Who, or what, is Shanidar?
What do you carry, and what do leave behind? At the end of days, a group of strangers find themselves thrust into a safe haven that is crumbling by the minute. The world outside their door is hungry, but the true enemy may already be inside. In 2020, our landscape has changed drastically, seemingly overnight. As creators, we found ourselves yearning to continue making art; as consumers, we found ourselves needing the important stories to be told in. SHANIDAR is that story. This is a story about sanity, community, and legacy. It's a story about survival, not just of people, but of the human spirit.
Who Are We?
The creators of SHANIDAR are storytellers, first and foremost. Though we come from varied backgrounds (a filmmaker, a theatre producer, a stage director, a playwright), we all saw the power of SHANIDAR's message so clearly during this time of change and uncertainty.
We share a common goal of providing opportunities for Virginians to demonstrate and develop their skills in front of and behind the camera. For those of us coming from a theater or arts background, film has felt inaccessible. Remember Tommy Productions seeks to remove barriers for those with a passion for cinema and find unique avenues for up and coming artists to work on a substantial, supported project.
Our identities are central in the stories we want to propel, stories of folks who are queer, femme, trans, BIPOC, disenfranchised. We seek out voices that are so often left on the cutting room floor of blockbusters for a more palatable final product. This work, in a time of division, derision, and dehumanization, is vital. Honest, unifying, humane stories are necessary to remind us of the hearts beating in those around us. We believe our work, and SHANIDAR in particular, can provide that heartening reminder.
Why This Story? Why Now?
The coronavirus crisis has forced our interconnected world to slow down, focus inward, and re-evaluate what is important to us. To look at the way our stories are being told. The apocalyptic genre has been done and done again, but when faced with a global crisis this year, it didn't look or feel like the movies. In 2020, we cannot continue to tell the same stories in the same way. We hope to start a chain reaction of change.
SHANIDAR is a new kind of horror movie, character-driven, quiet, looming. A more pensive end of the world, where characters pass the time reading old newspapers, remembering Before, unsure of After; where our moral compass and mortal needs are put to the test; where longing and fear create an invisible threat that could be in the same room with you at this very moment. It respects its inhabitants and gives agency to their existence. This story, a Semi-Finalist for the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards, is a reminder that even when isolation creeps in (an abundant feeling this year) that we are not alone.
What about Covid-19?
We will be following all national and state-wide guidelines for coronavirus safety. The crew will be minimal, though we will have an on-set safety supervisor whose responsibility is the upkeep of safety protocols. Cast and crew are quarantined and will be tested regularly. Remember Tommy Productions specifically chose a movie not only with few characters but with safety precautions already embedded in its script, as part of the characters' everyday survival in this unknown new world.