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The Tolls

The final days of WWII. While mourning the loss of his wife at sea, U.S. army corporal Wes Morris confronts a mysterious stranger who has infiltrated his base. The intruder possesses a top secret S.S. technology, which transports them to an alternate, Nazi occupied San Francisco. Here, Wes will put the lives of millions at risk in order to reunite with his lost love.

  • Liz Anderson
    Director
  • Wylie Herman
    Writer
    The Esquire
  • Liz Anderson
    Writer
  • Michael Balke
    Producer
  • Richard Southard
    Producer
  • Wylie Herman
    Key Cast
    The Walking Dead: The Game
  • Anthony Veneziale
    Key Cast
  • Kelli Shane
    Key Cast
  • Anthony Cistaro
    Key Cast
    Sense8
  • Spencer McCall
    Editor
    The Institute
  • Dean Sofer
    Editor
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Sci-fi, drama, war, action, adventure
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    October 15, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    RED
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.85
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Miami International Science Fiction Film Festival
    Miami, FL
    United States
    January 14, 2018
    WINNER: Best Soundtrack, short
  • Philip K. Dick Science Fiction and Supernatural Festival
    Manhattan, NY
    United States
    February 25, 2018
  • Hollyshorts Monthly Screening
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    January 25, 2018
  • Pensacon
    Pensacola, Florida
    United States
    February 23, 2018
    WINNER: Audience Choice Award
  • Sunscreen Film Festival
    St. Petersburg, Florida
    United States
    May 5, 2018
Director Biography - Liz Anderson

Liz Anderson is an actor, filmmaker, teaching artist, and native San Franciscan. She is a graduate of the San Francisco School of the Arts theater program and holds a B.F.A. in theater from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. She has served as a bilingual arts educator and curriculum designer in public schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco, master teaching artist for the Brava Theater Academy, theater department chair for the Academy of Arts and Science, and program director for the Stonestreet Studios NYU Tisch LA Intensive Program. Anderson has worked with California Shakespeare Theater, Magic Theatre, Brava, Playwrights Foundation, and is a company member with the Leela Faculty Improv Ensemble and PlayGround at Berkeley Rep. Her film, TV, and voiceover work includes Trauma, Dyke Central, SanFranLand, Bioshock Infinite, TV pilot The Grey Area, WWII sci-fi film The Tolls, as well as numerous TV and radio commercials.

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Director Statement

I've always been equal parts fascinated and horrified by the human capacity for hypocrisy, and for rationalizing one's own behavior while condemning others. The story of humanity is a story punctuated by villainy and atrocity. But amongst those villains, with few exceptions, most considered their actions to be moral.

This compelling need we have, to see ourselves as the “good-guys”, appears fundamental to our identities. It’s easy to recognize the darkness in others, but it's so hard to recognize it in ourselves. How often do we cast a critical eye on ourselves in the same way we cast it on others? Why must our culture reduce such complex beings down to “good guys” and “bad guys"? Does the imposition of that dichotomy force us to rationalize our own bad behavior and eschew critical self-reflection?

When we see a character wearing a German S.S. uniform, our moral assessment is instant. We know where we stand on the spectrum of good vs. evil.  But what happens when our hero makes the same choices as our villain?  When he takes the same actions, motivated by the same desire.  In our film, both men are motivated by the prospect of being reunited with their families, both knowing the potential of destroying countless lives in their wakes. Why are we able to justify the actions of our "hero" over our "villain"?  Is it because they're wearing different uniforms?

Through the lens of WWII era science fiction, we've explored these ideas in a way that will hopefully inspire you to question the beliefs and assumptions you've held about the motivations of others whom we consider "evil". The line between "us" and "them" might be thinner than you think.

-Liz Anderson, October, 2017