ATTILA is a powerful, poignant short film about finding hope in the face of violently opposing convictions — a theme suddenly more topical than ever.
The majority of the film is one epic scene between Major General William T. Sherman on the eve of his brutal March to the Sea and an escaped slave-turned-contraband soldier who tests his morality.
Our father, SAG-AFTRA Philly Board Member Neil Samuels, stars as Sherman opposite Vladimir Versailles, winner of the American Black Film Festival Star Project Award.
Neil and Vlad are two powerhouse actors who crushed it in each long, fierce take. Watching their uninterrupted emotional journey was breathtaking.
We shot the film at incredible locations, including the Cedar Creek Battle Reenactment in Virginia and in Pennsylvania at: Widener University, Valley Forge Military Academy & College, and New Hope's Parry Mansion and Erwin Stover Historic Home, both on the Delaware River.
FROM THE WRITER
While caring for our dad during his fight with cancer, I found myself thinking about mortality, legacy and what we leave behind. Oliver and I are both history buffs, and I was drawn to the story of Sherman's March to the Sea. Sherman loved the South, had lived in the South, and didn't care about freeing slaves. He did, however, believe deeply in a united America, in the Union. His March was the brutal "total war" that destroyed the Southern cause. He saved the country, but divided America to this day.
The play I wrote was for my dad. He starred in and won the Samuel French Short Play Festival in 1981, before retiring from acting to raise us. He's the man who put a camera in our hands and I wanted to give him an equally powerful gift. I wanted him to have something to aim for during chemo. Well, we got into the festival and premiered at Playwrights Horizons in NYC. Dad gave one heck of a show.
WE NEED YOU!
We put up our own money to shoot this important passion project and now we need your help to finish post! The edit is done, the music is almost done, and here's what we have left:
- Sound Design
- Color Grading at Light Iron NY, a Panasonic Company (THE WALKING DEAD, ALLIED, GOLD, UNDERWORLD, etc.) http://lightiron.com/projects/credits/
- 4K Conforming and Mastering
- Festival Submissions Around the World!
MEET THE TEAM
BEN & OLIVER SAMUELS - Producer/Directors
We grew up making VHS movies in our backyard. Ben attended Tufts University and Oliver went to the University of Vermont. After graduation, we started out making genre films, including the asylum scarer WATCH ME, one-shot POV zombie film 6:15, and Ben directed Robert Englund in a supernatural thriller.
Oliver's directorial debut, the dramatic short HUNTERS, won Best Emerging Narrative at the Bucks Fever Film Fest and is coming soon to Comcast OnDemand. Ben was Unit Production Manager on the cop thriller BENEATH THE LEAVES starring Mira and Paul Sorvino, Chris Masterson, and Doug Jones, in addition to editing the children's sci-fi film A WORLD AWAY starring GIRL MEETS WORLD's Rowan Blanchard, David DeLuise, Landry Bender, and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Ben wrote ATTILA.
We're dual citizens of USA/Canada and love films that make a difference, tell a significant story, and change the world.
JAMAL SOLOMON - Director of Photography
Jamal has been working in the industry for 5 years in New York City and internationally shooting shorts, features, and artistic videos for brands and artists. In 2014, he won the ZEISS PRECISION IMAGE AWRD and his recent contibution behind the camera on the short FLOWERS garnered the film Best Short at the American Black Film Festival. It is now slated to screen on HBO in Summer 2017. blackborne.co
MICHAEL BRENNAN - Composer
Michael is a composer and arranger for theatre and film. He scored the animated shorts NIETA, which screened at Cannes in May 2014, and PASTEURIZED, which screened at festivals around the world, including: Chicago, Warsaw, and Cannes. He is also the resident composer for Helpful Bear productions, an animation production house with clients that include: Disney Animation, Titan Books, and Stephen King.
His musical CITIZEN RUTH, with lyricist Mark Leydorf, won Best Musical at the NY International Fringe Festival and is based on the film by Oscar-winner Alexander Payne.
Michael is currently the Music Director for Franco Dragone’s LE REVE at Wynn Las Vegas, and has been Music Director for MAMMA MIA!, AVENUE Q, and Associate Music Director for Disney’s THE LION KING. http://michaelbrennanmusic.com
MICHELLE WILSON - Hair and Makeup Design
Michelle is freelance HMU Artist in the Tri-State area with a Masters in Art History from Boston University and her BA from Tufts University, where she applied copious amounts of fake blood to ATTILA co-director Ben Samuels in a production of Martin McDonagh's THE PILLOWMAN. http://michellewilsondesign.wixsite.com/portfolio
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR RENTAL SUPPORT FROM:
VISUAL CINEMA LLC, Williamsburg, NY
EXPRESSWAY GRIP, Philadelphia, PA
Risks and challenges
We put our money where our mouth is. We believe deeply in this project and now we just need your help to finish post. Thank you for joining our team!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)