When Hallowe’en is hijacked by a Japanese doomsday cult, a girl and her siblings are forced to flee into the harsh conditions of winter.
“The second short from the 2015 Blood in the Snow Film Festival, KURAYAMI NO WA is a rather batshit-crazy short film made by–get this–fifteen year old director and co-writer Morgana McKenzie. In it, a Japanese doomsday cult hands out tainted candy on Halloween which turns the population into murderous zombies. The plague spreads and the survivors are forced out into the harsh Canadian wilderness. The acting by the young cast is fantastic, and McKenzie tells the story in such a way that Tarantino himself could learn a trick or two. This is a fantastically fun and crazy short.”
“This one’s a doozy. Kurayami no Wa (Japanese for “of the darkness”) follows teens in the wilderness as they try to survive an apocalypse induced by Halloween candy that turns people into zombies. It’s got a classical guitar score that will immediately make you pay attention, and offers a really compelling depiction of children learning to deal with a violent world. There’s also a detail about this short that I simply can’t leave out. The director, Morgana McKenzie, is only 16 years old. Making a film that’s this beautiful and offers such a unique perspective on a tired trope at her age is a remarkable achievement. I can only hope that McKenzie continues to work in film. If Kurayami no Wa is any indication, she has a fantastic body of work ahead of her. I commend BITS for showcasing her talent.”
- Dead Walk – Best Student Film
- ConCarolinas – Best Original Score
- Kingston Canadian – Best Youth Short
- ITSA– Best Student Film
- Downtown Tyler – Best Young Filmmaker
- CineYouth – Best Thriller, Junior Division
- Ottawa STUFF – First Place
Nominations, Honorable Mentions
- Dead Walk – (Madison, WI) June 11
- ConCarolinas – (Charlotte, NC) June 3-5
- Portland Horror – (Portland, OR) June 1-2
- Kingston Canadian – (Kingston, Canada) Feb 25-28
- Boomtown Film & Music – (Beaumont, TX) Feb 25-27
- Tustin (Tustin, CA) Nov 20
- ITSA – (Sonora, CA) Nov 13-15
- Blood in the Snow – (Toronto, Canada) Oct 27-29
- Fake Flesh – (Kamloops, Canada) Oct 29-30
- Twisted Horror Picture Show – (Woodward, OK) Oct 30
- Northern Frights – (Sudbury, Canada) Oct 24
- Adelaide – (Adelaide, Australia) Oct 23-31
- Ottawa International – (Ottawa, Canada) Oct 16-18
- East Anglian – (Suffolk, England) Oct 16
- Urban Mediamakers – (Norcross, GA) Oct 8-11
- Ocktober – (New York, NY) Oct 1-4
- Guam International (Guam) Sep 26-30
- Ottawa Spookshow and Fantastic Film – (Ottawa, Canada), Sep 12
- Midwest Sci-Fi Short Film Festival – (Bloomington, MN) July 3
- TIFF Next Wave Jump Cuts – (Toronto) May 19
- CineYouth – (Chicago) May 7-9
- Ottawa STUFF – (Ottawa) May 7
Facts about Kurayami no Wa
- 11 months from concept to finished film.
- 7 months from pre-production to principal photography.
- 4 days of makeup and prosthetic tests.
- 7 days of rehearsal.
- 9 shoot days over 4 months.
- -24C / -11F temperature on coldest shoot day.
- Most days averaged a temperature around -14C / 7F.
- Approx. 100 hours of editing using Final Cut Pro X
- Approx. 80 hours of colour grading using Davinci Resolve 11 Lite
- Morgana created the Kurayami no Wa candy wrapper from her original design printed on clear stickers from Stickermule.com, and assembled each candy by hand using pink foil paper and a crimper.
- Morgana created the red cape worn in the film, and it is the same Little Red Riding Hood cape that appears in Morgana’s music video “We All Go the Same“. The cape was created with intention of using it in both films.
Blog post updates on Kurayami no Wa
- Ellie moves to post (and festival updates) (Sunday September 27th, 2015) -- I had an amazing summer, filled with friendships and film work. I had planned to do a post talking about the highlights of my two month break, but I’ve been slammed with work ranging from Ellie work to home work. So until then, I have a brief update on the post production of Ellie, and some ... (Read more)
- A month of insanity (Sunday May 17th, 2015) -- I feel like I blinked and woke up in mid-May. The past few months have been absolutely insane, attending festivals for both “We All Go the Same” and “Kurayami no Wa”. I was still wrapping up the final colour grading for Kurayami no Wa (even on the plane), so I wasn’t able to submit it to NFFTY 2015. ... (Read more)
- Festivals, Kurayami no Wa, and an Unnamed Music Video (Tuesday July 08th, 2014) -- Morgana is away (on her own) for the month of July, and this week she is attending Prodigy Camp outside of Seattle on a scholarship she won at NFFTY. So I (her dad) am tasked with keeping her website and social media engagement going until she returns. My first order of business? To round-up all the ... (Read more)
- Casting Call: 9 to 11-year-old actress for my next film (Monday May 26th, 2014) -- I am working on pre-production for my upcoming short film “Kurayami no Wa“, and I’m looking for a young actress for a supporting role. Here are the details: Production Title: “Kurayami no Wa” Genre: Dark Thriller Production Type: Independent/Student Project Length: Short Film (Under 10 minutes) Production Location: Ottawa Compensation: Non-paying/volunteer, credit in film, meals & snacks Audition Date: By appointment, June 25-27 Character: ... (Read more)