Some A-list Hollywood talent didn’t wait until Thanksgiving to give back.
Filmmakers Sam Raimi, Catherine Hardwicke and Ted Melfi joined Johnny Depp, David Lynch, J.K. Simmons, Laura Dern, Penelope Ann Miller, Richard Chamberlain, Jade Pettyjohn, Chad Coleman, Pritesh Shah and Keith Allan to help make a dream film project come alive for Anthony Conti, a 16-year-old who is facing down stage IV adrenal cortical cancer.
Make a Film Foundation — a nonprofit launched in 2007 by Tamika Lamison (who also works as a researcher/consultant in the Education Department at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) that grants film wishes for children with serious or life-threatening medical conditions — collaborated with Conti to get the short film off the ground, a zombie project called The Black Ghiandola which Conti wrote with Scott Kosar (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and additional writing by Wash Westmoreland (Still Alice).
Black Ghiandola tells the story of a young man, played by Conti, who risks his life saving a young girl he has grown to love after his family has been killed during a zombie apocalypse. Producers included Lamison, Adele Rene and Bettina Fisher with consulting producers Peter Farrelly and Sean Furst.
The three directors, Rami, Hardwicke and Melfi, took turns behind the camera during the five-day shoot, which Lamison described as a magical piece of “guerrilla filmmaking.” The project, which went before cameras in mid-November, marked the fastest preproduction and production schedule in Make a Film Foundation’s history. The org, which typically plans each project out for almost a year, saw Conti’s idea go from conception to set in one month, all with the help of the aforementioned talent who generously donated their time.