About The Film
Kidnapped, strapped to a highchair and locked in a decrepit bedroom for the past twelve years of her life, a frail and malnourished teenaged girl has been kept in a state of toddler-hood, never allowed to experience a life and grow up. As she wastes away from malnourishment, the only solace in her final hours is within her fantastical imagination. She dreams of old, discarded toys that come to life and untie her, of escaping from her captivity and rediscovering the vast outside world. Soaring meadows, eerie abandoned towns, and the home of her long-lost family await her, but with her worst of nightmares lurking around each corner, will she be able to find peace?
As my senior thesis film at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, I will attempt to explore the psyche of a lost childhood; a life in which one was never allowed to grow up, plagued by days of stillness and haunted by fears, but never giving up the sense of childlike wonder and curiosity.
Combining a linear narrative with an experimental form, this film will be entirely non-dialog, utilizing dance performance and stop-motion animation as it's forms of expression.
It will be chiefly driven by several arrangements of impressionist-era music, and visually informed by such inspirations as animators Jan Svankmajer and the Quay Brothers, artist Hans Bellmer, and painters Claude Monet and Rene Magritte.
Why This Story
In November of 1970, a little girl nicknamed Genie Wiley was taken into custody by police from her parents. It was discovered that she had been locked in a dark room strapped to a potty chair since the age of 20 months. When authorities found her she could not walk properly, nor could she speak any coherent words. She was 13 years old.
Very recently, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight, three young women in Cleveland, OH, were rescued from a 10-year kidnapping in their neighbor's basement.
The Girl in the Chair, while loosely inspired by these story, is not limited to them. A number of children in extreme situations of kidnap and abuse are less fortunate. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 6 million child abuse victims are reported in America each year. Over 5 of these children die due to abuse and neglect-related circumstances EVERY DAY.
This film is an artistic piece, though I hope to also use it to raise awareness of a pressing issue. The United States has the worst child abuse record in the industrialized world, according to childhelp.org.
by lending us your support, you are assisting us in creating something that will give this disturbing reality more notice.
Why We Need Your Help
Making a movie is expensive. And because our film calls for many intricate and unique elements, we're going to need your help to make it possible. We are shooting on 16mm film, incorporating stop-motion animation and remote locations. The amazing cast and crew we have on board for this film is working on a volunteer basis: our desire to make this film come from a place of passion. All donations to Girl in the Chair will go towards production costs, and will help immensely when it comes to covering the following:
- Equipment Rentals
- Food and Lodging for our cast and crew for the duration of the shoot
- Transportation and Trucking costs
- Location Fees
- Animation and Puppet Rigging costs
- Purchase, development and transfer of the film
- Wardrobe, hair and makeup costs
- Props and Production Design
A single donor has generously agreed to match up to $3,500 raised through this page. That means EVERY DOLLAR THAT YOU DONATE, UP TO $3,500, WILL BE WORTH DOUBLE in our efforts to make this film a reality.
Other Ways You Can HelpEven if you can't contribute to our film financially, please do not hesitate to spread the word about what we are doing. We will be extremely grateful if you could forward this page to those you think may be interested and able to donate.
If you are interested in making an in-kind donation,
Here are some examples of things that would greatly assist us:
- Set Building Materials (plywood, 2x4s, old or used wood planks, cans of paint, contact paper)
- Old or Used Toys (pre-1980s) to use for our stop-motion toy scene.
- Set Dressing (used furniture, drapes, wall hangings, picture frames, etc)
- Catering and Snacks to feed our crew
- Air mattresses to provide to crewmembers
- Film Equipment to borrow (lights, grip/electric equipment, doorway dolly, dana dolly)
About The Director
Born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in New Hampshire and Connecticut, Louis Gordon began dabbling in film and animation storytelling in middle school. Several years later, he collaborated with fellow student Grant Rosenmeyer to create the hour-long film Fugue, a psychological thriller that received the Best High School Film award at the Connecticut Film Festival in 2009. His years learning at NYU's Film & Television program, and FAMU's Directing and Cinematography intensive in the Czech Republic, have allowed him to reach into other niches of filmmaking style, crafting a taste for narratives buried within layers of experimental storytelling elements. His student films Caterpillar, Firefly (https://vimeo.com/20170114) and Utulek (Haven) have both been featured at NYU's showcasing events. When he is not writing and directing his own work, Louis specializes in sound design for others' film projects.