Craniac! by Paul M Villanova
Director: Paul M Villanova. Production Budget: 20,000 USD. Country of origin: United States. Country of Filming: United States
Short low budget Film (budget over $5k USD)
A young filmmaker is obsessed with the idea of projecting his film across the sky of the city he lives in. Unbeknownst to him, the creative choices he is making in his film are being driven by a tiny Martian that lives inside of his brain.
When the filmmaker encounters a woman driven to destroy Martians, it sets off a radioactive, brain-exploding, chain of events that project across the sky for the whole city to see…
Director Biography — Paul Villanova
Paul Villanova is a filmmaker based out of Boston, MA. His films are characterized by surreal situations operating within a traditional narrative structure. In 2010, Paul enrolled in a Masters Film program at Boston University (BU). His first year film, Grudge Match, screened at multiple festivals including the 2012 Boston International Film Festival and the 2012 Online New England Film Festival. Octopus, Paul’s entry in the 33rd Munich International Festival of Film Schools, was produced as his Masters Thesis for BU. Paul received his Masters in Fine Arts in 2013. He currently resides in Boston with his wife, Patty, his daughter Tessie and his cat, Nixon.
Filmmaking literally saved my life. While screening my film “Octopus” (2013) at the Munich International Festival of Film Schools, I was approached at the awards show after party by a strange looking German man. He said, in broken English, “Excuse me, do you know you have a disease”. After some confusion, I became aware that this man was a doctor, and he was spot-diagnosing me with a condition known as Acromegaly, caused by a brain tumor. This disease changes your appearance over the course of years, so slowly that your friends, loved ones, even doctors may not notice. As it turned out, I had been undiagnosed for a decade, and if I had not traveled to Germany to screen my film, I may not have been diagnosed until it was too late.
My wife and I made our peace with this diagnosis by anthropomorphizing the tumor, referring to it as my “unexpected guest”, and making him the butt of our jokes. Following the thread of this gallows humor, I began to imagine a film where the protagonist is battling an antagonist inside his own head. During this period, I also began to question what it was that drove this insatiable motivation to create films, to tell stories. I imagined a dystopian artistic fantasy, where unbeknownst to the artist, his creative choices are all being guided by a creature in his head – for nefarious purposes.
This film is the output of one of the most surreal periods of my life, and I believe it contains the same absurdity, humor and anxiety of that time.