Los Angeles, California | Film Short

Fantasy, Horror

Felipe Vargas

1 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $15,485 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

76 supporters | followers

Enter the amount you would like to pledge


ZZZ is a bilingual horror-fantasy film about an illegal business which sells handcrafted dreams and nightmares. The film is a labor of love full of practical effects, mindbending locations, James the TikTok star and a Latino cast! We need your support to finish post. Enter the dreamworld with us?

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

The team behind the acclaimed film MILK TEETH (9M+ views on YouTube, 50+ Film Festivals) now brings you ZZZ - a bilingual horror-fantasy film infused with a rare magical realism nascent to its Latino cast & crew. With your support, we’ll finish this mind-bending dream odyssey this month!

The Story


In this horror / fantasy / science-fiction short film, a guilt-ridden widow hopes to reunite with her deceased husband inside a dream.  She turns to the illegal services of a ‘Sleep Dealer’ who sells hand-tailored dreams... And nightmares.

ZZZ is a twisted take on the sandman.  A dark fantasy world.  An emotional odyssey through one woman's dreams and nightmares.

And if you came from the TikTok, this is James' debut horror film!



With the support of young investors and passionate producers, ZZZ raised the initial funds for production.

The main production has wrapped and was a huge success, involving over 100 cast and crew members across months of preparation and five days of shooting.

But we need your support to get this project to the finish line!  It's a long road ahead and the film requires picture editorial, post sound, color, music, test screenings, pick-up shoots, and ultimately distribution support.

By opening up the film on Seed & Spark, we welcome everyone to be a part of this creative journey with us.

We're offering:

  - Digital packages, including personalized concept artwork of your own dream or nightmare.

  - Prop packages, including costumes and items used in the film.

  - Filmmaker packages, including participation in test screenings and pitching of additional dream scene ideas.

Select your own personalized and handcrafted incentives.  Join the ZZZ Team!



ZZZ is a project born out of a dream three years ago.

The night after I lost my great-aunt, I saw her again.  In a dream in a vast desert, there she was, with her cane and big smile and dimples and doe eyes.  I tried to tell her everything I never had a chance to...

But before I could let my Tía know how much she'd meant to me, I woke up.  This led to the seed of it all:

What if there was a service which could reunite us with our loved ones in hand-crafted dreams?


And who wouldn't want to live in a dream as the pandemic and recession and political divide took hold in 2020, fueling this escapist fantasy.

Wouldn't we all love to step away from it all, diving out of reality into a boundless world of memories and desire?  An endless dream seemed more and more appetizing...  And more dangerous.

What if this dream service was an escape from the pains and hardships of our daily lives?


But the final piece of the puzzle came from my grandmother.  I saw my abuelita deteriorate physically, stuck at home during the pandemic.  She retreated into herself, the chronic pains too much to bear.  The only escape was memories, opiates, and sleep.  Who knew memories and sleep could be so addictive...

What if this dream service was illegal - highly addictive and dangerous - often spiraling into horrific nightmares?



My grandmother also inspired our lead character, Marcela.

ZZZ is one of the first horror or fantasy films to ever spotlight an older Latina protagonist.


Often pushed aside to the role of grandmother or witch, it's so rare to see a nuanced Latina protagonist.  And yet their lives are so often filled with stories, memories, wisdom, loss, and an incredible depth.

If you know any older Latinas who've ever felt unseen or unheard, ZZZ is a film for them.


I look at the women in my life, who's campfire stories, legends, and magical tales shaped the very fabric of this film.

I'm from Colombia, where the stars were guardian angels, the woods were full of monsters, and dreams were messages of the divine.

ZZZ is teeming with the magic and mayhem the director grew up with in Colombia, imbued with the magical realism born in Latin America.

But that love stems beyond the genre - our main cast is entirely made up of Latino and Black actors, who've brought their personal experiences to every moment of this film.

It's so rare to see Latino and Black actors in genre, particularly horror, fantasy, and science-fiction.  We were inspired by what EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE did for Asian-American representation in genre.

Latinos in the US represent 20% of the population (50% of Los Angeles), yet only made up 5% of lead actors in films, 3% of screenwriters, and a measly 2% of directors.

With a film like ZZZ, you can help change the statistics.  You'd be supporting dozens of emerging careers.



More than half the team is composed of University of Southern California Students and Alumni, from Class of 2015 to Class of 2025.

We're blessed to continue to work with our peers from the School of Cinematic Arts.  ZZZ was an opportunity for us to learn from the previous classes and train the upcoming graduating classes.

Supporting ZZZ means you are supporting USC School of Cinematic Arts emerging filmmakers.


Our previous short film MILK TEETH received over 9 Million Views online, and our creature fabricator Kat Wells' behind-the-scenes TikTok received over 20 Million Views!  The film screened at over 50 film festivals, including the best genre fests Sitges, Fantasia, and Fantastic.  The film won DGA and Imagen Awards (nicknamed the Latino Golden Globes), and led to representation with CAA.

We've learned from the process - ZZZ is bigger and even more ambitious.  Join us from an early stage and be a part of this cinematic journey sure to go far!

ZZZ is built by a team with a winning streak and formidable reputation in the industry.



Ultimately, the entire team was brought together by their deep love for horror, dark fantasy, grounded sci-fi, and all things macabre.

In exploring this illegal service of 'Dreamweaving', our characters' darkest desires and most horrible nightmares will emerge.  The process of 'Dreamweaving' itself is horrific, involving child labor, drug processing, and cringe-inducing body horror.  We found inspiration in NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, JACOB'S LADDER, and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM.

ZZZ is a rallying cry for die-hard fans of the horror-fantasy and horror-sci fi genres.  The nightmare's are coming...


World-building in ZZZ was paramount.

Working with revered special effects make up artists, we've created unique looks for the Customers, Dreamweavers, and nightmares.  Everything in this film is handcrafted with an extraordinary level of detail.

From smoke bombs to vacummed eyes to rains of sand, all of the special effects were done in camera.

Our costumes are similarly detailed, thrifted, patched together, and worn down over countless hours to create a terrifying rawness and grime to this world.

My favorite films are ALIEN, THE THING, and PAN'S LABYRINTH.  In camera special effects and detailed SFX make-up always leads to the most authentic worldbuilding.

ZZZ embraces practical effects, prosthetics, and special effects makeup in the vein of the classic horror and sci fi films we grew up with.


ZZZ also shot in the Mojave and Death Valley to capture surreal, dreamlike landscapes.  The incredible cast and crew has survived brutal cold, vicious winds, snow and hail, and an apocalyptic sandstorm.  It's all led to incredible visuals and raw performances.

Now we face our scariest challenge yet - post production and distribution!  We need your support to make this the best it can truly be.

ZZZ is a labor of love - a film which has overcome the elements to craft something special for you.


Thank you for your time and consideration!

Ready to Enter the Dreamworld with us?


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $2,850

Editor's Rate, Assistant Editor's Rate, Hard Drives, Test Screening.


Costs $2,550

Sound Designer Rate, Foley Session, Sound Mix Session.


Costs $1,275

Colorist Rate, Color Session.


Costs $1,580

Visual Effects Supervisor Rate, Visual Effects Artist Rate.


Costs $1,100

Festival Submission Fees.


Costs $3,325

Composer's Fee, Live Scoring Session, Musicians' Fees, Expendables, Music Licensing.


Costs $850

Deliverables, Additional Hard Drives, DCPs.


Costs $3,070

Pick-Up Shoot (Crew & Cast Rates, Art, Camera Rentals, Crafty/Lunch, Special Effects, Location)


Costs $1,150

Voiceover Session, ADR Session, Cast Rates, Expendables.

About This Team


Writer & Director

Felipe Vargas is a Writer / Director in the realm of boldly-original, heartfelt stories with a genre twist.  Born in Colombia, Felipe's work is often inspired by Latin American mythologies and magical realism.

As a director, Felipe is attached to helm a horror-thriller feature for Paramount and Vertigo Entertainment based on a Hispanic folktale, produced by Roy Lee.  Felipe recently directed a fantasy project for Disney Channel.  He's attached to direct a horror feature for Mucho Mas Media, Silk Mass, and Jaguar Bite.  His original fantasy feature film is in development with Exile Content.

Felipe is Pilot Writer and Co-EP on fantasy-adventure series LOTERÍA with TV legend Norman Lear's Act III Productions, Sony Pictures Television, and Amazon Freevee.  He is developing an original thriller series with Boat Rocker Studios and author Ibram X. Kendi's Maroon Visions.

Felipe's work has garnered millions of views on YouTube for his films MILK TEETH and THE GUIDE.  His work has been featured in over 100 film festivals including Oscar-qualifying festivals HollyShorts, Bogo Shorts, and Sitges.  He's been awarded a DGA and Imagen Award and was named one of Variety's Latino Creators to Watch.  Felipe is represented by Creative Artists Agency and Magnolia Entertainment.



Actor - Marcela

Acclaimed actress known for Dirt (2003), Day Break (2006) and No Man's Land (2020), who works in both the US and Mexico.



Actor - Ella

Elena has created and participated in various film, theater and photographic projects as a performer, director, and producer in Colombia and the United States.

Her role in the play Aprender a Caer was awarded the Jury Award at the Short and Sweet Hollywood Latino Theater Festival in Los Angeles. It also played at the LATC’s Festival de las Américas in Los Angeles and became the first Latino play to ever perform at the Short and Sweet Theater Festival in Sydney, Australia, winning the People’s Choice Award.

" I just let myself go in the scene, I'm an instrument of that moment, I just breathe and let it be."


Actor - Sebastian

Eddy Martin is an American actor and musician. He is best known for his roles as One Love in the movie Rebound, and as Joaquin in the Nickelodeon original show Just Jordan.  He sings a variety of music including mariachi music, ballads, and pop.  He plays the drums and piano, and writes his own music.

He starred in the 2003 television movie The Maldonado Miracle, directed by Salma Hayek.  He appeared as Roberto in the second season of the PBS drama American Family, directed by Gregory Nava.  Eddy played Thad, one of the Dalton Academy Warblers, on the television series Glee.



Actor - Chronic Kid

Fun loving 13 year old boy who loves to hangout with my friends, acting, meeting new people, reading, drawing and creating stories.  Something that drew Jamaal to the movie was that it was a Sifi horror movie.

"This was my first time working on a horror film!"



Actor - Detective Arenas

Mikki Hernandez is an LA-based actress, voiceover artist and writer. Recent credits include We’re Doing Good (SXSW), Second (HollyShorts Film Festival) and voiceover campaigns for Target, Elvis, Geico and Best Buy. She trains at Berg Studios where she gravitates towards building unconventional and often messy characters who are living in alternative planes of reality. Mikki is a proud UCLA alum and enjoys traveling, dancing, kickboxing and writing. Her debut children’s book Cake Mix: Learning to Love All Your Ingredients will be released in Spring/Summer 2023.

"Imagining a near-future-apocalyptic Los Angeles helped with the setting and listening to rock music like Led Zeppelin and Nirvana helped me lock into Detective Arenas energetically."



Michael is a Los Angeles born Director/ Producer and a graduate from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. As a director, Michael has found his voice through witty visual comedy, exposing and exploiting the levity inherent in even the worst of situations. As a producer, Michael cut his teeth on music videos, producing for high profile artists like Gryffin, San Holo, Elle Duhé, and Aaryan Shah. All told, Michael’s work has accrued upwards of 6 million views online and his films have received numerous awards at an array of prestigious festivals.

"As a Producer I’m drawn to projects that emphasize creative collaboration and prioritize strong narrative storytelling. Felipe’s script and vision for ZZZ was ambitious and enticing; it was an opportunity to challenge myself and produce something powerful and untapped. Felipe is a fast friend and a trusted collaborator - I had no doubt that ZZZ was an opportunity to build something spectacular together."


Norris Palmer is a Los Angeles based filmmaker born in Stockton, California. Since graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts in 2020, he has produced many short narrative films which have received admission into numerous prestigious film festivals including SXSW and received online distribution. Among these are KODAMA, EVERYTHING STAYS, SWEET DELIVERANCE, EDGE OF TOWN, and THE SHOW.

"I'll never forget watching the different departments, made up of extremely different people of different backgrounds and experience levels, jump right in like a well oiled machine and then thinking to myself, in disbelief, how lucky we were to be working with all of them."




Nick currently works at SB Projects in the company's film and television division, working on shows like 
Dave on FX and the upcoming Netflix show Neon. Prior to SB Projects he ran the artist management/creative studio Ourros while in school at USC.

"Felipe's the rare mix of an artist who is not only immensely talented creatively, but a skilled leader with a clear vision and laser focus."



Production Designer






1st Assistant Director



Costume Designer



Special Effects Make-Up Artists



Special Effects Supervisor



Visual Effects Supervisor






The rest of the team and process depends on you and your support!

Current Team