CRAM

We all do what we gotta do to pass – except Marc. Desperate to somehow finish his final final paper, he struggles to cram all night in the library. But the library has other plans for him....

  • Abie Sidell
    Writer & Director
  • Trevor Wallace
    Producer
  • Zachry J. Bailey
    Producer
  • Felix Handte
    Executive Producers
  • Abie Sidell
    Executive Producers
  • Felix Handte
    Cinematographer
  • John DiMino
    Key Cast
    "Marc Lack"
  • Carolina Đỗ
    Key Cast
    "Alice Pham"
  • Conrado Falco III
    Key Cast
    "Gonzalo"
  • Jane Bradley
    Key Cast
    "Libra"
  • Tobías Arizio
    Key Cast
    "PhD Candidate"
  • Marc Winski
    Key Cast
    "The Uniformed Student"
  • Joel Brody
    Key Cast
    "Old Man"
  • Sasha
    Key Cast
    "Sajda Waite"
  • Matthew Elijah Webb
    Key Cast
    "Pre-Law Guy"
  • Patrick Ball
    Key Cast
    "Finance Bro"
  • Madeline Seidman
    Key Cast
    "Pre-Espionage Girl"
  • Rolando Chusan
    Key Cast
    "The Machinist"
  • Himself
    Key Cast
    "Cooper"
  • Brandon E. Burton
    Key Cast
    "The Master of the Books"
  • Trevor Wallace
    Editors
  • Abie Sidell
    Editors
  • Sydney Amanuel
    Production Designer
  • Alexandra Nyman
    Costume Designer
  • Daniel Rudin
    Music by
  • Daniela Hart
    Sound Designer
  • Jon Hanford
    Special Effects
  • Beatrice Sniper
    SFX Makeup
  • Rolando Chusan
    Casting
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Horror, Dark Fantasy
  • Runtime:
    43 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 14, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    2.4:1
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography

Abie Sidell is a Queens, New York based filmmaker. With his production company Radical Rhinoceros Pictures, Abie has directed award-winning short films, music videos, and branded content for clients including Marvel and Facebook. He moonlights as a personal chef to his roommates.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I was never a good student. I remember wanting to be, if only to get all the yelling to stop. But even with that pressure, or maybe because of it, I could never muster the will to try. Easier to fail as a matter of course.

The thing is, I loved learning. I read voraciously, and excelled in those subjects which piqued my interest. But my round interests didn’t fit inside the square hole that was school. I went to a specialized math and science high school, where going to a prestigious college was the only conceivable path. I could never find my footing. As a bad student, I was spared the burden of Ivy League expectations and instead shamefully consigned to a less well-known school that still found enough grace to charge $50k in annual tuition.

I lasted one year.

In picking up the pieces of that ruined future I’d never wanted in the first place, I eventually discovered a work ethic, a resolve to make something of myself and prove the system wrong. With that came the desire to help other people who were struggling feel less alone than I did. That’s what led me to make CRAM. In the movie, a bad student named Marc is one screw up away from flunking out of school. It’s safe to say that many of us have been there.

Why is that? Why is our experience of learning universally suffused with fear? Why have we all had the same nightmare? You know the one. It’s finals week. Just one more paper and you’ll be done. The finish line is so close. You’ll graduate with everyone else if you can bear just one more long night in the library. All you have to do is finish. this. paper.

But you know how the rest plays out. There was another assignment you’d forgotten; a class you’d never been to, the paper you’d been writing all night vanishes without a trace. In every form of the dream, your effort is insufficient. Others might succeed, but never you. You’re a failure.

CRAM is that nightmare. It’s a movie about how it feels to be caught in the trap of higher education, a movie that unmasks the ugly face of academia underneath all that pomp and circumstance. Imagine – vampires who don’t need to hunt in secret, because we’ve been seduced into offering ourselves up to them willingly. We pay them for the privilege of being consumed.

Like my favorite horror movies, CRAM takes a stab at these ideas while also aiming to make people laugh, scream, and cry. Translating the familiar experiences and textures of higher education into the expressive language of horror allowed us to create thrilling moments that reveal dark truths about our (literally) monstrous higher education system. So many incredible artists have given so much to help make CRAM the wild ride that it is, and we’re so proud of our work.

I want lots of people to see CRAM of course. I can’t claim that this movie contains all the secrets needed to exorcise every academic demon, but I hope the audience leaves feeling provoked, compelled to reconsider their relationship with higher ed.