New vampire Selene goes out with a guy she met on a dating app in order to make her first kill… but killing is scary, and men are scarier. Blistering and stylish, SANGUISUGA is a dark fantasy for the modern age. And as for dating apps, the film has one thing to say: be careful who you match with.
Mission StatementSANGUISUGA is about predators. Made-up ones: vampires prowling the night, searching for their next target. And then some very real ones: men prowling dating apps, searching for targets as well. Through the film we aim to explore the nature of power, fear, and that which is truly monstrous.
About The Project
SANGUISUGA: Latin, noun. Meaning: Bloodsucker.
SELENE sits on her bed, clutching her phone and eyes glued to what’s on the screen: MATCHMAKER, the current most popular dating app. Entranced, Selene swipes, bubble lettering and cartoon hearts dancing around heavily filtered images of the many “eligible” bachelors of Los Angeles. She swipes right. She swipes right again. She swipes right on every single guy that comes up on the app.
But Selene’s not looking for a boyfriend.
A new message pops up: “dinner at 8. My treat.” It’s from some guy named TYLER, cute and cocky and maybe kinda creepy if his photos and messages are any indication. Selene responds: “yes.” He’ll do.
Going out with a strange guy from the internet is always risky, and Selene is afraid. But then again, maybe she shouldn’t be. Maybe, for once in his life, Tyler should be afraid.
Selene is a vampire. Tyler isn’t.
SANGUISUGA is the story of SELENE, a young woman nearing the end of her vampiric transformation. There’s only one thing left to do: feed. Armed with a profile on a dating app, she secures a “date” with TYLER, a good looking guy who doesn’t think twice about inviting a strange girl he’s never met over to his apartment. Should be easy, right? Except Selene has never killed before, and Tyler might not have the best of intentions.
A contemporary take on a classic genre, SANGUISUGA is a dark and sexy film that aims to explore the way women navigate a world where danger lurks in every corner, and where men never see danger coming.
What do men fear? Monsters. What do women fear? Men.
Be careful who you match with.
DYLAN FOX loves vampires. She loves them so much that she’s been a vampire for Halloween seven times. As an artist, she’s always skewed towards the dark and twisted—an acting coach once typecast her as a “zombie ingenue” (that was a compliment, right? …RIGHT!?) so it’s fitting that besides writing and directing SANGUISUGA, she will also be starring as our vampire anti-hero SELENE.
RYNIER GAFFNEY, in contrast, used to be afraid of the dark, and he couldn't watch horror films until adulthood. And now he's in a horror film! As a professional Los Angeles-based actor, his roles tend to exude a devious quality, which makes him perfect for the role of our playboy schmuck, TYLER.
The cinematographer is Solomon Zivot—his credits include PBS and Fox, and he’s a Canadian with a heart of gold and maple syrup. Then we have producer Emily Ward, a Seed and Spark veteran who was a key component to the team that raised over $60,000 for fellow female-led horror project FACE ON. Her expertise has thus far proven invaluable to our team… and her recipe for fake blood? Fire.
As to the rest of the crew, we’ve assembled a group of diverse young filmmakers—each bringing their own unique skillsets to the production. Check out “The Team” tab at the top to read more!
SANGUISUGA is RAW meets PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN meets… blood sucking vampires.
Our vision draws inspiration from other twisted female-led horror films that we admire, such as TITANE, UNDER THE SKIN, MIDSOMMAR, RAW, and PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, otherwise known as the “good for her!” genre. We want to create something saturated and striking, with rich and colorful lighting. Dark and dramatic, stylized and stylish. Eye candy, really.
Below is a visual reference to scenes in SANGUISUGA.
We’ve got a plan, and it’s a dynamite one.
Filming will last six days, February 17-22 in Los Angeles. As soon as possible after we will begin the post-production process of editing, color-correcting, orchestrating music, etc. We plan to be done with post by August, at which point we begin submitting to festivals. We will be aiming for acceptance into shorts festivals, horror festivals, and some of the big ones, such as TIFF, SXSW, etc. A tall order, but we know we can do it.
That’s not the end of it, though: while this script is a short, if we have a successful festival run, we’ll be looking at SANGUISUGA: THE FEATURE FILM in no time.
So you like stylish arthouse-y horror films: check. You like female-led modern day vampire films: check. You’ve gone out with someone you met on a dating app and it turned out you two had totally different expectations—you wanted a date, and she wanted to suck out all your blood until you were a lifeless body on the floor: check…? Okay, maybe not that one, but if you’ve been recently single then you probably know the pain of swiping on Tinder all day long until your thumbs go numb.
The point is if any of these things appeal to you; you’re a fan of horror, or want to see fresh take on the “modern dating” genre, or simply want to support a team of young filmmakers, then we want you to join us on this journey!
To reach our goal of $10,000 we need pledges, and every little bit counts. If you’re not in a position to contribute right now then a like and a follow right here on our Seed&Spark page would be wonderful. The more likes and follows we get, the more Seed&Spark helps us spread the word, so once again, every little bit counts!
To MAKE A PLEDGE, FOLLOW, and LIKE, scroll up to the top of this page and look for the buttons on the right-hand side of our pitch video.
Please help us spread the word by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter, where you can find stuff like behind-the-scenes photos, updates, and screenshots of Selene’s conversations on the dating app Tinder.
Yes, you read that right: SELENE is on TINDER!
We made Selene a Tinder profile and did exactly what she does in the film: swiped right on every single guy. This was as an experiment to see how difficult it would be for Selene to get men to ask her to come over (so she can drink their blood, but they don’t know that) in as few messages as possible. Spoiler alert: it was really easy.
We’ll be posting screenshots of those conversations to our social media, with all identifying information hidden, of course. It’s amazing how many guys will give their home addresses to a complete stranger! Don’t do it, dummies! Always meet up in public first! You never know who wants to kill you!
You can also show your support by sharing our campaign to your social media, email, LinkedIn, whatever way you want! Feel free to use one of our templates:
Help a team of talented young filmmakers by supporting the film SANGUISUGA, about a young vampire who uses a dating app to find herself a victim. Join them at seedandspark.com/fund/sanguisuga
I just made a pledge on Seed&Spark to SANGUISUGA, a short film about a young vampire who uses a dating app to find herself a victim. Check it out at seedandspark.com/fund/sanguisuga
Thank you so much for taking your time to see what we have to say, and we hope you'll join us in our journey to make SANGUISUGA a reality. We're dying to share our film with you!
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About This Team
DYLAN FOX - WRITER / DIRECTOR
Dylan Fox is a writer, director and actor, having studied under greats such as Oscar-nominated and Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter Beth Henley and Chicago theatre/film icon Carole Dibo. She’s directed several works such as Kenneth Lonergan’s THIS IS OUR YOUTH, for which she received many accolades, and in 2020 was prepping to star in and direct her dark comedy POST-GRAD (the virus-that-shall-not-be-named has put that plan on hold). Most recently her half-hour pilot script THREE OF SWORDS nabbed finalist and semifinalist placements in several screenwriting competitions. An eager and hungry storyteller, Dylan is ready to sink her teeth into the world of her brain-child, SANGUISUGA.
SOLOMON ZIVOT - DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Solomon Zivot is a cinematographer and gaffer from Toronto, Ontario, schooled at Indiana University, and is now based in Los Angeles. Solomon brings a collaborative spirit, his technical knowledge and creative experiences to a diversified history of productions including narrative, experimental, interviews and multi-camera live shows. Credits including FOX, PBS, and Disney, and known for his unconventional ideas, he stretches limited resources to create a visual story for all audiences. In the past year, he DP’d shorts including DEAR ROBERT, RABID BEASTS, and more.
EMILY WARD - PRODUCER / PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Emily Ward is an experienced short film producer living in LA. With a film degree from Indiana University Media school with a focus in Production Design. She has a passion for producing, building, and designing narratively for the camera. A Hollywood Hoosier at heart, she has a hard work ethic and a go-get 'em attitude. Some of her recent work includes the feature film THE MISEDUCATION OF BINDU and an honorable mention award from the PGA short films competition.
TYLER HABERMAN - SOUND
Tyler Haberman is a sound mixer and boom operator based in Los Angeles. Having a passion for film, he has worked in most departments but has focused his career on sound. Some credits include 1BR, LIGHT AS A FEATHER, and short films/series including WHERE IT HAPPENED, WHERE ARE THEY NOW, and many upcoming projects.
ADAM LEE - LIGHTING
Adam is a freelance cameraman based in Los Angeles with a love for twisted storytelling that unsettles. He believes forcing the viewer to be uncomfortable is the beginning of a learning process that has the power to transcend biased and unconsidered thought patterns. As such he is happy to be on the crew for Sanguisuga!
TONY ZAMARRIPA - FIRST ASSISTANT CAMERA
Antonio Zamarripa is a Camera Assistant based in Los Angeles, California. When not on set Antonio likes to watch movies, read, and write.
REILLY FOX - PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
Reilly Fox was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in theatre design at LMU and will hopefully graduate in 2023. She has a passion for scenic painting but is still trying to figure out her concentration. She's 21 years old and lives in Venice, California with her cat, Pennylane, and her roomies. She is a production assistant for the film and is super excited since this is her first official role on a professional film.
MCKENZIE FINK - LIGHTING ASSISTANT
McKenzie found their passion for lighting in 2016, early in their career at Loyola Marymount University. They are now based in Los Angeles and do freelance lighting work for commercials, shorts, and indie features. They enjoy directing documentaries and working on films in the thriller/horror genre.