Monday, August 6, 2018

The Chairman (2018)

The Chairman is a retro sci-fi/horror short about the intersection of business, media, and the supernatural.

Unsanctioned by the board of directors at their powerful multinational, The Pantheon Group, Joy and her supervisor, Vincent, run an experiment on telepathic abilities. Katie, an unwilling research subject and powerful psychic antenna, prepares to silence the chaos in her head by drowning. Her father Miguel, held in a nearby warehouse, must intervene by contacting his daughter telepathically, or watch her drown via hidden cameras. When the experiment is ultimately interrupted by a call from corporate headquarters, Joy must return to the office and face her reclusive, unnatural employer, the Chairman.

The Chairman draws inspiration from a wide variety of 20th century genre material. From the cynical media accelerationism of Paul Verhoeven to Nigel Kneal's scientifically recontextualized spiritualism, with hearty helpings of Cronenberg, Ballard, and even Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Beyond asthetics and nostalgia, it seeks to emulate retro horror at its most intellectual, a tradition from long before the phrase "elevated horror" emerged from the thinkpiece abyss.

Clocking in at twenty minutes (an epic length in the world of short films) The Chairman is densely packed with contributions from a wildly talented cast and crew. For the world premiere at Cinepocalypse 2018, the best short film actress and actor awards were bestowed on Bianet Diaz and Al Saks for their roles as Katie and her father.

In the second half of 2018 The Chairman played an additional eleven festivals, received four more award nominations, and won best editing and best visual effects at Northern Frights. The editing award is especially exciting for yours truly, as it's the first win for something I'm directly responsible for, so not only can I call it an award winning film, but I be insufferably smug and can call myself an award winning filmmaker.
While the film's eventual release on VOD/VHS is waiting for its festival run to wrap up, you can check out its trailer below, and enjoy the short's ghostly, analog synth score by UK composer OGRE Sound.