“The Nest” is a short horror film by Tim Zwica, who, auteur-fashion, undertook the roles of writer, producer, director, editor, and visual effects coordinator. Zwica harkens from Austin, Texas, and this seems to inform the atmosphere and general ambiance of the “The Nest”.
A rancher must fight to survive when a swarm of over-sized flesh-eating bees escapes from a beekeeper who depends on their honey to keep her diner in business.
The never-before-seen trailer below reveals “The Nest” to be strong on atmosphere and of a high professional standard in terms of its cinematography, thanks to the work of Zwica’s Director of Photography, Kendal Miller, and Production Designer, Katie Darsaw — not to mention the soundscape created by Audio Supervisor, Chris Hite, and Sound Designer, Michael Caisley. Music is by Willem Van der Broeck.
I love the near-sepia look of the film. Very cool, and very evocative. Zwica spoke to the Backbrain about the cinematography of “The Nest”.
“We shot ‘The Nest’ on a RED One camera. I had planned to shoot it on a Canon XH-A1 that I owned. But I hired Kendal Miller to shoot the picture and he brought in his friend Chris Gerhart, who owned a RED and offered to let us use it for free. Both of those guys were fantastic on the set. I couldn’t imagine working on any future project without them.”
As for the FX, Zwica commented: “With the exception of one shot, I did all the vfx at home on nights and weekends.”
The story of “The Nest” goes like this (illustrated with stills from the film — and be warned! Though we don’t give away anything crucial to the climax, this image sequence is a little spoilerish):
Hank, a horse breeder, has discovered one of his mares lying dead in his pasture, reduced to a skeleton overnight.
He finds Ray, a county farm inspector, in the local diner and enlists him to help solve the mystery. Eleanore, the owner of the diner is wary of their mission. She catches a pair of goth girls stealing her honey from the table and orders her mute son Dizzy to detain them.
She sentences them to death and has Dizzy dump them into a well in the backyard of the diner. The well is infested with a swarm of savage flesh eating bees who awaken with Dizzy’s banging on the hatch and soon devour the girls in a matter of seconds. However, Dizzy has damaged the hatch and one bee escapes before it can be repaired. The bee finds Hank working in his field and chases him into his barn where he receives a call from Ray, who is driving to Hank’s ranch. The rest of the swarm escapes and chases another of Hank’s horses out onto the road where they devour it in mid pursuit, leaving its bones scattered on Ray’s windshield.
Ray relates the event to Hank after retreating to the diner lot. Hank hears him being abducted by Dizzy and sets out to the diner to rescue him.
Hank is caught off-guard by Eleanore and knocked unconscious. He and Ray both end up in the well where they must fight for their very survival.
“This movie came about as a calculated first project for me,” Zwica told the Backbrain.
“I figured I should make something relatively short to cut down on production costs as well as the potential for something going wrong. A longer shoot equals more time and with it more cost and potential calamity. I also thought a scary story often works well in short form, like a ghost story. You get in, you scare the audience and you get out, leaving them to ponder what they just saw. There are plenty of examples of short form horror/sci fi like the Twilight Zone, Tales From the Crypt and the old half-hour radio shows like Inner Sanctum.”
Why mutant bees?
“I chose the black swarm as the “monster” because I thought it best to write about something that actually scares me. One day when I was a kid I was suddenly attacked by a bumblebee. He came out of nowhere and gave me a shock I have never forgotten. To this day, I am terrified of bees, especially bumblebees, even though I have very rarely been stung.”
Two Production images: The Capture of Hank
What is Zwica’s background?
“I’ve worked in the video game industry as a 3D artist for about 13 years. Before that I did animation and effects for various projects, including the National Geographic production of Asteroid. I still work in games, but this picture marks a return to my first love, which is film. The advent of truly cinematic digital cameras made it feasible for me to finally make my own movies. Previously I could not afford to shoot film, nor could I justify pouring a lot of time and money into a project that would ultimately be shot on video and wind up looking like a soap opera. I am also a musician of sorts. I play upright bass with Scott Angle and the Cold Cold Hearts here in Austin, Texas.”
Where can our readers expect to see “The Nest”?
“My plans for the picture are no more ambitious than to screen it at a few festivals and see where that leads. The options for short films are rather limited. I would be thrilled to have it included in some anthology or made available on Netflix.”
Below we’ve included the end-credit scroll, so we can give everyone involved due credit, including the excellent actors.
Source: Tim Zwica via Avery Guerra.
How long is the short film?
I’m not sure about the film’s length, Shawn. I’ll see if we can find out for you.
Robert, has this film ever been released? I would very much like to view it in its entirety, or download a digital version.
The Nest is now available part of the first installment of the Hillbilly Horror Show. http://hillbillyhorrorshow.com/
Thanks for the information, Tim. Hopefully people will drop by and watch it!