An imploding Wall Street Stockbroker, living in a high rise apartment building just blocks from the former World Trade Center, unravels over a few nerve-jangling days when a vengeful force invades his apartment and takes root.
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I made THE HIGH RISE, instead of not making it, like all the other false starts and never-happeneds that hadn’t come before, because this time I simply had to.
For a long time, THE HIGH RISE was part of a larger idea that had taken up living space in my head since at least 2007, when my wife Amy and I moved into a spectacular apartment mere blocks from the former World Trade Center, where the rebuilding was taking place if fits and starts at the time. THE HIGH RISE was an idea which haunted me, but it wasn’t lonely. Not by far.
Because I have a big back catalogue of unrealized screenplays, comic books and TV series, even a closet full of unprinted sixteen millimeter dreams. As my Editing career pushed out my pursuit of Writing/Directing, I became more than a little used to not realizing my ambitions. In late 2014, my wife started off simply looking to get an appraisal, but before I knew it the apartment had been sold and I was going to lose the inspiration for and very embodiment of my latest unrealized potential. Not to mention an unbelievable location for a movie.
Besides being a professional Film and Television Editor with a twenty-plus year career, I’d graduated from a good film school, and had lots of other experience including lighting, acting and directing, so I decided I would appear in it myself and we’d shoot the movie between a planned trip to Florida and the 10 days we’d be back in our New York apartment packing before moving to Hoboken, New Jersey.
Amy would have to shoot all the parts of the movie that I couldn’t do myself with a locked-down tripod. I called my older brother Chris and he shipped me his Canon DSLR because I had no HD camera of my own and I didn’t want to have to use my iPhone. I won’t say it wasn’t stressful, but Amy, a former Actor herself, but one who’d thrived in the business world after stepping away, made an ideal collaborator and we both enjoyed the production process.
Before now, really just as I write these words, I hadn’t given too much thought to why I was emotionally invested in THE HIGH RISE enough to actually go ahead and put in the effort to bring the idea to life, especially with such a small window of opportunity. Part of me knows an answer lies in the fact that I didn’t need to convince any other people to be in my movie since it’s all me, that and my wife Amy’s invaluable help, certainly she’s the deciding factor here. And there’s this.
My Mother died right before September 11th and it was awful. Then I came back to New York and lived in total grief, grief radiated off me and drove people away. Then what happened happened and all the people were plunged into grief. And I wasn’t alone. Which is not to color me comfortable with the association or to imply some kind of authority in the slightest. It makes me very uncomfortable weaving tragic fact and common fiction. My feelings and thoughts are complicated and profound when it comes to September 11th and making THE HIGH RISE was truly the result of them.