Film festivals worldwide showcase short-films from writers, directors, and producers from all over with some of the most groundbreaking films to hit the screen. As an independent entity and taste-tester for a potential feature film, David Mahmoudieh’s Snake Dick is one that will have viewers on the edge of their seat.
With the film already officially selected to be shown at Academy Award-qualifying LA Shorts Fest (Oct 1-31), Warsaw International (Oct 9-18), and HollyShorts (November 9-15), it is no surprise that the festival circuit will meet a film that all will remember.
Telling the story of two women on a journey across the California wilderness while in possession of a deadly and mysterious weapon, the film traverses more than just the fear of the wild, but becomes an allegorical reference to the political landscape and the implications along with it.
Actress Poppy Drayton (Charmed, The Shannara Chronicles) stars, closely supported by Sierra Pond (The Wrong Daughter, Throw Like A Girl) as they take on Micah Fitzgerald (Westworld, Swamp Thing) and Ross Francis (Into The Wilderness, Skateland) in a matchup of toxic masculinity versus predacious female empowerment that’s certain to get people talking.
The atmosphere is set with neon lights at a gas station in the desert as characters Jill and Julia encounter two real-life hillbillies who exude behavior similar to those characteristic of the overzealous relationship between the people and the president. As tensions between the characters deepen, the stand-off is the catalyst of the film.
A film shelled from Mahmoudieh’s heart and soul, and having worked on projects that he knew did not amount to his full potential, Snake Dick changes his personal landscape of filmmaking. After returning to the US, he began to prep Snake Dick and says, “Snake Dick is one of those ideas that seems exciting at first but then people soon talk you out of it, like you’re crazy. Wanting to show my support of empowered women, coupled with my defiant frame of mind after my first feature, created a kind of perfect storm to ignore the doubters and just do it.”
With the last presidential election, Mahmoudieh says, “This is only a glimpse into a much broader, stranger world I want to explore. The feature is set against the backdrop of the 2020 election — sort of a ‘How The Election Was Really Won or Lost’ kind of thing — so the outcome of that will certainly influence my ending. Hopefully, it’s the one where you-know-who loses.”
Along with Mahmoudieh, an incredible team includes producers Josh Bachove (Minari) along with Annalea Fiachi and George Lako, both of Alpha Wolves who produced the short. Distinguished VFX Producer Fiona Campbell Westgate (Ghost In The Shell, Avatar 2, The Suicide Squad) oversaw visual effects on the short and is also aboard the feature, which is still at the script stage.
Both Fiachi and Lako share the same sentiment of being able to produce a film that will be groundbreaking, and acknowledge the privilege they have in being part of the change. Lako shares his confidence “in David’s ability to ground the surreal making it a project that would have relevance in today’s world. I believe Snake Dick will open doors to more inventive forms of creativity in filmmaking.”
Acknowledging the nature of absurdity, Mahmoudieh sees the #MeToo movement, the responses to it from men and women alike, and began “thinking about ways to represent that metaphorical manifestation of male fear towards female empowerment. The ludicrous nature of it all is what ultimately inspired the ludicrousness of Snake Dick.”
With nods to the works of John Carpenter, James Cameron, and Kathryn Bigelow, Mahmoudieh has crafted a uniquely original vision of his own making and a world with obvious potential to become a cult classic. The highly polished aesthetic, courtesy of DP Chris Saul, and stylish character design from costume designer Susanna Song (Minari, Schooled) provide a rich vibrancy on screen, with composer and fellow filmmaker Anthony Scott Burns (whose feature film Come True won two Audience Awards at this year’s Fantasia) providing a catchy, synthesized soundtrack under his Pilotpriest banner.
Snake Dick’s high concept but indie-friendly nature is sure to attract plenty of interest in a feature adaptation and with a team this talented already assembled, it seems only a matter of time before Mahmoudieh’s peculiar tale reaches a mass audience.
For screening/festival info, visit www.snakedick.com.