Filmmakers Hope to Expand Discussion About Gentrification with a Horror Short

“White Knuckle,” a short horror film about gentrification, has already stirred up support from big name producers including Molly Conners of “Birdman” and Tonya Lewis Lee 0f “Monster.” Bushwick Daily spoke with director Xavier Coleman about representation in film and tropes and themes in horror.

The film is about a young pair of Black American siblings who purchase a home in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood (think Bed-stuy for the brownstones). When they meet with Troy, a young white man looking to rent a floor of their new home, the discussion turns to the serial killer stalking the neighborhood.

Though the film is not yet completed, the production team cites the “snappy, self-referential style” of slasher films from the 90s in its still active Kickstarter campaign. Coleman adds that “because so many tropes, notably in slashers, are based around the race and gender of the characters and the setting of the story, ‘White Knuckle’ defies some of these cliches simply through its story elements.”

Coleman and the production team of Miranda Kahn and Tess Raih “wanted to hire underrepresented people working in film simply because its difficult for them to find opportunities. And finding these people certainly hasn’t been easy for [the team], which is itself a motivation.”

Multiple studies over the past decade have confirmed what anyone looking at a television can see: hiring for roles in front of the camera does not reflect the diversity of the United States as a whole. Film crews, though unseen, also struggle with making room for minorities and women.

The Kickstarter campaign has five more days, and the production is looking to raise over 10,000 more dollars for the daunting task of shooting in multiple Brooklyn locations. Only 25 dollars will get you a link to a digital download of the film and the satisfaction of helping a local production with a focus on social justice.

Still from “White Knuckle.” Courtesy of Xavier Coleman, Director & Connor Lawson, Cinematographer

Featured image: Still from “White Knuckle.” Courtesy of Xavier Coleman, Director & Connor Lawson, Cinematographer

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