Short Film Profile

The Familiar

Sam has always been obsessed with vampires from the time he was a child watching them on children’s programs to when he was a college student reading horror novels on the side. On Sam’s 21st birthday, a mysterious gentleman offers him a peculiar career choice: become an assistant to a real life Vampire. Intrigued and enthusiastic, Sam takes the job and meets Simon Bolivar, a 400-year old Vampire. Everything about the Vampire does hold some truth to it; a truth followed by a dose of hard-reality. Sam soon realizes that it is not so cool or pleasant to serve his corrupt and neurotic behavior.

Film notes

Told from Sam’s point of view, The Familiar is for anyone who has ever pursued a dream only to watch that dream slowly twist into an unrecognizable nightmare. Be careful what you wish for…it may come back to bite you in the end!

Director's notes:
I’ve worked in Vancouver’s film industry for 13 years now with a long string of job titles, most containing the word “assistant” in them. Once, I was an assistant to a Hollywood actor. Someone whose work I admired, an artist who took his craft serious. But what unfolded was three months of sleepless nights, insane requests and an endless glimpse into the more shallow recesses of humanity. I started empathizing with the Renfield character in Bram Stoker’s “Dracula;” just another dutiful lunatic serving the will of a bigger evil. Familiars -- like Renfield -- are spoken of in vampire myths. But like real-life assistants, not many people pay them any attention. But still, they compelled me. What kind of person would actually serve a life-sucking fiend? I guess anyone who complains about Mondays or is guilted into working the weekend kind of knows that answer already.

Aiding me on this journey was my good friend/collaborator Riley Walsh. Our mantra was to do it as cheap as possible while maintaining some form of professional integrity. We were both unemployed guys with mortgages hoping we could get a helping hand from friends and contacts. What we received was humbling; a true testament to how generous and gracious this industry can treat its own.

Riley and I set out to take this a step beyond the usual limitations we’re accustom to. We wanted to make a feature film within the short format. I guess when no one is handing you that chance, you go out and make your own luck.
vampire blood evil assistant metaphor work




Copyright © 2009 Ghostwood Films/IBI

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Previous screenings

17 Sep – 19 Sep | Seattle, United States

Film details

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 21 Dec 2011