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
  • Austin Film Festival
    Austin, TX
    United States
    October 22, 2021
    World Premiere
    Audience Award Winner
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.

I often battled depression and at times debilitating anxiety. In junior year of high school I flirted with a dependence on benzos just to quell my fear enough to make it into the building. When I finally made it to college (to film school no less!) I flunked out after a year because I was too depressed to go to class. At the time, I always felt alone.

I wasn’t, of course. So many people struggle – often much worse than I did – and receive even less support. I’ve been privileged to have people in my life who love me through my failures and steward me toward all my successes.

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.

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.

Like my favorite horror movies, CRAM takes a stab at these ideas while also aiming to make people laugh, scream, and cry. But I feel CRAM is more than just a spooky story. By holding a light to the sources of our collective fears and traumas, horror movies can exorcise real demons. Through our exposure and vulnerability on screen, people can come together in real life.

I know this movie can offer that to audiences because it’s how it was made.

Behind the scenes, CRAM was the compassionate and collaborative (and fun!) education so many of us never had. If the best thing about making movies is that they cannot be made alone, then that's the case because movies can only be made by embracing different people with different strengths and giving them the space to grow and find inspiration – the exact thing we felt was absent in our experience of higher education.

My belief is that CRAM, despite its terrors, can also offer that feeling of solidarity to everyone who joins us on this journey. 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, and less alone.

Abie Sidell