November 18, 2016 10:57 am

A horror-whodunit short film about a serial killer targeting the newcomers of a neighborhood undergoing gentrification.


Jay and Rich are an early-20s Black American sister and brother duo who recently moved in to a beautiful, Brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood where the film is set. Having been raised in a predominately white, wealthy suburb, the siblings yearn to have their new home provide some insight into their Black cultural identity.

Troy is an early-20s white male, the child of one of the first white families to reside in the neighborhood in decades. Upon returning home from his college studies, Troy discovers that the community has undergone more rapid gentrification than expected, and that his parents have sold their house as a result.

The bulk of the film unfolds over the course of an evening as Troy arrives at Jay and Rich’s new brownstone to view one of the floors up for rent. The meet-and-greet soon turns into an impassioned conversation about the changing neighborhood and the serial killer who’s recently begun stalking it. Unbeknownst to Jay, Rich and Troy, the killer may be closer than they think…


One of the main reasons we’re passionate about this project is because our filmmaking team is comprised of mostly women and people of color, two demographics which are rare in the filmmaking industry and we’d love to encourage more of. This is especially true for the horror and thriller genres. And, for this same reason, we’re compelled and excited to portray honest and complex female and minority characters in front of the camera.

Beyond representation, we’re motivated to spread White Knuckle’s themes of gentrification and displacement: two issues that are close to our heart that we intend to create more dialogue about. Specifically, our movie will show the horrors that emerge from a lack of community and cultural diversity.

As White Knuckle’s main characters debate the identity of the killer, broader questions are raised about the importance of cultural identity for American minorities. As they discuss what constitutes a psychopath, the notion of inner-city Black and brown pathology is challenged. And as the characters face the threat of murder, the parallel reality of a community and culture which is facing its own demise from gentrification becomes apparent.

But although White Knuckle’s addressing some of the more dire social issues of our time, the film will be doing so in a fun and accessible way – in the style of American slashers. The slasher genre, with movies like Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, has always been used to critique suburbia and American society at large.

In particular, the pacing and dialogue of White Knuckle is inspired by the slasher movie’s snappy, self-referential style during the 1990s, where writers like Kevin Williamson (Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty) created characters whose understanding of their own obsessions seemed to predispose them to the scary scenarios they found themselves in.

Like its predecessors, we expect White Knuckle to provide laughs, thrills and chills as we take you on a riveting ride!


Cold Brass, the last movie many of us collaborated on, is currently being submitted to festivals… and its a film that we successfully funded on Kickstarter!

Writer/Director/Editor – Xavier Coleman

Honing his story-telling skills primarily through film editing, Xavier has worked post-production for companies including ESPN Films, Netflix Films, OWN, and Google and directors/producers such as Ira Glass, Joe Berlinger and Jon Greenhalgh. Most recently, Xavier wrapped as an editor on Trial By Fury (2016, Official Selection – American Documentary Film Festival), The Best Last Best Plane Ride Ever (2016, Official Selection – Tribeca Film Festival), and New York I Love You (2016, Official Selection – New York African Film Festival; BAM’s New Voices in Black Cinema).

Producer – Miranda Kahn

Miranda has worked on 11 feature films, 6 television programs, two commercials and several music videos for studios such as CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, HBO, Sony, Netflix, and Funny or Die, with names including Lena Dunham, Drew Barrymore, Bradley Cooper, Molly Connors (Birdman) and Marty Bowen (Twilight). At present, Miranda’s determined to use her experience to produce projects with socially-impactful content.

Producer and Assistant Director – Tess Raih

Beginning her career studying under filmmakers Laurie Collyer and Caveh Zahedi, Tess graduated from The New School with a BA in Culture and Media Studies. Since then, Tess has been working in the AD department on feature films such as Barry (2016), Monster (2017), Roxanne, Roxanne (2017) and Coin Heist (2016) and alongside actors including Jennifer Hudson, Liv Tyler, Nas, A$AP Rocky and Anya-Taylor Joy.

Producer’s Assistants – Chris Williams, Mohammed Rabbani, & Antonio Pinheiro

Director of Photography – Connor Lawson

Connor’s developed his cinematography skills working in both the camera and lighting departments over the years. He’s recently assisted veteran and up-and-coming filmmakers such as Bob Giraldi, Morgan Spurlock, Neil LaBute, Tom Richmond A.S.C, Jendra Jarnagin and Graham Willoughby.

Production Designer – Suja Ono

Suja began her career at Emerson College where she got her BA in Sound Design while simultaneously designing almost a dozen student projects. Since then, Suja’s worked as Production Designer and Prop Master on productions such as Mail.Man (2014 Official Selection – IFFCA Los Angeles), 12 Kilometers (2016 Official Selection – Boston International Film Festival), Chimera (2016), and the upcoming and highly anticipated Super Troopers 2 (2017).

Sound Design & Mix – Danny Rose & Alex Thompson (Rose Studios)

Collectively, Danny and Alex have done audio work with the likes of GUESS, Young M.A, ESPN, Sean C and LV, Morton Subotnick, Plain Dog and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.

Our actor, Gareth, getting in character, alongside our producer and AD, Tess, manning the slate like Werner Herzog.

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This post was written by Nadia Vella