A low level criminal makes a bad decision leading to serious consequences.
Kong’s is a short film built on brute emotion by filmmaker Ian Schiller, who used his home town of Santa Cruz, California, as a backbone to his storyline. Santa Cruz is a town where the tech billions of the Silicon Valley is held at bay by a redwood forest and a winding road through the mountains. However, there is a shady side of town away from the overbidding millionaires that we don’t often see on TV shows or films, where people struggle to get by day to day.
Beneath this sunny veneer lies a shadow culture, people living outside the margins of society. Transients forced on busses to Santa Cruz from less accommodating locals. Lurkers existing as they have and will – skating, surfing, partying, living for the next swell. Living by the money of random jobs and petty crime. Kong’s is a Neo Noir inspired story about one such criminal who makes a desperate move.
My location, Kong’s exists in real life. It’s a dingy seedy convenience store in a gentrified community. A convenience store wearing the patina of the early nineties where the rich and street punks alike come for their beer and late night ice cream. It was here I realized I wanted to explore the intersection of Santa Cruz’s two worlds and investigate the darkness just underneath the surface.
With a stellar cinematography to induce a very gritty feeling, location, as well as casting is the cornerstone of this bold film. While the robbery scenario is a familiar one, we are quickly placed into the situation at an unusual spot raising instant questions – From then on we are on an adventure to trying to figure out what is going on.
In writing the story, the original concept was to place the film in one moment of time. To see events unfold nearly in real-time yet deliver a complete three act story within the confines of a short. Moreover to create a story starting at a high point of tension and each subsequent character adding to the tension.
In many ways I’m an outsider in my own town and I’ve always been fascinated by the characters I come across. Kong’s and the characters in the story, while fictional, embody the unseen strata of Santa Cruz. One where most turn a blind eye and are secure to think does not exist.