Grave Decision

"Grave Decision" is a 6-minute psychological thriller where a wife frantically buries a body in a remote forest. As she works, her estranged husband unexpectedly appears, sparking a tense and mysterious confrontation. The film explores their fraught relationship and the hidden tensions that drive their unsettling encounter, revealing a shocking twist at the end.

  • Aaron Shabansky
    Death Divas, Curtain Call
  • Tom Batt
  • Aaron Shabansky
  • Emma Wilkinson
    Key Cast
  • Cameron Lee Price
    Key Cast
  • Jacob Schumacher
  • Dustin Hoffer
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Thriller, Psychological, Mystery
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 47 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 25, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Lift- Off Global Network
    United Kingdom
    September 18, 2023
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Aaron Shabansky

Born in Boise, Idaho, Aaron Shabansky discovered a profound passion for filmmaking at an early age.

After relocating to Seattle, Washington, Aaron dived headfirst into the film industry. He played an instrumental role as a production manager, contributing his expertise to a diverse range of short films and TV pilots. In addition to his managerial skills, Aaron showcased his versatility by stepping in front of the camera, earning recognition as an actor in numerous projects within the Seattle entertainment scene, including collaborations on Microsoft projects.

"Grave Decision" holds a special place in Aaron's career. As he aspires to break into the competitive film industry in Los Angeles, he recognizes the unique opportunity this film presents to showcase his storytelling skills and directorial talent.

Aaron's directorial talent shone brightly with "Death Divas," a short film that garnered accolades and premiered to acclaim at the competitive 48 Hour Film Project in Seattle.

While balancing his filmmaking pursuits, Aaron maintains a dynamic day job as a project manager for a tech company specializing in ERP implementations. His background in project management adds a unique layer of expertise and organizational finesse to his creative endeavors.

Now based in Los Angeles, Aaron Shabansky stands on the precipice of a promising career in directing, producing, acting, or production management. With a rich and diverse portfolio, a commitment to storytelling, and the added depth of his tech industry experience, he is poised to make an indelible mark on the world of cinema, ready for the exciting opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

"Grave Decision" is not just a film; it's Aaron's next step toward achieving his aspirations in the film industry, and he invites you to be a part of this transformative journey.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I'm Aaron Shabansky, and I'm honored to share the story and vision behind "Grave Decision." This film is deeply personal to me, rooted in my own challenging and abusive upbringing that has given me a unique perspective into the lives of others. It's a narrative that has been waiting to be told, and I believe its themes are as important as they are haunting.

"Grave Decision" is a psychological thriller that allows us to peer into the psyche of our main character, the wife, and understand the dark forces that drove her to commit a shocking act. What initially drew me to this script was its intricate exploration of psychological torment, manipulation, and the moral dilemma it presents. As the audience, we find ourselves sympathizing with the wife as we witness her husband's relentless abuse throughout the film, only to be confronted with the chilling revelation that she is his killer.

I see "Grave Decision" as a woman-empowering film, shedding light on the complexities of abusive relationships and the dire consequences they can lead to. The forest setting, the characters, and the emotional intensity all serve to craft a narrative that leaves an indelible mark on the audience.

In terms of artistic choices, we aimed to make the filmmaking feel raw and immediate, as if we were inside the woman's mind. Initially, we considered shooting the wife and husband entirely separately to emphasize his role as a haunting presence. However, we ultimately decided to include them together in several shots, allowing us to expose the dysfunction and abuse in their relationship more vividly.

The film is rich with themes and motifs that reflect the depths of the human psyche. It explores themes of confinement, entrapment, and the consequences of a toxic relationship. The forest itself serves as a powerful metaphor for the tangled emotional landscape within the wife's mind.

Challenges were abundant during the making of "Grave Decision." We operated on an extremely limited budget of just $2,000, which I personally funded. With only two days to shoot and a modest crew, we ventured into the wilderness of Washington state, facing relentless bugs, unforgiving heat, and scorching sun. Despite these challenges, we remained steadfast in our commitment to bring this story to life.

For the audience, I hope "Grave Decision" leaves a lasting impression. I hope viewers are haunted by the moral dilemma the wife faced in her abusive marriage and that the shocking twist at the end sparks deep reflection. It's my desire that this film resonates, provokes thought, and ignites conversations about the intricate layers of human relationships.

My filmmaking philosophy centers on the belief that cinema has the power to challenge perceptions, illuminate hidden truths, and provide a platform for empathy and understanding. "Grave Decision" embodies these principles by delving into the darkest corners of the human experience.

In closing, "Grave Decision" is a labor of love and a testament to the resilience of storytelling. I invite you to join me on this journey, where we navigate the complex terrain of the human psyche, confront our own moral dilemmas, and ultimately, seek understanding in the face of darkness.