Following a mass shooting, Leo, a high school student, returns to school where he must face the ramifications of the truth he wished to forget: his own brother was a school shooter.

  • Nikolas Lanum
  • Nikolas Lanum
  • Amanda Vitti
  • Patrick Anglin
    Key Cast
  • Deniz Himmetoglu
    Key Cast
  • Ryan Castillo
    Key Cast
  • Jarod Boardman
    Key Cast
  • Emily Akers
    Key Cast
  • Tyler Olson
    Key Cast
    "News Reporter"
  • Josette Abbey
    Key Cast
    "Mrs. Barkley"
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    April 25, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    1,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Blue and White Film Festival
    State College
    United States
    April 25, 2019
    Blue and White Film Festival
    Official Selection
  • Garden State Film Festival
    Asbury Park, NJ
    United States
    March 29, 2020
    New Jersey Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Lift-Off Global Network First-Time Filmmaker Sessions
    Pinewood Studios, England
    United Kingdom
    October 20, 2019
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Nikolas Lanum

Nikolas Lanum is a new, young, writer and director, who's directorial debut, "Leo," premiered at the Pennsylvania State University Blue and White Film Festival in April 2019.

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Director Statement

In a similar way to schools, movies were first forged as communal spaces. A place to laugh, share stories with friends and above all, learn. They were comfort, normalcy, and above all, a sanctuary for our youth. Yet, much like the Garden of Eden, the evils of society were to always find their way in.

I vividly remember one of the first indie films I saw: Melancholia by Lars Von Trier, and it scared the ever loving hell out of me. This, wasn’t entertainment, it was sadness, it was terror and it was anxiety. It was a story about confronting our own mortality, and attempting to find contentedness even in the face of potential doom. In the film, the entire planet is faced with the prospect of death, and no space is a safe one. As a parent, creating somewhere safe for your child is of utmost importance. After the 2012 Colorado movie theatre shooting, my friends parents and my own, decided that space wasn’t a safe one. In the same vein, as school shootings took to the rise and my parents watched the next headline on the early morning news, they became more open to me taking just a couple extra sick days. In the film Leo, throughout much of the story, takes the same approach that my parents did. Shielding and hiding himself from the reality of tragedy. Yet, tragedy still struck. Throughout the course of my high school career I had friends die of drug overdoses, perish in drunk driving accidents, and take to ending their own lives. These scars still cut deep.

As a filmmaker, I create stories as a way to look at those scars, turn them over in my hand and create something that is both therapeutic to myself but also integral in today’s landscape. These experiences, these tragedies are not unique to one individual, they are shared as a community. I create films about youth going through contemporary experiences because I connect with those experiences and have my own personal lens. Leo, is a film about the implications of violence and the way in which people react to it. Will they choose to bottle it up, bundle it and cage it until it explodes? Or will they decide to face it head on, learn from it, and grow? It is my hope that my artistic catharsis translates onto the screen and reflects onto the eyes of someone else. If one person can learn from my stories, even if it means facing our own tragedies, then I feel as though I succeeded.