The Kranken

Three campers set out to capture a monster for $50k.

  • Michelle Tang
  • Michelle Tang
  • Ben Nakhuda
  • Teagan Burgess
  • Theo Baldwin Edwards
    Key Cast
  • Finn Pile
    Key Cast
  • Ciel Carillo
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Thriller, Bromance
  • Runtime:
    4 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    30 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Prodigy Camp (Metuchen High School Student)
Director Biography - Michelle Tang

Michelle Tang is a young filmmaker from NJ. Tang directed "The Kranken" at 17 years old. She first discovered filmmaking in 8th grade, but was afraid to pursue a career in the arts due to pressure from her STEM focused family. But, as she created more and more films, Michelle could not see herself doing anything else. So, she took a leap of faith and decided that film was the route that she wanted to go. Her parents were shocked by her love and dedication for the craft. Instead of pushing her away from filmmaking, they became supportive and encouraged to go down this once frightening path. Since creating her first film, Tang's work has screened at over 60 film festivals around the world. Along the way, Tang has earned national honors, including being nominated for two National Student Emmys and named a YoungArts winner. Currently, Michelle is studying Psychology and Filmmaking at Princeton University.

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Director Statement

At Prodigy Camp, we were tasked to write a 2-3 page screenplay to shoot at camp within 3.5 hours with less than a day to edit. This task seemed daunting, so I decided not to write a heavy drama like I usually do. I ended up writing a light-hearted comedy about three campers trying to capture a monster. Rick, the camp director, loved it! During camp, I learned about how to use my past and the options I've felt as juice for my screenplays. All of a sudden, I realized why I was losing motivation: my stories had no personal significance. I never thought that my story was worth telling. And so I went back into my script and chose a character that I resonated most with: Tommy. I'm very sensitive and I've never been much of a risk-taker. I both love and hate that I myself. I looked deeper. I found the flaws in my characters and built their pasts. Tommy’s mother is an alcoholic and as a result, he lacks confidence and refuses to take risks because his whole life was spent walking on eggshells. Caden has trouble expressing his emotions and represses how he feels about his mother's illness, so he channels that energy towards aggression. Tommy overcomes this fear of taking risks when he decides to fight the monster for Caden’s mom’s chemotherapy and Caden becomes vulnerable when he tells the truth about his mother and when he decides to reunite with Tommy. And soon, I felt my story take shape. It was no longer just a silly tale about three teens capturing a monster, but a film about two boys who bond over their fears.
After a few hours of editing and experimenting with a new style, I exported a rough cut to screen in the camp's theater. My film was greeted with roars of laughter that filled me with joy. Though far from perfect, what I loved about the film was being able to mix comedy and drama, and to convey an important and personal message, while making people laugh. Prodigy Camp reinstilled a love for storytelling within me and has provided me with the tools to tell more personal stories.