It’s the night before Ana’s fifth birthday and Elize wants to make sure all is in order to give her daughter the best celebration yet. Invitations have been sent, food has been prepared, and Ana’s last braid is finally secured, meaning it’s time to rest before the big day. Consistently weary from the never-ending job of single motherhood with no outlets for her own care, Elize searches for a place for her own peace and vulnerability. But for women like her, vulnerability comes with a price.
When Elize undergoes a frightening transition, Ana must decide between saving her or protecting herself in this haunting account of inheritance, daughterhood, and demons.
Blood Runs Down is an Afro-futurist, southern-gothic horror film. Its development has been inspired by a culmination of things - Afro-diasporic religion and spiritual practices; horror classics like The Shining and a slew of maternal horror films following Carrie; the confining architecture, contained family traditions, and timelessness of Southern Louisiana amongst much more.
The greatest inspiration is the passage of trauma, as an heirloom, from mother to daughter. New Orleans sets the scene for this story in a particular way no other place can. Its interwoven relationship with Catholicism and Afro-diasporic religions such as Vodou make it a breeding ground for mysticism and magic in a very beautiful way. The story explores the beauty, magic, and terror of inhabiting the body of a Black woman or girl. Moreover, it examines what it means to have your life's demons waiting for you before you are even born.
It's possible that you're convinced this is a drama, but we didn't quite take that route. Why? There’s a beauty that can only be seen from gazing into terror, if we dare to look long enough. We're depicting Blood Runs Down as a horror film because all of its elements are perfectly set up for us to do so.
We're entering an era of thematically heavy horror that's placing Black stories at its core rather following the trope that lands us as the aggressor in Hollywood - or the superhuman force that the aggressor is able to conquer, to signify their strength. Horror films allow us to sympathize with the protagonist in anxious or frightening situations in a more immediate and desperate way than other genres. We'd like to promote that sort of sympathy for Black characters as well and allow for vulnerability and all of the real-life terror that comes along with it.
The story also aims to combat the "good and bad" binary, allowing for a nuanced situation in which a person can occupy the position of both victim and aggressor.
The setting for Blood Runs Down takes place in a small house over the course of one night. The design of characters' home tells the generational story of the women in their family - one rooted in trauma and perseverance. This is a family that hangs their story on their walls. The inheritance of trauma through their family heirlooms, amplified by warm, ambient light, illuminates the passing of fear from room to room.
The production design introduces the home as a new character by personifying an immortal energy that exists within all of its inhabitants, past and presence.
Zandashé Brown is a visual artist and storyteller hailing from and inspired by southern Louisiana. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University where she spent her time studying film and television, history, race relations, and other sociopolitical topics. Compelled by horror, science fiction, and identity, Brown's work pays homage to Afro-futurist literature such as the work of Octavia Butler, the study of people and the interpretation of their fears, and her own experience as an unconventional young Black woman creative. Her first short film, THE CONJURE WOMAN, premiered at the 2016 New Orleans Film Festival a year after Brown attended as a mentee for the 2015 Emerging Voices Program. Her 2016 short documentary OFF THE SIDEWALKS, INTO THE STREETS was selected as a part of the New Orleans Video Access Center’s “BetteR Baton Rouge” series which covered the death of Alton Sterling, several police shootings, and the city’s historic flood. It was the recipient of the “BetteR Microgrant” as well as Artless Media’s Magnifying Glass Grant.
Lauren Domino (Producer) is a producer and writer based in her hometown New Orleans. She produced the short film ALONE (directed by Garrett Bradley) which won the Short Film Jury Award: Non Fiction at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and is currently screening on the New York Times Op Docs website. Her work as a producer also includes BLACK FOLK DON’T (PBS), LIKE (Field of Vision, SXSW), THE OLDER FISH (Time Inc., Killer Films), INTERSECTION (Frameline, ABFF), and AMERICAN RHAPSODY (Aubin Pictures). She is co-writer of the fiction feature PAPER CHASE which was optioned by indie studio Gunpowder & Sky. With a passion for increasing the profiles of women and people of color in film, Domino has worked with The New Orleans Film Society to launch Emerging Voices, a mentoring initiative for people of color. The former Director of the Columbia University Film Festival, she has produced branded content, photo spreads, and live events for The New Yorker, Elle.com, The Oscars, Microsoft, and Essence Festival.
Alexis Clark is a recent graduate of Tulane University, now living in the city of New Orleans full time. She has worked on projects for PBS and Time, including the popular web series BLACK FOLK DON’T and a Katrina 10 year anniversary tribute, THE OLDER FISH. She recently made her acting debut in the short film INTERSECTION (Frameline, ABFF) which was recently shown at the New Orleans Film Festival. Alexis is inspired by the beauty, creativity and humanity of black women and this reflects in her work. Her most recent project, a short titled WE ARE HUMAN, focuses on the unrealistic and dangerous expectations placed on young black women which attempt to strip them of their humanity. WE ARE HUMAN was nominated for best editing, best production design, and best social justice film allowing it a spot to compete at TERMINUS Film Festival in Atlanta.
Zac Manuel is a director and cinematographer from New Orleans, and co-founder of The Greenhouse Collective. As director or cinematographer, his films, In The Garden, The Clock, Painted Lady, Dreamthroat, LIKE, and Cover Me have played in competition at various domestic and international festivals, including SXSW, New Orleans Film Festival, MECAL International Shorts Festival, and the Rotterdam International Film Festival. His work has also been featured on platforms such as Billboard, Fader, Complex, My Modern Met, PBS, Time Inc. and many more.
Jesse Ray Guillory is a visual artist whose photographic works investigate intersectional identity and its relativity to power. Having received their BFA in Studio Art from Louisiana State University, they began to investigate and archive their families history, spanning from the late 1930’s to present day. S/he primarily uses self-portraiture through various mediums such as photography, cinematography, and photo based installations. Guillory has explored themes of death and mourning, transgenerational trauma, and colorism, exhibiting their works throughout Southern Louisiana. By using the photographic lens as a microscope to examine the intersectionality of colorism and gender in relation to his/her own body, Guillory aims to challenge contemporary notions of femininity and power.
Guillory is currently based in New Orleans, LA where s/he is completing his/her latest body of work, Sister of the Wide Tooth Comb, a photographic and multimedia exhibition that investigates inheritance of transgenerational trauma through rituals of beauty, language, and spirit photography.
Blood Runs Down is a selected participant in the New Orleans Tricentennial Story Incubator! Our participation means that upon reaching our goal of $5,000, our funds will be matched with an additional $5,000! But we have to meet that mark first! This means that if we do, your contribution holds twice the weight. Assist us in getting there by sharing the film and campaign with your friends, family, and social networks! It is a great honor to be selected for this program and we want to utilize it for its full potential.
Risks and challenges
You're met with a lot of hesitation when trying to create a horror film. To counter stereotypes surrounding the genre and its quality, it is critical that BLOOD RUNS DOWN has the highest production value we can achieve within our resources. This is a beautiful film that will require powerful imagery, sound design, and precise editing to fully reach its potential. Making a film is an expensive, laborious process. Making a beautiful genre film is a death wish. But we're more than confident that we can accomplish that goal with your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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