Private Project


Set decades after a bio-terrorist attack unleashes a virus upon the world, transforming much of humanity into vicious creatures and laying waste to civilization, Chrysalis follows Josh and Penelope, two survivors who have banded together in the hope of rescuing others and rebuilding civilization.

  • John Klein
    Happily After
  • Ben Kurstin
  • John Klein
    Glass City, Separation Anxiety, Happily After
  • Caleb Thusat
    Happily After
  • Brittny Heinrich
    An T'Oilean
  • Cole Simon
    Key Cast
    Under The Table
  • Sara Gorsky
    Key Cast
  • Tanya Thai McBride
    Key Cast
  • Kate Black-Spence
    Key Cast
  • Darren Callahan
    Under The Table
  • Genres:
    Horror, Science Fiction, Sci-Fi, Zombie
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 39 minutes 4 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 24, 2014
  • Production Budget:
    35,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - John Klein

JOHN KLEIN is a happily married director and cinematographer, lover of dogs, Instagram addict (@ windycitycamera ), and all-around happy dude. He has shot projects of all shapes, sizes, and budgets; whether it's short films like the neo-noir Fate Accompli or feature films such as the character-driven NightLights , or whether it's traveling around the globe for the Bangladesh documentary Strong Bodies Fight, producing promotional spots for Research Down Syndrome or the Back2School program, or lensing the HBO GO web series "Single Long" in his hometown of Chicago, he's always eager to collaborate and tell unique stories in a visually dynamic style. He also serves as the producer of the award-winning production company Glass City Films, and through that recently helmed his second feature as director, Chrysalis, which exists today thanks to the incredible generosity of over 350 Kickstarter backers and a phenomenal cast and crew.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

For me, what makes zombies so terrifying on a symbolic level is that they are, in essence, us. Whether we’re talking about undead corpses or infected humans, the fact is they were once people with families, homes, pets, children, jobs, and lives. Part of what makes a show like The Walking Dead so profoundly effective is that the title doesn’t refer to the zombies at all. It refers to the characters themselves.

Chrysalis is an attempt to plunge the depths of that metaphor by taking it one step further. In our film, the infected are also themselves going extinct. Both species are in a primal survival mode, running on pure instinct. Here, the infected, in short, represent our own fear of extinction, and whether or not we can even delay it.

“But there are so many zombie films!” you say. Can’t argue with that! What makes Chrysalis different?

Well, for one, most zombie films show life right after the infection begins. But we’ve never seen a world so far removed from the fall of Rome, the end of civilization. By taking production on the road, we were able to shed light on the urban decay so prevalent in single-industry towns throughout the Midwest, and imagine a time where nature has retaken the earth.

Ours is also the pinnacle of do-it-yourself indie filmmaking. We wouldn’t be here without the generosity and enthusiasm of our 372 Kickstarter backers, some of whom even got to be infected in the film and many of whom have admitted, “I don’t like zombie films…but I love Chrysalis.” We’re a film that’s succeeded because of the era of social media and the freedom that new technologies offer filmmakers. We’re a group of people who donated countless hours, braved the worst winter elements, and believed in this film enough to keep going. And yet we’re able to tell an epic story that is both local and global, a story very much about the world rather than one in which low budgets prohibited others from showing it.

The title of Chrysalis symbolizes rebirth and metamorphosis. It refers to Josh and Penelope, undergoing their own transitions and who represent the very future of humankind. It refers to Abira, an outlier, a survivalist, caught between her own instincts and loyalties and elements out of her control, permanently trapped in her own chrysalis. It refers to the infected, which represent the ugliness of what emerges from a cocoon in its initial stages. And it refers to the earth itself, a place ravaged by war, infection, cynicism, and environmental decay, now in its own chrysalis stage, waiting to be reborn as something pure and more beautiful than it ever was when humanity was at its peak.

And maybe, just maybe…it refers to all of us as filmmakers, on a journey in an industry going through a stunning upheaval that democratizes our art form in bold new ways.

We hope you enjoy the fruits of our journey.

John Klein, director of Chrysalis