Gunpowder & Sky, the global content studio, announced today that it has partnered with Brightlight Pictures (White Noise, 50/50, Colossal) to produce Summer of ‘84, a horror-thriller film set in the early 1980s when times started to change and the death of the suburban dream began.
Featured on the 2016 Blood List, a list of the best screenplays in the “dark” genres (horror, thriller, dark comedy, and science fiction) as voted on by industry professionals, Summer of ‘84 follows a group of kids but is certainly not a kids’ movie. Co-produced and written by Matt Leslie along with writing partner Stephen J. Smith and directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell of RKSS (Turbo Kid), the film explores the idea that every serial killer lives next door to someone. That chilling possibility is invigorating to 15-year-old Davey Armstrong, who spends his summer investigating his police officer neighbor, Mr. Mackey, convinced he is the local serial killer all over the news.
“How could we not bet on a writer associated with Straight Outta Compton and the directors of Turbo Kid to tell a twisted tale about a peaceful community where a serial killer threatens to shatter the suburban dream?” said Van Toffler, CEO and co-founder of Gunpowder & Sky. “It’s a bold, unexpected story told by breakthrough filmmakers, and it’s exactly the kind of novel film we want to make at Gunpowder & Sky.”
“Summer of ‘84 taps into the curiosity we all had as kids about what goes on behind closed doors,” said co-writer Smith.
Co-producer and co-writer Leslie added, “While writing, we tried to evoke the feeling of a genuine 80s film – but give it a contemporary twist. We hope audiences find Summer of ‘84 dangerous and haunting, as well as nostalgic and sincere.”
Added RKSS (Roadkill Superstar): “We were passionate about Summer of ’84 since the very first pitch. Our team fell in love with the script and felt like it was written just for us. There was no doubt in our mind that we needed to get attached to this amazing project and work with the talented writers who imagined it all.”
“Everyone at Brightlight Pictures is ecstatic to be working with the brilliant team at Gunpowder & Sky to bring Matt and Stephen’s bold and thrilling script to life,” said Shawn Williamson, CEO of Brightlight Pictures, who is producing with Jameson Parker. “As soon as I read the script, I knew Brightlight had to be a part of this film, and who better to direct it than the masterminds behind Turbo Kid – Roadkill Superstar!”
Summer of ‘84 is set to go into production this July for an end of year release date. Cody Zwieg (The Lazarus Effect, The Hills Have Eyes) will oversee production for Gunpowder & Sky.
Growing up on a quiet cul-de-sac in Ipswich, Massachusetts, Davey’s desperate to believe there’s more to life than what he sees from his bedroom window. For him, every tabloid cover is a peek into the world as it really is, as it really must be past the borders of the humdrum neighborhood where he and his best friends Eats, Farraday, and Woody have grown up.
Sure, they spend their summers playing nighttime flashlight tag (“Manhunt”), riding their BMX bikes all over town, and spying on the hot, sometimes topless chick next door, Nikki… but Davey thirsts for more. As their investigation heats up, Davey and his best buds soon discover Mr. Mackey is on to them, and their suspicions quickly become all too real.