The surreal thriller with a crew of over 75% women, Darkness in Tenement 45, is making its world premiere at the 2020 Sarasota Film Festival. Check out the trailer embedded at the top of the article and read more about the film below.
Darkness in Tenement 45 is a feature film set in the 1950s. After the threat of a biological attack during the Cold War leaves the residents of a NYC tenement building trapped inside, a troubled teenager must fight against the self-appointed leader in order to save the tenants..1953. JOANNA (16) has been living with her overbearing AUNT MARTHA (60s) in a low-income NYC tenement building ever since a violent outburst left her fighting a force that she can only describe as the “darkness.” Little did she know that weeks after moving in, a biological threat from the Soviet Union would leave the building boarded up and the tenants locked inside. With food dwindling and Martha’s controversial role as leader expanding, Joanna rallies the children in an attempt to save the building. Tensions come to a violent head when Martha delves into Joanna’s past and Joanna struggles to keep the darkness from overtaking her entirely.
The film focuses on how a group of individuals trapped together in one building react when a whispered about “disease” is looming outside. The filmmakers were both amazed and terrified when they realized the connections that the film had to the coronavirus. Writer and director Nicole Groton explains:
“While making the film, we didn’t expect this idea of a ‘disease’ roaming the city to be something that would become so current. With coronavirus making its way across the globe and tapping into one of humanity’s greatest fears, the themes of our film have become even more relevant.”
Darkness in Tenement 45 is a film that’s deep-seated in Florida roots. Writer/director Nicole Groton and Producers Crystal Collins and Simone Lapidus were all raised in Florida and met at Florida State University’s film school, where they worked together on short narrative films and documentaries. The tight connections and friendships created during university helped them crew an impressive roster for their movie that included over 40 FSU alumni from pre-production through post-production.
Written/Directed by Nicole Groton; Produced by Crystal Collins, Simone Lapidus and Nicole Groton; Co-Producer: Kelly Bumford; Director of Photography by Carissa Dorson; Production Design by Caitlin Nicole Williams; Costume Design by Laura Cristina Ortiz; Music by Logan Rees; Editing by Beca Marques. The film stars Nicole Tompkins as Joanna, Casey Kramer as Martha, Keyon Bowman as Walter, Anthony Marciona as Horen, Tracie Lockwood as Shannon, David Labiosa as Felix, Nicolas Aleksandr Bolton as Tomás, Melissa Macedo as Isolina, Marla Martinez as Isabel, and Emmy Greene as Rhonda.
The screenplay for Darkness in Tenement 45 was a semifinalist at the Creative World Awards as well as quarterfinalist at the Script Pipeline Screenplay Contest, Storypros Screenplay Contest, and Cynosure Screenwriting Awards. BlueCat Screenplay Contest called it “original and intriguing” with an “interesting protagonist, fragile and haunted in some ways, headstrong and resourceful in others.”
What do you think of the trailer for Darkness in Tenement 45? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.