What Daphne Saw
Set in a dystopian future where criminals are reprogrammed to be voiceless, unquestioning servants to the wealthy, What Daphne Saw sheds light on the silencing of victims and asks the question, what does justice really mean?
Inclusion StatementThis film focuses on a perspective rarely told: that of a complex woman with a dark past. We don't often see a woman as the anti-hero. This story will be told by a crew that is at least 50% women and people of color, perspectives that have traditionally been limited on and off screen.
About The Project
In the future, capital punishment has been abolished. Violent criminals are reprogrammed into unquestioning servants, their free will and ability to speak taken away. A young woman endures her punishment of servitude in a seemingly normal professional man's home, where she discovers dark secrets.
Who is Daphne?
What was her crime? Does she deserve this punishment? Daphne’s character purposely brings about these questions and those of morality. The mystery of Daphne unravels throughout the story and the audience is left to judge what justice is.
Previously overflowing prison systems are in the past, productivity is at a high and crime is at a low: an evolved society progressing towards a violence-free world that humanely punishes criminals, turning them into productive citizens through experimental brain-altering technology. However, it is through Daphne's eyes that we see the flaws within this outwardly perfect society.
Communal Nightmares Rally—the competition is on!
This project is part of the Communal Nightmares rally, a competition to discover and support new filmmakers telling “innovative, poignant and eerie genre stories.” The grand prize is $25,000 toward producing a feature film, along with professional support and a first-look deal! We need to raise at least $7,500 AND 1,000 campaign followers on Seed&Spark to move to the next round. If this project meets its goal but does not move forward in the Communal Nightmares rally, it will be made as a 12-minute short film; the proposed budget would fully support the short version of the film. However, we hope that What Daphne Saw will come to life as a feature so we can tell this story fully.
Please be sure to click "Follow" on our campaign page! Following this campaign helps us get physical rewards for the film and we must reach 1,000 followers to move forward in the Communal Nightmares rally!
Statement from Writer/Director - Lizz:
What Daphne Saw is a deeply personal exploration for me as a storyteller. The story expresses the feelings of powerlessness and voicelessness I have felt. It also reflects what I have observed regarding objectification, justice (in and out of the criminal justice system), and the treatment of women and children.
Daphne is a character that sees and hears but has no outward free will or expression of her own. Because she has a dark, criminal past, society has cast out and de-humanized her. Daphne is physically forced to hold in the pain and burden of her experiences, internally fighting for her life; she is a prisoner in her own skin.
This story addresses issues of human trafficking, abuse, and justice. The goal in bringing this story to life is to express this voiceless suffering, which is so difficult to convey in words, through the silent character of Daphne. Anyone who has suffered abuse, physically or mentally, has felt voiceless and powerless. With the public momentum of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, now is the time to make a film such as What Daphne Saw. It’s also my way to give voice to many of the voiceless—through a compelling tale of fiction that demonstrates the horror of inhumane treatment of an “outsider,” punishment that has been normalized in society and sanctioned by the state.
Our team values complex roles for women in front of the camera and women in key positions behind the camera. We have a wonderful mix of talented men and women working on this film and we couldn't be more excited. It is imperative to emphasize collaboration between men and women in telling diverse stories to contribute towards a more inclusive, brighter future for filmmaking.
We can’t make this film alone. Our goal is to raise $8,300 or more so that we can produce a movie that not only speaks to social issues but demands equal treatment in the workplace, an end to harassment, and mutual respect between all genders. If you believe in any of these ideals, please help us by contributing. Your contributions will help us to secure the best locations, cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, sound equipment, and props so that we can make a professional film that we hope to run on the festival circuit.
You can also lend a hand by spreading word about our project so that others may follow our cause. Your contributions will help us to secure the best locations, cameras, lenses, lighting equipment, sound equipment, and props so that we can make a professional film that we hope to run on the festival circuit.
$10,000 – Even if we reach our goal, we will be seeking out a lot of favors in order to bring this project to life with the quality it deserves. $10K will ensure that we are able to shoot a full six days (which we really need!). We want to ensure we can shoot this story properly.
$12,500 – Will allow us to pay for visual effects and color grading!
$15,000 – We will donate 5% of total contributions to a charity that advocates for women who have experienced domestic violence and abuse. We also will be able to pay the high fees associated with submitting to festivals, as well as film finishing fees. Woo!
$20,000 – This will ensure that we move forward with the film as a feature instead of a short.
You can also lend a hand by spreading the word about our project so that others may follow our campaign.
Sharing our campaign helps us build an audience. You can follow us on social media (Facebook and Twitter) to share and stay connected! Share your connection to the story with #WhatDaphneSaw and we may feature your post on our social media and in our exclusive digital photo book! @WhatDaphneSaw
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
We are a team of professionals, recent and soon-to-be grads primarily from University of Southern California, where we have worked together and bonded as a crew. Each of us brings passion, experience, and expertise to this film. It is exciting to have a team of both men and women coming together to tell a story that sheds light on the silencing and abuse of women, headed by a strong female director. We are proud to say that we come from a variety of backgrounds and seek to further cultivate a community of diverse storytellers.
Lizz Marshall - Writer/Director
Lizz Marshall is a writer/director who graduated magna cum laude from University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, where she earned her B.A. in film and television production. She aspires to write and direct professionally for film and television. She prefers writing from the perspective of characters that are peculiar or under-represented. She is drawn to the thriller and horror genres and has had a life-long love for sci-fi and fantasy films. Lizz believes these genres provide a creative vehicle for examining difficult subjects and encourages us to question our own world.
As a student filmmaker, Lizz was recognized with competitive awards and scholarships in the areas of writing, directing, editing, and cinematography. As a rising senior, Lizz received the Edward Small Writing and Directing Award from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. At this same time, she also received the Sandy Roberts Memorial Scholarship for Motion Picture Editing. In 2016, she received an award for Best Cinematography in the Scottsdale Short Film Festival for her music video “George,” a song written and performed by Laurel Freeman. Lizz served as director, cinematographer and editor for “George.”
Lizz grew up in Phoenix, Arizona where she attended Arizona School for the Arts, a college prep and performing arts middle/high school. She studied guitar, piano, singing, and theater. She writes music in her spare time and has directed narrative music videos for songs she has written or co-written.
Janelle DeChancie - Producer
Janelle DeChancie is a freelance producer and assistant director based in Los Angeles. Since 2017, she has been an associate producer on Michelle Khare's YouTube channel. This includes the MK ULTRA web series, which has amassed more than 7 million views. Janelle also has worked with companies such as Netflix, the History Channel, and Lifetime.
Marine Delorme - Associate Producer
Marine was born on the French island of Reunion. She graduated from high school with a baccalaureate in literature. At the age of 20, she moved to Los Angeles where she fell in love with filmmaking and subsequently enrolled in the Film and Television Production program at the University of Southern California. In addition to being a writer and director, Marine has developed skills as a producer. She produced a short western that was selected for several local film festivals. Marine served as an associate producer on Lalo's House, directed by Kelley Kali; Lalo’s House won in the short film category at the 2018 Pan African Film Festival. The film centered on two young girls and targeted issues of child kidnapping, trafficking, and corruption in Haiti. Marine is passionate about telling pressing stories that bring awareness to the abuse that still exists in our society.
Brooke Ross - Associate Producer
Brooke Ross is a senior undergraduate studying film and television production at the University of Southern California (USC). Through her connections with classmates and at internships, she has worked both on and behind the scenes of short and feature films. In the winter of 2015, she worked on Susan Johnson’s Carrie Pilby set in New York City as a production assistant. On this set, she honed her skills in communication and problem solving in time-sensitive situations. When she returned to school, she produced her classmate Isaac Deol’s junior thesis project Warm Sweets, which won the Jury Award for the 2017 USC Asian Pacific Film Festival. Since then, Brooke has produced several other projects and was most recently the associate producer on USC seniors’ thesis project Burt and The Wall Children and the producer of her senior cohort’s thesis film Boob Sweat. As an associate producer, she gained experience budgeting, casting, and running a safe, productive set. She attributes her passion for producing a film from development to distribution to the invaluable experience she gained as an intern, which included interning for Christine Vachon’s and Pamela Koffler’s Killer Films as well as for the powerful and fast-paced William Morris Endeavor Entertainment talent agency.
Sevag Chahinian - Director of Photography
Sevag Chahinian is a director of photography who is finishing work toward a B.A. in film and TV production at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. His family hails from Lebanon and Sev was born in the United States, making him a first-generation U.S. citizen. As such, he has been exposed to diverse backgrounds and viewpoints through his family and his travels around the world. At the age of 14, Sev acquired a love for storytelling; he applied himself at a local television studio in Pasadena, CA. He was adamant about learning from the professionals in this small studio and was determined to return every day to learn more. He began his higher education at Pasadena City College, while still working for the studio, and eventually transferred to USC School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) to advance his skills in the industry.
Through his years at USC SCA, Sev has worked as a director and director of photography on numerous projects ranging from small scale (with skeleton crews) to major productions. He has worked on graduate thesis films that have won multiple awards on the festival circuits. Most recently, he was a cinematographer on one of four theses films produced each semester at USC.
With his bold vision to push the boundaries in his visuals and storytelling, Sev continues on his path of being a cinematographer and director as he seeks to bring joy and true meaning to the world through his films.
Christina Gonzalez - Sound Designer
Christina Gonzalez is a freelance sound designer and field recordist in the Los Angeles area. Some of her most recent work includes sound design for Michelle Khare's superhero web series MK ULTRA; for the "My Annabelle Creation" contest winner The Nurse, hosted by New Line Cinema; and for various independent feature films including Cardinal Matter directed by Madeline Puzzo and Back for Good directed by Bailey Donovan.
When she is not locked up in her cave creating weird sounds and bringing new stories to life, she is on the field collecting sounds and samples, or working with various artists. Some of those artists include Ed Sheeran and Rita Ora, Rebecca Black, Miles McKenna, Shannon Beveridge, and Issa Twaimz. She also has a background in reality TV with HGTV's Restored by the Fords, WWE's Ride Along, and Friday Night Tykes: Steel Country.
Alex Winkler - Composer
Alex Winkler is a film composer and songwriter living in Los Angeles, as well as a 2017 graduate of University of Southern California’s (USC's) prestigious Masters program in Screen Scoring. Since graduation, he has scored two feature films, including the musical feature Nanay Ko, as well as dozens of short films and commercials. Recent notable projects include the viral YouTube star Michelle Khare’s hit series MK ULTRA as well as viral horror shorts from director Julian Terry (Whisper, The Nurse). Aside from his work on films, commercials and web series, Alex is an experienced jazz pianist, composer, and arranger as well as a music producer in pop genres.
Before entering the world of film music, Alex worked professionally as a jazz pianist, rock bassist and drummer in Houston, Texas. In the midst of his academic life, his curiosity for musical theater led him to collaborate with playwright Eric Jones to create LIBERATORS: a New Musical. After completing his degree in classical music composition from the University of Houston, Alex took his diverse musical talents to the NYU ASCAP Film Scoring Workshop in 2015 where he was recognized as one of ASCAP’s “Composers to Watch in 2015.” Taking that experience and professional connections with him, Alex was able to attend the USC film scoring program, the highest institution for film music. Since then, he has been a happy and prolific member of the young film community in Los Angeles, always eager to test his boundaries and expand his collaborative skillset.
Ally Blush - Costume Designer
Ally Blush is a full-time student at Mesa Community College working toward her Associates in Arts. She is a passionate creative, skilled in various visual arts. She’s found an outlet that combines her artistic endeavors and her love for fantasy. At the age of 13, Ally began creating costumes through things she had around, re-creating her favorite characters from movies and video games. Currently, she creates elaborate costumes by request and even designs and creates her own costumes as well. This will be her first project costume designing for film and she is extremely excited to join the team.