Private Project

Silver Age

A young underachiever struggles to navigate his grandfather Gus's senile paranoia, attempting to establish a more personal connection before his mind deteriorates completely, all while unraveling the mystery of Gus's past with the help of a sinister stranger.

Elliot, a man in his thirties living in the apartment his family left to him, is asked by his father to take care of Gus, his grandfather in the midst of senility. Uncertain of his ability to handle such a weighty responsibility, Elliot is soon overwhelmed by his grandfather's fantastical, sometimes violent episodes of paranoia. When a mysterious letter with spidery handwriting arrives in the mail, Gus flies into a panicked rage and Elliot fears he's "broken" his grandfather. Elliot is awoken suddenly by Gus in the full throes of a fantasy wearing goggles and affecting a bizarre voice, his withered, but strong, hands firmly grasping at Elliot's shoulders.

Amidst all of this, Elliot is haunted by the name his grandfather keeps repeating: The Red Talon.

After fruitlessly enlisting the help of his childhood friend, Lucy, Elliot determines to track down the author of the enigmatic letter for answers. He finds a generous old man, Kurt, who offers to tell Elliot anything he wants to know about the man he considers his oldest friend…and his greatest enemy. When Elliot mentions The Red Talon, Kurt transforms from a kindly septuagenarian to a steely-eyed villain and reveals to him that Gus used to be a masked vigilante, and he his arch nemesis. Before fleeing the house, Kurt tells Elliot to ask his grandfather about Ben Kovak.

Rushing back home, Elliot finds Gus passed out on the couch, his trunk open and a collection of files bearing the name of a child missing since 1957: Ben Kovak. As Elliot questions whether he really knows anything about his grandfather, Kurt dons a pair of bright red laboratory gloves and washes the dishes, his gentle laughter crescendoing to a maniacal cackle.

  • Steve Makowski
    Pig Lady, Massacre at Black Divide
  • Harrison Lees
  • Harrison Lees
  • Leah Richmond Cooper
  • Harrison Lees
    Key Cast
    Afterschool, Girlfriend
  • Mark Bramhall
    Key Cast
    Annabelle: Creation, Star Trek
  • Robert E. Weiner
    Key Cast
    Autumn, The Surface
  • Lony'e Perrine
    Key Cast
    Criminal Minds, Funny Married Stuff
  • Jon Keel
    Key Cast
    Solve, Electives
  • Project Type:
    Short, Television, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Drama, Superhero, Family, Disability, Fantasy
  • Runtime:
    22 minutes 17 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 21, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    21,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Wyoming International Film Festival
    Cheyenne, WY
    United States
    July 10, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Ramsgate International Film and Television Festival
    United Kingdom
    June 12, 2022
    International Premiere
    Official Selection
    New York City
    United States
    April 8, 2022
    Official Selection
  • Other Worlds Film Festival
    Austin, TX
    United States
    December 3, 2021
    Texas Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Dances With Films
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    September 3, 2021
    World Premiere
  • BLOW-Up International Arthouse Festival
    Chicago, IL
    United States
    December 5, 2021
  • LA Shorts International Film Festival
    Los Angeles, CA
    United States
    October 8, 2020
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Burbank International Film Festival
    Burbank, CA
    United States
    September 23, 2020
    Finalist (New Media)
  • Santa Monica International Film Festival
    Santa Monica
    United States
    December 31, 2020
    Honorable Mention
    New York City
    United States
    Honorable Mention
  • Irvine International Film Festival
    Santa Ana, CA
    United States
    May 9, 2020
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Steve Makowski, Harrison Lees

Steve is a branded content director and photographer who works with companies like Popular Mechanics, Esquire and Good Housekeeping. He’s also an accomplished editor and has recently been honing his skills in visual effects. In between client work, Steve directs short films like the horror/comedy Pig Lady, which stars Troy Gentile (ABC’s The Goldbergs). Previously, Steve worked with writer/director Wes Anderson at American Empirical Pictures and in physical production at Miramax Films.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I (Harrison Lees) wrote the screenplay for Silver Age while my family was working to take care of my grandfather who had Alzheimer's. It was terrifying watching this man whom I knew well slowly crumble and fade into a paranoid stranger with a mentality like that of a confused child. It was during this time that I learned his condition was most likely genetic and that I might expect to experience the same sickness.

I wanted to bring that sense of turbulence to my project; the agonizing juxtaposition of wanting to care for someone you love, but also being frightened of the violent interloper pretending to be them, all the while hating oneself for thinking selfishly about one's own genetic predisposition. The twist in the plot, where Elliot discovers that his grandfather was at one time a masked vigilante superhero, was born out of my own experiences interacting with my grandfather and wondering how much of the stories he would tell me were real or simply a fantasy pieced together through decades of pop culture consumption.

Since completing this film, I've lost my other grandfather to the same disease and my father has been diagnosed with early onset. This subject is obviously very personal to me and I'm exploring several ways to expand this story and continue to examine this unique family dynamic.