Dead in the Water

Jacksonville, Florida | Film Feature

History, Satire

Alex Willemin

1 Campaigns | Florida, United States

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This campaign raised $13,075 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

34 supporters | followers

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Dead in the Water is the (mostly) true story of failed French settlements in the US. While set in 1562, the themes of betrayal, self-reflection and absolution are just as relatable today. If that doesn’t sound fun, a reanimated corpse and psychedelic mushroom trip should be good for a laugh.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Dead in the Water is a story about our hometown, our collective history, and ourselves. This film tells the exceptionally human story of Florida's earliest immigrant experience, and provides students the opportunity to work alongside and learn from professionals on a feature film set.

The Story

In 1562, Claude, a lone French Huguenot settler, wanders the northern Florida wilderness in search of a place to die. He visits the abandoned quarters of his Commander, Albert, whose throat Claude slit during an uprising just before the other settlers abandoned the camp. While there, Claude retrieves a satchel of highly questionable mushrooms -- the only food left in the deserted settlement -- and notices a carving of an owl-man, or stigini on Albert's desk.

Later that evening, Albert’s corpse reanimates, claiming to have gained immortality from the nearby Fountain of Youth. Despite Claude's apprehensions, Albert persuades him to seek out the Fountain.

What follows is the their darkly comedic, mushroom-fueled journey through the wilderness, and toward a fate neither could have predicted.


Poster design by Nicholas McNally


From the opening scene, Claude takes a practical approach to his own mortality. Facing certain death alone and resourceless in the wilderness of the New World, he decides the only logical plan is to literally crawl into a hole and die. He is so single-minded and resolute that he seems unaware of the miles of tropical beaches and tranquility that surround him.

"The Boneyard" - Little Talbot Island Beach, Jacksonville, FL

What to most would seem a utopia, Claude regards as a wasteland. By turning the lens on Claude and his fellow settlers, we learn that despite the five centuries between us, we humans remain very much the same -- tethered to our loyalties, terrified of the unknown, and yearning to love and be loved.


Dead in the Water is proud to be an official MovieMaker Production Services project. This means we have the unique opportunity to leverage MovieMaker Magazine's broad reach and connections within the industry to help every dollar YOU contribute go as far as it can, and help the completed film reach an even wider audience.

Uncertainty has been a constant theme over the past few years, but one that we feel benefits our film. The outdoor setting and small cast make our project uniquely “Covid-friendly” and simple to adapt for social distancing and safe production protocols. Likewise, our relationship with Jacksonville University and access to high-quality, professional equipment brings with it both practical and budgetary efficiencies that other productions might not enjoy.

Dead in the Water is a weird, wonderful journey through our hometown and our collective history. We’re eager to bring it to life, and excited to share it with you.

Thank you so much for your support!



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Costs $5,000

Help us hire the best crew so that every frame is a work of art.

Craft & Catering

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Supporting Cast Salaries

Costs $5,000

Help us hire the best cast in order to bring these characters to life.

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About This Team

The Crew

Alix Filmworx is Alex and Alina Willemin -- a husband and wife team of independent filmmakers currently based in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Alex, our writer and director, is an accomplished micro-budget filmmaker and Assistant Professor of Film at Jacksonville University. There, he teaches all facets of filmmaking, from screenwriting to post-production.

Ali, our producer, brings over a decade of experience in the marketing and advertising industry and has overseen numerous commercial and independent productions.  

Over the past ten years, we’ve written, produced and directed films that have screened at festivals across our state and around the country. Through our darkly comedic work, we’ve sought to highlight the absurdity in the everyday and the magic of the mundane.

Our previous feature length script, Home, Free, won the award for Best Breakout at the Oaxaca International FilmFest in 2017. Alex's subsequent feature-length screenplay, A Good Man, was named a quarter-finalist for both the 2020 FinalDraft Big Break and Screencraft Comedy Screenplay competitions. With our strong foundation and proven storytelling ability, we feel the time is right to bring our first feature-length project to life. 

 With Dead in the Water, we see the opportunity to tell an exceptionally human and uniquely Floridian story.

Logan Miller, our director of photography, is a sought-after television and film professional who brings more than 15 years of experience behind the camera. He began his career as a camera operator at a local Jacksonville TV station while also working in the freelance commercial and documentary production industries. Over the last decade, he has contributed to a wide variety of projects including Emmy-award winning documentaries, as well as local and national commercial and television campaigns for clients such as NFL Films, PGA Tour Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting and National Geographic.

Logan is a graduate of Florida State University, where he studied communications and filmmaking. His travels to locales such as Zambia, Botswana, Costa Rica, Aruba, and Barbados continue to inspire his passion for film making and photography.

Scott Watkins, our composer, has created music for five feature-length motion pictures and a variety of short films. His very first film score was for the science-fiction short titled Soul in the Machine, in which Watkins used a toy piano to identify a lonely, father-less child. His features include works by directors Carolina Conte and Mark O’Brien.

He is a member of the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association, the College Music Society, and The Society for American Music. His recent compositional interests are focused on recreating music of radio drama of the 1930s to 1950s, especially music heard in the Lux Radio Theater, then composed by Louis Silvers and Robert Armbruster.

Watkins is Professor of Music at Jacksonville University where he teaches piano, and has produced five vintage radio dramas. 

The Cast

Tyler Graham (as Claude) is an accomplished actor with work in film, television and theatre. Notable credits include roles on television series such as Orange Is The New Black, Deadbeat, Mr. Robot, and The Deuce. He has also trained and worked with the acclaimed New York-based improv company, Upright Citizens Brigade.

Tyler earned a BFA in Performing Arts from Jacksonville University, with a focus in Acting, and continued his studies overseas attending the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where he earned a MFA in Classical Acting.  

Tyler is currently an Assistant Professor at Kennesaw State University, and member of the Georgia Ensemble Theatre. There, he developed an Advanced Teen Ensemble course that produces original devised plays that he co-writes with his students.  The class has received acclaimed attention from the Georgia Council of Arts and was also the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) grant. 

Erik DeCicco (as Albert) is an award-winning actor with credits spanning film, television, and theatre in both New York City and Northeast Florida, including the original Sam Pitt-Stoller musical: Jump Man! A Mario Musical, winner of Best Musical at the 2014 New York Fringe Festival, and the AMC TV series, The Making of the Mob.

Other theatre credits Include: Showboat, Beauty and the Beast, Big River, Amadeus, Next to Normal, and Dividing the Estate (in collaboration with Hallie Foote).

A Jacksonville native, Erik is an alumnus of Stanton College Prep, Jacksonville University, and the University of Lousiville, where he earned an MFA in Acting. He is a proud member of Actors' Equity.

Dead in the Water is a story about our hometown and our collective history. We’re eager to bring it to life, and excited to share it with you all. 

Current Team