Level 6 (2017)

Some threats take the danger to a whole new level!

When a thief inadvertently releases a deadly parasite from its containment cell, a small group of Guardians, together with the unwitting, and often useless, assistance of the Zeta Squad are all that stands in the way of this devastating contagion from escaping into an already decimated populace. Welcome to 2044! **With strong language, violence, and brief nudity**

Directed by: Rob Bowen
Written by: Rob Bowen
Starring: Erica Erickson, Nicole Goeke, Brent Wilkerson, Jacob Hillman & Rob Bowen
Also Starring: Halston-Ashley Seeley, Cliff Cage, Billy Gaisford, Jareth Spirio, Angie Bowen, Desiree Myers, Mark Lutinski

Director’s Notes

Level 6 came about sort of by accident, and has become our longest shorts to date, and an instant favorite of my collection. Not only because of the amazingly beautiful and creepy location that sprawled across this large industrial park in Colorado Springs that we got to call home during the shoot, but because of all of the fun that we had putting the film together. But I digress, the accident. So I was contacted by one of the film’s stars and producers, Jacob Hillmann, who had previously worked with us on Rule 17, and again in a small cameo in our upcoming feature film, with the prospect of having a location I could use if I ever wanted to kill someone the way I did his character in Rule 17 (**Spoiler Alert**, lol). I was instantly intrigued as I had two short film scripts I had penned with the intentions of shooting them over the Summer as I put the finishing touches on the feature, so we arranged to meet and show me the location.

Now I was under the impression that I was going to look at A basement, like a singular room. One spot and done kind of deal. In fact, I had our other producer (and my extremely forgiving and understanding) partner in crime, Angie Bowen waiting in the car for me to return when I set out on the tour. Little did I know that the site had a total of about 7 full (five to four floored) buildings attached, all of which I was told I could have full and unfettered access to. Over two hours, dozens of photos, one dead phone battery, one reasonably perturbed (and unexpectedly out of reach) partner, and pages of inspired plot ideas and shot angles/setups in my head later, Level 6 was wildly brewing in my brain, and I knew we had the opportunity to do something very special and on a scale we had not previously attempted before.

A couple of days later, I was reaching back out to Jake with an idea and script, and the idiotic notion that we would be able to knock this whole thing out over the course of two weeks at the end of June and beginning of July. Failing to consider that with the project’s scope and size, it would be somewhat of a logistical nightmare to arrange and schedule effectively, especially considering the size of the cast we were working with, the size of the location (with regard to moving between shots and spaces), and how obviously in demand and busy our extremely dedicated and talented cast and crew all were over the summer. But we managed to keep the project going all summer long, meeting when we could, and unfortunately having to recast a few of the roles along the way as scheduling became even tighter. Leading to a few minor rewrites, and a couple of reshoots even (hello, back of Mark Cannon’s head) to get everything that we needed to make the film work the way it was meant to.

This actually worked as a bit of a blessing, because the film was given the time and space it needed to fully mature and grow into itself, becoming the largest, most involved short film we have crafted. I am especially proud of all of the amazing work that our cast and crew put into this project, packing such weight and humor both into the amazing sci-fi/horror/comedy that is Level 6 (in my own extremely biased opinion, of course). And while adding a couple of new faces to the project, it was also nice to have so many familiar faces behind and in front of the camera to work with on the film (including a few who are part of the feature film we have in post who came on board for this project too). Even having a conversation at one point with Jareth (who I worked with in Rule 17) about how good it feels to have so many talented actors anxious to come back time and again to work with me on project after project, and what that says for the films and folks behind them, not to mention how much I feel that translates into and feeds the awesome we capture with the camera.

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