Private Project

The Gap in the Doorway

Syd, a grief-stricken painter who has briefly disappeared from the art world, makes a comeback with an exhibit that puts his life on display in disturbing yet honest detail. However, Syd’s therapist and girlfriend suspect he isn’t being entirely truthful with the picture he’s painting.

  • Leighton Alexander McCrimmon
    3:27AM: A Nightmare Short (2018) Sweetheart (2018)
  • Leighton Alexander McCrimmon
    3:27AM: A Nightmare Short (2018) Sweetheart (2018)
  • Carolina Santos-Serrano
    LOLA: The Short Film
  • Mia Kasahara
  • Granville Davis
    Key Cast
    Plant Parenthood, All Hail Maukavas
  • Sydni Michelle Perry
    Key Cast
    The Hollywoodfizz Show, Thorns, Luperca
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Psychological, Drama, Surreal, Experimental
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 37 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    2,900 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Savannah College of Art & Design
Director Biography - Leighton Alexander McCrimmon

I was born and raised in the small town of Oxford, Alabama where I developed a passion for art at a young age. What started out as an interest in painting quickly developed into expression through creative writing. My first job in high school involved me writing weekly columns for our local newspaper on various topics from the perspective of a teenager. While I was doing that, I was entering horror short story competitions (this started when I was twelve years-old). Immediately after graduating from high school, I left my small town and headed for the big city of Atlanta, Georgia where I would study film for the next five years.

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Director Statement

This film pulls from real life experiences, emotions, and thoughts and comes together in the form of an abstract, experimental narrative about a withdrawn artist whose inner voice is pushing him to embrace his truth and confront himself. Our main character, Syd, has witnessed the horrific death of an ex-girlfriend but it’s a death that’s vague on the details. We see it from his perspective but that doesn’t mean it’s exactly how the events unfolded. Syd is an alcoholic and he’ll maintain a series of lies to hide his truth from everyone else around him whether it be him saying he’s going to therapy or creating this narrative on how his ex-girlfriend passed away. There’s so much that Syd is responsible for but he would rather die than admit to it.

What I wanted this story to accomplish is that feeling of being lied to. I want audience members to feel confused and mislead by the way we see everything unfold from Syd’s perspective. Addiction comes with lies and those lies get told to loved ones. They’re mislead and end up feeling betrayed when the truth comes out—a feeling I’m all too familiar with as the one who was once creating those lies. Audiences may find themselves lost in the timeline of our story and that’s intentional. Syd’s story is all over the place and it isn’t entirely clear what the truth behind his lies are. That’s the point. It’s up to the viewer to make their own assumptions on what Syd is hiding from them.

Addiction, trauma, and the cycle of violence are all daunting themes to approach as a filmmaker especially if this is the first film they’re tackling. I hope that this film showcases my ability to overcome those challenges and to prove that I can introduce non-traditional forms of storytelling. I want people to see this film and be left with more questions than answers so that they hopefully go back and watch it again after the credits roll. I hope that people who have struggled with addiction, or have loved ones who have struggled, to see this film and get the feeling that they’re not alone. This film is heavy in terms of subject matter, and it explores some of the darkest thoughts when hiding addiction—it doesn’t exactly end well but it brings to light the cycle of addiction, trauma, and violence in a way that hasn’t been seen before.

With that, I don’t want people to watch my film and think that this is all that I have to offer. I don’t plan on making deeply dramatic and personal films for the rest of my career. I have some laughs and scares to share. One thing’s for certain; surrealism will always have a place in my films. Surrealism allows me to get experimental with my stories and approach them in an infinite number of ways whether it be for horror, comedy, or drama—it will be in my films.

The Gap in the Doorway is the first of many films I plan for audience to enjoy and think about. I hope that this film sets the tone for what I’m capable of doing and intrigues people enough to give me the opportunity to bring this talent to the industry so that I can continue telling compelling stories. With this film, I’m looking to inspire other filmmakers and the ones who have been in my shoes with no previous experience so that they’ll put themselves to the test in telling a story that digs deep and proves to them that they can go beyond what they think they’re capable of doing.