Private Project

Occurrence at Mills Creek: The Short Film

Cassandra awakens to a nightmare as her pleas to be seen and heard by her sister Clara are taken as supernatural occurrences.

  • Don Swanson
    Erson, Forest Queen, A Wish for Giants, Behind Closed Doors, What Was Lost
  • Don Swanson
    Erson, Forest Queen, Behind Closed Doors, What Was Lost
  • Don Swanson
    Erson, Forest Queen
  • Betsy Lynn George
    Key Cast
    Billy Idol's "Cradle of Love" Music Video
  • Alexa Mechling
    Key Cast
    Forest Queen, A Wish for Giants
  • Joe Fishel
    Key Cast
    The Dark Knight Rises, A Wish for Giants
  • Ava Psoras
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, Horror, Thriller
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 5, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Parkway Theater & Film Lounge
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    United States
    July 5, 2019
    World Premiere
  • Queen City Film Festival
    Cumberland, MD
    United States
    October 5, 2019
    1st Place - Best Horror/Sci-fi Short
  • Youngstown Independent Film Festival
    Youngstown, OH
    United States
    October 12, 2019
    Honorable Mention
  • NAFCO Fall Film Festival
    DuBois, PA
    United States
    October 26, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Audience Awards Film Festival
    Missoula, MT
    United States
    November 8, 2019
    Official Selection
  • Oregon Scream Week
    Portland, OR
    United States
    December 7, 2019
    Nominee - Best Actress, Ava Psoras
  • DRUK International Film Festival
    December 18, 2019
    Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel)
  • IndieX Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    December 20, 2019
    Nominated for Best Film Noir Short and Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel)
  • L'Age d'Or International Arthouse Film Festival
    December 21, 2019
    Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel) Award
  • Royal Wolf Film Awards
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    January 1, 2020
    Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel) and Best Supporting Actress (Betsy Lynn George) Awards
  • FROSTBITE International Indie Fest
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    United States
    January 2, 2020
    Nominated for Best Horror Short
  • American Golden Picture International Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    January 3, 2020
    Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel)
  • Hollywood Blood Horror Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    January 5, 2020
    Best Mystery, Best Producers (Joe Fishel and Betsy Lynn George), and Best Actress (Ava Psoras) Awards and Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel)
  • Mindfield Film Festival
    Albuquerque, NM
    United States
    January 9, 2020
    Best Supporting Actress (Betsy Lynn George) and Best Trailer Diamond Awards and Best Actress (Ava Psoras), Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel), Best Editing (Don Swanson), and Best Original Score (Mark D'Errico and Mia Zanotti) Gold Awards
  • Calcutta International Cult Film Festival
    January 25, 2020
    Nominated for Best Supporting Actor (Joe Fishel
  • Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival
    Russian Federation
    January 25, 2020
    Nominated for Film of the Month
  • Reels of the Dead Film Festival
    Atlanta, GA
    United States
    February 8, 2020
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Don Swanson

Don Swanson is an internationally screened and reviewed award-winning filmmaker. Beginning under the banner of Spruce Films in 2000, Don has written and directed over a dozen short films and other projects that, aside from playing and winning festivals, have had hundreds of thousands online viewings, been for sale in unique venues like the Vans Warped Tour and on DVD compilations available on Don has multiple degrees in media and film production and teaches senior high English and Media & Video Production.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Coming off of a long and exhausting feature, I was looking forward to taking a step back and not dedicating to anything too intensive for a while. However, I had promised young actress Alexa Mechling that I would use her in a horror short some time in the near future. As fate would have it, another young lady named Ava Psoras became aware of the project and commented that her mom would be perfect for the role of Alexa’s character’s mother in the developing story.

Ava’s mom is none other than Betsy Lynn George, the video vixen of Billy Idol’s Cradle of Love music video and various other television and film projects. The story was refined as the script drafts took into consideration the potential possibilities associated with the attention the burgeoning project was getting before settling into a finely tuned Project Proposal. After watching some of my work , specifically Forest Queen and erson, Ms. George agreed to the project and Ava was cast as Clara, sister to Alexa’s Cassandra. Additionally, veteran character actor Joe Fishel and rising talent Jace Armentrout came on board to fill out the cast.

A talented and dedicated crew has been assembled from the best of the best that I have ever had the pleasure to work with over the years to help usher this unsettling nightmare to life.

Every element of this project came together as a perfect storm that continued into the recently completed feature film.