A paradigm shift is a different way of looking at things.
Things: the world, creativity, mind, body—
Flesh. Desire. Soul.
To see is to peer hard into every scene and locale you pass, to feel it out, for you will find what is…and most importantly…what isn’t there.
For instance, a churchyard. Night. Calm and serene—secure, as one would expect a sacred vessel to be. A statue of the Virgin Mary greets from afar in the garden, basking in the glow of a divine white flood light. She is surrounded by greenery, benches and the architecture that honors Her being. On a bench nearby is a wanderlust teenager who just experienced love for the first time and you can see their racing heart pulse in their eyes. Two lovers make out, using the nearest sanctuary to fall against the wall open their shirts and perform the acts of their lust. But there are corners, nooks and crannies. Nearby, a decaying tree’s thick branch gnarls across the church facade and casts a shadow across a stained glass window. The window is that of a saint knelt in prayer. His eyes are aimed at the looming branch because perched atop it, also knelt on its haunches is a scaly, red-eyed yellow-bellied demon wringing its hands in anticipation while other variants of its brethren lurk about waiting to debauch passerby with their silver tongues and glistening fangs. An exorcism is being performed on the sidewalk, blood gurgling from the mouth as the demon fluids engorge them with pleasure and pain in equal, unbearable measures. And then, in the pale blue moonlight, you stand, realizing the quiet is actually silence, and before you coalesce all the moods of the holy, the damned and the in-between. Look. Feel. Know. What is and what isn’t.
A different way of looking at things is only the start. Where the status quo ends is where our art begins.
Paradigm Shift Productions is a multimedia venture who specializes in genre fare linking a cherished past of tropes, tricks and lore to an exciting, innovative future of challenges, entertainment and stimulation.
We peer into the unnerving realities and fantasies that shape our everyday experiences and fuse them with unique storytelling to reach for an emotional core of understanding. We honor what has come before, for what is not to love? We live in suspense of the creaks that emanate from the insane beings in The Old Dark House, the vampires teasing themselves towards our necks, our inner Boyyyyy shuddering at the voice of The Tall Man and jolting every damn time Kurt Russell tests that second to last blood sample. Our work is a fusion of the two experiences to reach the basest human feelings and while, have a conversation with you.
We invite you on our journey where imagination is limitless and bountiful.
The first major financial gathering towards bringing Entrance Exam to a silver screen near you has concluded. It pleases me to say that we have come a long way from square one:
Bluntly put, we have money. What filmmaker doesn’t love having even a fraction of their budget? Your generous donations are helping craft each monstrous detail one bit at a time.
Emotionally put, we have garnered so much love and support from the surrounding community in and beyond Chicago; online and in person. Thanks to local sponsors and The Logan Theatre, our horror trivia fundraiser was a rousing success where we got to commiserate with our fellow gorehounds/nerds/indie film supporters. Money cannot buy that audience or the kinship of those joining our queer horror cause and we reciprocate that love and support back double, tripe, or however-uple you need it.
Futuristically put, we are still on the descent to madness. Pre-production will soon turn to rehearsals, visual design and actual construction. It will also turn into more public events, promotions and engagements as Paradigm Shift Productions and Bummer Camp Media unleash more surprises and glimpses into the world we are creating such as the next issue of tie-in zine AVERSIONdue out this Fall.
What the hell is next? Hell is next! As the cast and crew buckle up for the next permutation of our mission, what we need is your continued support. The IndieGogo, replete with its perks, is still a breathing entity; it will run until we meet our goal. Watch for upcoming events including movie nights and themed fundraisers. We want to meet you and have fun. Continue the conversation about what a film that is as much about activism as it is pure entertainment means to you by liking, sharing and posting about the film or our companies across social media.
We cannot wait to admit you to Thornton Academy to receive your spine tingling education for death.
‘Elisabeth “Betsy” DeVos is a proven leader, an innovator, a disruptor and an advocate. In education, in business and in politics, Betsy has been a pioneer in fighting to remove barriers, to enact change and to create environments where people have the opportunity to thrive. Betsy DeVos is the former Chairman of The Windquest Group, a privately held investment and management firm based in Michigan with a diversified consumer product and service portfolio.’
Investments. Firms. Consumers. PRODUCT.
Mining current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for educational background is akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Credentials including ‘innovator’ and ‘advocate’ draw your immediate attention under the #business portion of her website. Scrolling further, however, there is no #education, #politics or #experience to be found. What exactly is she an innovator of and advocate for? By paragraph two that answer is spelled out in dollar signs and the ‘proven…disruptor’ moniker becomes more apparent: a disruptor of our youth out to stunt learning.
In case you missed it, Madame Secretary is a concerned billionaire. Her worries include close to home Christian charter schools, a voucher system where private academies funnel public funds away from the public system and a deep seated fear of answering directly that institutions she supports will or will not openly discriminate against LGBTQ students or those with disabilities. She is so concerned with the latter that she vaguely reiterated her position a smashing 14 times in a June 2017 Senate testimony regarding the proposed slashes to the federal educational budget.
DeVos’ anxiety is in line with states like Indiana and Texas where morality clauses such as, in a Houston academy’s case, explicitly prohibit “participating in, promoting, supporting or condoning: pornography, sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bisexual activity” and reserve places of so called higher learning the right to refuse admission or “discontinue enrollment.” With far leaning religious beliefs that interfere with policy with partial invisibility and continued pursuit of making school choice the new normal, Betsy DeVos and clan will only fester these guidelines into rancorous beasts of prey out for blood money.
These monsters already attempted to force Austin Wallis, the Houston teen who exposed the above morality clauses, back into the closet through humiliation and threats of dishonorable expulsion in 2015. In a tearful video, he explained his case to the world and instead of backing down, stood resilient and spurred his peers to resist. He was powerful. He was also lucky.
“You are special, until proven otherwise.” —Anton LeCarrion, ENTRANCE EXAM headmaster
Austin’s case was the last straw amidst a very public epidemic of suicides and violence against LGBTQ students across many havens of learning where such behavior is persistently encouraged by administrators, parents and peers who should know better but painfully do not. To say it was (and is) sickening and degrading is an understatement. The dual feeling of having been a lost gay boy in a small town where values clashed with identity and witnessing others’ same, often more intense, hate splash across Facebook, Twitter, news outlets, etc. angered me to the point of expressing it in film form. That progeny is ENTRANCE EXAM, an education for death that intersects the politics of private education, identity and monsters.
The film operates on equally dual levels: the first, as a surreal Hellscape that celebrates a love of perverse horror and campy queerness and on the second, a timely conversation with the audience on the real story behind the scares. Personal brushes with bullying and suicide concern this script as do the ones of those who are no longer with us but always in our spirits. We carry their names as proudly as we do the horror filmmakers who inspire the sights and sounds of the picture.
Betsy DeVos may be the Secretary of Education who believes more in commodifying children as coffer liners for her buddies in the private sector, but what she is not is aware. Push as she may on her nonsensical agenda, we push back just as hard. We push back with art, another form her current administration does not support, no matter what the below press photo says.
Horror filmmaking seems an unlikely mode of resistance but the power of uncompromising imagination and finding the meaning behind monsters and the entertainment they bring is glorious. It is a mode ENTRANCE EXAM excels in beyond the material itself. It excels because of a devoted, progressive, mostly queer cast and crew who want to spur change as much as they want to have a bloody good time doing it.
We do need your help as independent filmmakers with a cause, a passion, a return to visceral practical effects and firm belief in fair compensation for all of the hard work involved. Help us take back queer and horror film through our Indiegogo.
The children are our future and the future is now.
ENTRANCE EXAMis the story of a bright teenager, Trent Christensen. He is 17 and on the brink of young adulthood but still on the two paths of knowledge: the academic and the personal. Inside him, and all of us, is POTENTIAL. It is the vibrant energy that lurks beneath the surface of our skin, a beast that can, and will, become something…something extraordinary. It is the mission of Thornton Academy to extract this energy through the systematic, CUTTING edge methods of the Entrance Exam administered by headmaster Anton Le Carrion.
What will Trent find on this descent to his true potential? What does it look like? Will he survive?
Only the film can know for sure. Discover and donate today to our IndieGogo to find out.