Private Project

Road Kill

A horror-comedy about a struggling comedian who gets the chance to meet her Idol, but discovers that she’s hiding a deadly secret.

  • Joel Liss
  • Joshua Stein
  • Joel Liss
  • Joshua Stein
  • Nina Lane
  • Clara Montague
    Regal Coca-Cola: The Library
  • Manny Sanchez
  • Joel Liss
  • Joshua Stein
  • Nina Lane
    Key Cast
  • Kelsey Leigh
    Key Cast
    "Charlotte Seigel"
  • Michael Yoon
    Key Cast
  • Julia Corcoran
    Director of Photography
  • Manny Sanchez
    Reimagining the War
  • Jared Sotto
    3D Animation
  • Dylan Clark
    AE Comps and Additional VFX
  • Ray Deutch
    Casting and Talent Coordinator
  • Nick Cook
    Original Score
  • Gracie Neagoy
    Sound Design and On-Set Audio
    Conversations Between Shifts
  • Colin Costa-Walsh
    Sound Design
  • Clara Montague
    Re-Recording Mixer & Post Sound Supervisor
  • Samuel Carter
    First Assistant Director
  • Mary Turner
    Script Supervisor & Second Assistant Director
  • Olivia Acuna
    Camera Assistants
  • Bailey Rye
    Camera Assistants
  • Benjamin Basem
    Assistant On-Set Audio
    Conversations Between Shifts
  • Jesse Brooks
    Lighting Designer & Electrician
  • Matan Berman
    Best Boy
  • Andrew Bellomo
    Key Grip
  • Tiro Serobe
    Production Designer
  • Peyton Schabilion
    SFX Makeup
  • Kurstin Moser
    Post Production Color
  • Bella Barbieri
    Assistant Editors
  • Kendall Martin
    Assistant Editors
  • Tenzin Namgyel
    BTS Photography
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Horror, Comedy, Drama
  • Runtime:
    21 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    December 11, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    10,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Super 16mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Ithaca College
Director Biography - Joel Liss, Joshua Stein

We're Joel Liss and Joshua Stein; filmmakers and playwrights based in Ithaca, NY. We love to make entertainment as strange as it is thoughtful.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Roadkill is a concept Joel has been tossing around since his first year at Ithaca College. At the time he was kicking around ideas for characters I could write for an actor friend, landing on the idea of a killer comedian. The comedian Mike Birbiglia likes to tell stories about his time as a struggling comedian, and the way he would ferry himself across the east coast in a car he bought from his parents for $500. As a new car owner himself, Joel was fascinated by how quickly we can become so connected to a piece of machinery that carries you around from point A to point B.
The idea developed into the story of a comedian who comes into possession of a killer car, and drives the beast across the country, slaughtering his fellow comics and becoming successful in the process. An avid fan of puns, he named the project Road Kill, wrote one page, and then left it alone for three years. It never would have occurred to Joel to try something as ambitious as Road Kill for his senior thesis film. But then, something funny happened. He met some people, and then he kept meeting people, and before he knew it, he had met a school full of incredibly talented people who love making movie magic. One of those people was Joshua Stein. The two were instant friends and, soon, incredibly close creative collaborators.

Road Kill is a portrait of those who let toxic competition control their decisions, its effects on them and those around them. Every industry encourages competition, the arts and entertainment industries especially. Oftentimes, even studying film at college, that competitive culture can turn toxic. We’ve seen it happen, and we’ve been part of it. The drive to reach the top, no matter the consequences, cannot be sustained without hurting others. This film aims to portray these horrors. Charlotte Seigel, Road Kill’s killer comic, represents what happens when this ideology is taken to its extremes - pushing young aspiring comedian Alex to move forward maliciously and mercilessly in her pursuit of a career in comedy. This competition to the top can get ugly. That’s what we’d like audiences to come away with.

Road Kill was shot on 16mm Kodak Vision3 500T film using the Aaton XTR Prod, with intense, colorful cinematography highlighting the uncanny hues of Charlotte’s green 1995 Acura Integra, and evoking the work of classic horror filmmakers such as John Carpenter. Harsh, textured light slashes across the actor’s face - highlighting Charlotte Seigel’s intense comic presence, and trapping Alex in an ideological web. A creeping score, meeting somewhere in the middle of Bernard Herman’s classical orchestral tension and postmodern horror synth, was implemented sparingly, heightening the tension of Alex’s corruption at the hands of her idol. These stylistic choices work in support of our textured characters. Road Kill is a fun, insightful look at the dangerous side of professional drive, told through the appealing lens of classic b-movie horror.