High Score

After a young man loses his job because of his casually offensive behavior, he finds the perfect people to blame: minorities. Newly inspired by the white supremacist ideology of the "Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, we watch as he sinks into the darkest pits of the internet and takes the ideas he finds there as his own...

Logline: As his personal life unravels, a burgeoning white supremacist descends into an abyss of online radicalization and extremist conspiracy theories.

  • Serena Ryen & Ethan Itzkow
    Director / Writer / Producer
    CASHED (Streaming on Prime; HollyShorts Monthly Audience Choice Award); An Honest Politician
  • Jorge Arzac
    Director of Photography
    CASHED (Streaming on Prime; HollyShorts Monthly Audience Choice Award); Speed of Light (Academy Award-Qualifying Rhode Island Film Festival)
  • Jess Sharples
    Producer
    Jen, 28
  • Ester Jiron
    Producer
    Master of None
  • Mayra Javier-Itzkow
    Producer
    CASHED
  • Hayley Hogan
    Producer
    CASHED
  • Ethan Itzkow
    Key Cast
    "The Guy"
    YOU (Netflix Original Series), CASHED
  • Jillian Ferry
    Key Cast
    "Elizabeth Bloom"
    Bronx SIU (Daytime Emmy-nominated)
  • Naom Shapiro
    Key Cast
    "Jeremiah"
    This Land, In Color
  • Briza Covarrubias
    Key Cast
    "Paulina"
    Erin, Azrahel
  • Asia Park
    Key Makeup Artist
    Reunion of Champions, Come Around, Jen, 28
  • Cesia Cano
    Script Supervisor
    Exorcism 101, Karl, The Strange
  • Itai Lev
    Grip Intern
    Spent Saints: the Micro Shorts
  • Sabrina Robinson
    Gaffer
    A Bullet for Breakfast, Blackout, Spellbinder Shadow
  • Ted Phillips
    Sound Mixer
    Jumper, Star Trek: Captain Pike, Jason Derulo: What If
  • Krystal Manuel
    PA
    Of Mine, Ketchup, In the Thick of Thieves
  • Nichole Ruiz
    Assistant Camera
    You, The Sea Was Never Blue, The Switch Up
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 1, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    17:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Chelsea Film Festival
    Virtual (NYC)
    United States
    October 15, 2020
    World Premiere
    Awards: Best Short Film (Le Petit Prix), Best Actor in a Short Film (for Ethan Itzkow)
  • 16th Annual Oscar Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival
    Virtual (Los Angeles)
    November 16, 2020
    West Coast Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Culver City Film Festival
    Virtual (Culver City, CA)
    United States
    December 4, 2020
    Award: Best Thriller Short
  • Cinematters: NY Social Justice Film Festival
    Virtual (NYC)
    United States
    January 14, 2021
    Official Selection
  • Paris International Film Festival
    Virtual (Paris)
    France
    February 4, 2021
    French Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography

Serena Ryen and Ethan Itzkow collaborated previously on "CASHED," which is streaming now on Amazon Prime, screened at over a dozen festivals around the United States, and won awards like the Audience Choice Award with HollyShorts Monthly Screenings at the historic TCL Chinese Theater; Best Dramatic Short, Best Actress, and Best Cinematography at CICHFF; as well as a nomination for Best Comedy Short with the Queens World Film Festival.

Ryen and Itzkow are also both regularly working actors. Itzkow won Best Actor at CFF for his work in "High Score" and can be seen in TV shows like the hit Netflix series “YOU” starring Penn Badgley. Ryen has acted opposite stars like Ron Rifkin, toured the world in multiple stage productions, and performed on stages like the Tony Award-Winning Cincinnati Playhouse and Carnegie Hall.

They are deeply grateful to the incredible team of artists and aggressive problem-solvers who have made this film possible.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

In April 2019, while we were in Los Angeles preparing to attend a screening of our film “CASHED," the Poway synagogue shooting occurred not far away. It left us shaken and thinking of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting exactly six months before, and of countless others in recent years.

The unlawful detainment of Central American people attempting to immigrate to the U.S. also weighed on us profoundly. We couldn’t shake the feeling that the inhumane conditions at our southern border’s detention centers seemed connected to the growing wave of white supremacist violence. It lit a fire inside us, an aching need to do more to better our world (or, like we say in the Jewish tradition, to contribute to the effort of Tikkun Olam).

“High Score” was born of our need to drag the violent hatred fermenting in the shadows of our media into the light, to expose the interconnectedness of these conspiracy theories and the dangers they pose to human life, and to reveal the almost supernatural power of the internet to amplify extremist ideologies and radicalize people toward violent actions. We hope you’ll join our fight to end white supremacy and racial violence.

- Serena Ryen & Ethan Itzkow
Directors, "High Score"