted to show the threat of the occult and the alien “other” originating with an Anglo family for a change, as the Latina protagonist is faced with warding off this uncanny menace.
–Nina Gielen, Writer, I'm Not Myself Today
There’s a whiff of sawdust and the sound of bristle in Nina’s script that reminds me of the wooden magical realism behind Little Otik. But beyond the ambience, I’m Not Myself Today is a social realist story that contains a transgressive transformation on the neglected margins of society.
–Dane Benko, Director, I'm Not Myself Today
A hipster UPS deliveryman encounters a middle-aged woman, obsessed with collecting, as he delivers his last package of the night.
Inspired by Ten Little Indians and the recent craze of Pokemon Go, The Collector explores the obsession of having what we can’t have and how far a collector will go to “collect them all.” What is the true value of the objects we covet and the divide between those who can afford to get what they want and those who are at their whim?
–Heather Taylor, Writer, The Collector
I love that Heather’s story confers agency onto an older woman, with a young guy as the object of desire, seduction and/or menace, we’re not quite sure which. It’s funny and disturbing and flips the script on the idea of Hollywood being built on the body of a beautiful dead woman.
–Nina Gielen, Director, The Collector
My Angel of Death:
A deranged artist chases a seductive image of Death through his drawings and his nightmares, in turn evading guilt and punishment.
What is it like to go into the psyche of a person who experienced a traumatic event? How does isolation and guilt chew away at a person’s senses, especially a character like an artist who is driven by a vivid imagination?
–Danny Kim, Writer, My Angel of Death
It’s dark, cold, and lonely. An isolated and troubled young artist deals with his manic paranoia–but what’s real, what’s not? We’ll play with this idea throughout to put the audience in that same state of mind while also exploring the relationship of those who take advantage of the added creativity the deeper his mind sinks.
–David Wittlin, Director, My Angel of Death
Sushi Belly Tower:
A ten-course underground sashimi party goes into disarray as guests start hallucinating after consuming a mythical fish.
Below the surface of rationality rage impulses barely held down by social norms. We wanted to explore the thin veneer of “polite society,” so we wrote about an upscale dinner party where a simple chemical reaction from a rare and endangered fish sends normal people into animalistic and psychedelic hysteria.
–T. Shay & Nicholas Heet, Co-Writers, Sushi Belly Tower
We love vivid phantasmagoria that brings crazy experiences to the screen. We’re inspired by movies such as vintage giallo and Japanese extreme that mix graphic horror tropes with sensationalist colors and editing for a chaotic all-out assault of the senses.
–Nicholas Heet & T. Shay, Co-Directors, Sushi Belly Tower
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About This Team
Nikolai Basarich (Director, In the Bowels of the Building)
Nikolai is a writer/director of feature screenplays, short fiction and commercial content. His eclectic work spans fantasy/sci-fi, adrenaline fueled road adventures, and quiet personal coming of age. Living in New York, by way of LA, he creates under the cinematic axiom: "Things need not be real to be true.” His current projects include a short sci/fi Noir, and River Realm–a YA fantasy epic series journeying to the underworld and back again. He is an organizer for and former chapter co-leader of Filmshop.
Dane Benko (Writer, In the Bowels of the Building; Director, I’m Not Myself Today)
Dane is the post-production supervisor and head editor at The Skin Deep, a creative studio focused on human connection in the digital era. His previous work has included production and post-production work in television, feature film, and transmedia productions from Albuquerque, New York, and Dubai. He is also an independent director of over six short films and a webseries, a glitch artist, and photographer.
Nina Gielen (Writer, I’m Not Myself Today; Director, The Collector)
Nina is a writer, director, and producer whose short films have been shown at festivals in the USA and abroad. Her supernatural drama Arts and Crafts is currently streaming on Seed&Spark. Nina’s first feature project Magic Window (now in development) was selected for participation in NYWIFT’s From Script to Preproduction Lab and the Filmshop collective’s juried Breakthrough Series, advanced to the 2nd round of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and was a ScreenCraft Film Fund quarterfinalist. She is a chapter co-leader of Filmshop and a member of New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT), Cinefemme, NYC Women Filmmakers, and IFP.
Zach Griffin (AD, editor, producer, tbd)
Zach is writer, director, and editor based in New York, NY. He has worked on set of several features and network TV shows in the AD department. He loves genre films, especially horror and sci-fi. His most recent horror short, The Closet, is currently in its festival run.
Nicholas Heet (Co-writer & co-director, Sushi Belly Tower)
Nicholas is a Brooklyn-based writer/editor. He is a four-year member of the Brooklyn-based Filmshop collective and director of shorts such as At Swim Two Birds, Luncheon of the Boating Party, and Champions of the Deep. His fondness for esoteric cinema and behind-the-back-alley folk narratives informs his literary filmmaking style.
Danny Kim (Writer, My Angel of Death)
Danny is a screenwriter, director, and game designer based in Brooklyn, NY, who tells engaging stories through video games and immersive media. Danny loves horror and sci-fi, and dreams of one day surviving the zombie apocalypse.
Heather Taylor (Writer, The Collector)
Heather is a writer and director. Her first feature, The Last Thakur, premiered at the London Film Festival in 2008 and had its cinematic, television and DVD releases in the UK. Her short documentary Wild West Dream was an official selection for the Atlantic Film Festival and the Edmonton International Film Festival and she was commissioned to contribute to the Museum of Broken Relationships. Her sci-fi web series Raptured has had over a million views through the distributor, Koldcast. Heather is currently working on her next feature film and her short horror film, Stitched, is on the festival circuit.
David Wittlin (Director, My Angel of Death; Producer, In the Bowels of the Building)
David is a producer, director, and editor—with a jack-of-all trades mindset—based in New York City. Through his production company, Rocketship Creative, Inc., he's produced work for Fortune 500 companies, start-ups, and non-profit organizations. He's filmed in Africa while shooting for Helen Keller International for a web documentary, produced and edited a commercial spot for the International Rescue Committee that played on the Times Square Nasdaq billboard during the 2014 New Year’s ball drop, and seen his work win both Webby Honors and ASME awards for multiple clients. He recently edited the short film Obligation, currently going through a festival run, and is set to begin post/vfx on a feature documentary.