I Could Just Die, and That Would Be All Right
A short film that aims to start conversations about mental health and the toll mental illness takes on us and those around us. Inspired by lived experiences, I COULD JUST DIE, AND THAT WOULD BE ALL RIGHT is an eerie, empathic fairy tale about learning to feel alive--even if you're not.
Mission StatementThe horror genre provides a uniquely effective space for people to process stigmatized subjects like suicide by holding up a lens to what truly terrifies us. The only way to break stigma is to speak up. We are committed to telling this story because we believe it has the power to change stigma.
About The Project
This is the most personal film I've ever made.
Of course, all of my films are personal. But I'm usually able to hide behind the genre lens. In this case, the genre lens is a giant magnifying glass.
This film was born during a dark time in my life when I would go to a nearby neighborhood late at night to run and be alone. As I ran I'd cry, and I'd think about how disturbing it would be to drive past a woman jogging in the dark while sobbing. The image in my mind was so absurd it was comical. But doing that every night saved me. I wrote the script trying to work through my feelings, and never truly planned to make it into a film. But when I shared it with my friend and DP Alexandra Bock, she called me immediately and said, "We have to make this. It's important."
So here I am not just making the film, but crowdfunding it. That means I'm telling everyone about what was going on inside my head. And it's terrifying. But Alex was right--it's important.
Working as an interviewer for a campaign to destigmatize mental health disorders, I learned that in order to eliminate stigma, the most radical and powerful thing we can do is talk about it. It's not shameful to be depressed. It's not weak to admit it. We all have mental health, and if we don't take care of it, we're all liable to go to dark places.
So if you feel this way, you're not alone. If you've spent time thinking deeply about death and idealizing it, you're not alone. It could be environmental, hereditary, caused by medical issues, or a complete mystery. In the end, it doesn't matter why. What matters is that you're not alone.
We're so passionate about this film that we pooled our resources and spent one long night shooting a trailer with the most fantastic filmmaker friends anyone could ask for. We can't wait to share it with you when our campaign reaches the 35% funding goal!
Deep in the bosom of Southern Gothic suburbia lives a woman who wants to die.
She turns away from her perplexed husband to the suicide hotline, asking her smart home device for advice, and obsessively running in the dark while crying.
When she realizes a violent creature roams her neighborhood late at night, she offers herself up to it and is torn to shreds. The next day she wakes up, not quite alive but not quite dead either, and not quite sure she can ever die now.
As the epiphany strikes that she may now be immortal, The Runner begins to inexplicably feel better--stronger, empowered, as though her new state has medicated her mind as well as reinforced her body.
However, this comes at a price--she must consume blood to stay strong. The Husband, always well-intentioned but woefully misguided, works out a plan for her to drink his blood, literally draining him of his life force.
A semi-autobiographical suburban fairy tale that explores how mental illness affects us and our loved ones.
Sensitive and wounded, our Runner has all the things we're supposed to have to be happy: A doting spouse, a big, nice house, a manicured lawn--but there's still something deeply wrong. The more she tries to push it down inside, the more violently it bubbles to the surface.
Well-intentioned but misguided, The Husband wants nothing more but to be supportive and solve all his wife's issues. After a past trauma regarding hospitalization, he is desperate to ensure she isn't taken away to treatment, and believes that if he just makes their home happy enough, her problems will be solved.
In most horror fims the tension is built in the moments we spend waiting for the monster to appear, then we lose it all as soon as we nally see the monster. Nothing can be as frightening as what we build in our imaginations. In this film, we have a fully-fleshed monster with its own mythology, and though its actor will have his own "monster suit," we will resist the urge to show it fully for very long.
Through a combination of practical effects and lighting, we will also transform our lead actress into her own version of the monster.
As a Set Decorator, I build worlds for my day job! It's my favorite part of filmmaking. We are mixing a grounded internal world with a magical outside world. Whimsical wallpaper patterns and fabric textures will help us connect to the fairy tale tone, but the home must not call too much attention to itself; the color palette inside is almost monochromatic.
By day, the cul-de-sac where our perfect house sits is full of children on trikes, men mowing lawns, and prancing golden retreivers.
By night, the neighborhood and our Runner's home are desolate and shadowed.
The magical realism tone will be infused with the Southern Gothic characteristics of dark humor, angst, and the grotesque nestled in an idyllic landscape.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, "more than half of people with mental illness don't receive help for their disorders."
Stigma perpetuates a culture of discrimination against people with mental illness and causes them to hide from those who could help them recover. Many do not even know recovery is possible because they've never received any education about mental health.
We want to be part of the conversation in destigmatizing mental health issues.
As crew members ourselves, we know that the pandemic has been tough on film workers. Many of us lost work. 40% of our budget is going towards cast and crew pay. We plan to go heavy on the pre-production so that once we get on set, everything will move smoothly and we won't overwork anyone.
We are taking Covid precautions very seriously. Our plan is as follows:
- Vaccination required for all cast and crew who are medically able
- PCR testing will be administered pre- and mid-shoot
- Masks will be required
- A sanitation station will be in every location
- Meals and crafty will be individualized
- Social distancing during meals will be required
- We will have a Covid officer on set at all times
Help us build a community around this film! So much love and development has gone into this story and the mythology around it. Be part of its creation!
Please consider financially partnering with us to help us achieve our goal. Take a look at our wishlist and decide which individual goal you'd like to help us achieve, or choose an incentive that excites you.
Spread the word so we can build a larger audience! We think this film can be super important for a lot of people, but only if it reaches them.
Use the WishList to pledge cash and loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an incentive directly.
About This Team
A.K. Espada, Writer/Director A writer, director, and production designer whose obsession with horror is only surpassed by her love for indie filmmaking. Recent films include "LAUNDRY NIGHT," which was awarded a Special Jury Prize at Brooklyn Horror Film Festival; "IN SILENCE," for which she was nominated for Best Director of a Short Film at SoHo International Film Festival; and "JUST ANOTHER PLACE," which won Best Film in Atlanta Magazine’s “Where I’m From” contest.
Alexandra Bock, Cinematographer Alex and A.K. previously worked together on the short film "THIS IS OUR HOME," where Alex proved to be a brilliant collaborator and technical virtuoso. She is the reason that the film went from being a tiny project with a nonexistent crew to the robust professional result that was achieved. Other credits include an upcoming narrative short starring actor Camrus Johnson (CW's "BATWOMAN") and the "BABY" music video for the band Karaoke.
Kevin Wall, Executive Producer Produced projects for New Balance, Vogue x Pandora and Conde Nast, and art produced Kanye West’s Sunday Service performance in Atlanta. As a producer with a strong art department background, Kevin is a perfect compliment to A.K.’s priority for worldbuilding.
Landon Kovalick, Creative Producer and G&E Consultant Local 479 Grip and Electrician with 11 years of industry experience who has worked on features, commercials, and TV for everyone from Netflix, Marvel, BET, Universal Music Group, Vice, Statefarm and New Balance. Landon has worked with Alexandra many times, and they have developed a visual shorthand that will help our shoot run smoothly.
Diana Robertson, Creature Designer An award-winning artist based in North Florida whose work primarily discusses mental health through the use of creature puppets in film and performance mediums. She is an awarded participant of the first and only Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge LIVE! and recipient of the Xperimental Puppetry Theater 2020 Director Grant. Her latest works are currently hanging in the Center for Puppetry Arts's Masterpiece of Puppetry: Jim Henson's "THE DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE" special exhibition.
Belén Ferrer, Editor A Local 700 member, Belén got her start as an editing apprentice on "THE AMERICANS" (FX.) She has Assistant Edited "TIGERTAIL" (Netflix,) "GENIUS: ARETHA" (NatGeo/Disney+,) and is currently working on Jeff Daniels-led series "AMERICAN RUST" (Showtime.) Most importantly, Belen is a frequent collaborator with A.K. and together they wrote and directed the short film "THE TROUBLE WITH ONE-NIGHT STANDS," which premiered at Dragon*Con Film Festival in 2018. Belen is the first person A.K. sends any script to for feedback, and she has been part of the process of creating "I Could Just Die" since the beginning.