Wild Life

The world stops spinning for fifteen year old Rudolph Priest when he survives a deadly school shooting. His heart breaks in two when he realizes his best friend, Donny, did not.

Things spiral further out of control when it is revealed that Rudolph’s older brother, Randy, was the man behind the murders, and that their parents will stop at nothing to keep him out of prison.

Now Rudolph must decide for himself whether he will bend to his family’s will, like he always has, or if he will stand up to them, stand by the community that his brother destroyed, and find some sense of justice for the person he loved most in the world.

  • Calvin Zimmerman
  • Calvin Zimmerman
  • Thatcher Jacobs
    Key Cast
    "Rudolph Priest"
    'Falsettos National Broadway Tour' - Jason
  • Michael Oilar
    Key Cast
    "Benjamin 'Ben' Priest"
    'Machine Learning'- Roy
  • Rebecca Richards
    Key Cast
    "Abigail Priest"
  • Jack Wartman
    Key Cast
    "Randall 'Randy' Priest"
  • Jackson Ark
    Key Cast
    "Deshi Cao"
  • Alyson Lo
    Key Cast
    "Araminta 'Minty' Cao"
  • Mattson Ruedin
    Key Cast
    "Donovan 'Donny' Abercrombie"
  • Medina Kincy
    Key Cast
    "Bridget Abercrombie"
  • Allysia Jensen
    Key Cast
    "Mallory 'Mac' Sakowitz"
  • Lauren Edwards
    Key Cast
    "Basil Barcus"
  • Elijah Dercks
    Director of Photography
  • Anastasia Pike
    First Assistant Director
  • Emerson McMurtry
    Casting Director
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 21 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 1, 2022
  • Production Budget:
    5,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • SModcastle Film Festival
    Atlantic Highlands, NJ
    December 4, 2022
    Festival Premiere
Director Biography - Calvin Zimmerman

Calvin Zimmerman is a 25 year old independent filmmaker based out of San Diego, California-but originally, he comes from the small town of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

An aspiring filmmaker since childhood, Calvin returned to his hometown in June of 2021 to make his very first full-length feature film, completely independently. 'Wild Life' was written, directed, and self-financed by Calvin, on a budget of $5500. The film is now complete.

From here, he plans to continue writing and directing truly independent films, many of which will tackle the social issues that are important to him-just like 'Wild Life'. In particular, Calvin is a strong advocate for gun violence prevention, and as a transgender person himself, is very passionate about LGBTQ+ rights.

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Director Statement

Wild Life is a story about loss-losing a loved one, losing one’s innocence, and losing sight of what is important. It is a story about choosing to do what is right, over what is easy-about standing up for what you believe in, and making your voice heard.

One of my favorite quotes comes from one of my personal heroes, Tom Mauser—Tom’s fifteen year old son, Daniel, was one of the thirteen who died at Columbine High School.

“[Society] so often looked to those who had suffered a great loss to step in and rally others. Why look to them to point out the obvious need for change?”

This is a subject matter that I have been passionate about since I myself was in high school, and this film has been years in the making. It comes completely and wholly from a place of pure love, and from the desire to be the change that I wish to see in the world.

Wild Life is not just a film, but a form of activism.