A commune. A bunker. A broken ideologue. Our memories can lie to us. They can hide from us. They can reinvent themselves. A young woman returns to her isolated, idealistic community in the Central American wilderness. Her last intact memory is of going into labor. Surrounded by violent revolution, she struggles through her fragmented memory to find the answers she would not let herself see and explain the absence of her community, her friends, and her newborn son. It grew from there.
As you may have noticed, we have been silent for the last couple of years. Silent, but not still. We are pleased to announce that development is underway on our next feature, code-named XV-002 (yep, that’s an internal registry number; we’re very original). We will be teasing some details of the story soon, but right now there are a few brief things to say about how this came to be.
Following the distribution of our debut feature, the experimental motion picture Videotape, all of us were eager to get moving on something new. A loose narrative had been coalescing for months when Andrew Yorke attended the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and conference. Isolation, classic thrillers, power, family, revolution, memory. He and Kevin Michael later kicked around ideas while enjoying the city, looking for the right direction.
I’ve always had a fascination with cult ideologies, says Kevin Michael. It began in his childhood.
Beyond religious cults, there is an enforced dogma in so many groups that prevents us from recognizing anything counter—even denying our own experience. It was challenging to see that in myself as I grew up. And for months it might have come up more than necessary in conversation.
Andrew took notes on the plane ride home, and by the time the flight ended, he had an outline.
Cults, the perception of reality, dreams, the challenging of societal norms—Kevin and I both wanted these motifs. Then every time I attempted to write an outline, the protagonist was a woman. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of exploring the female mind without a female on board. So we figured…it’s time to add one more to the team.
After an intensive two months cultivating the broad strokes, we sought out a female screenwriter to help develop the story with a different perspective. We placed a nationwide notice on Stage32 expecting a long search. To our surprise, we were soon contacted by a talented writer who happened to be right here in Dallas. It has been our privilege to bring Abigail M Peterson on the team. After reading her work, it was clear there was a like mind here. Kevin made the mistake of reading it while in public, in fact, and drew some looks with an unintentionally vocal reaction.
It was a very rewarding way to embarrass myself.
Abigail has shared our excitement from the start as well.
This project is a privilege to work on not only because we are working here in my hometown of Dallas, but also because I have the opportunity to help Andrew and Kevin bring a voice to women in film. As a writer, I have made it a personal goal to ensure not only women, but all minorities have a chance to be heard and portrayed on the silver screen. This project is a gripping, thrilling, raw story that I am eager to see completed under Xteamartists’ talents.
Her contributions have dramatically enriched the original concept. We are entering the intensive revisions phase that will produce our final draft. While we hope to be able to produce and direct the movie ourselves, if the right team comes along, and it is best for the story to put it under another’s direction, we will gladly oblige. Otherwise, there is a great deal of untapped talent, as our experience here in Dallas has shown us, and we hope to extend the opportunities we have sought for ourselves to those who may have been overlooked for any number of reasons.
We’ve been documenting the development process as much as each of us remembers, and we will continue to do so. There is more to come. Of course, if all you’d like is plot details, we’ll tease more of that soon as well. We’ve been silent for a while. It’s good to be back. «»