Logline THE ELEVATOR is a coming of age story about a troubled, idiosyncratic teen addict, who finds love, hope and redemption at an equally unconventional recovery program.
Synopsis We open on a precocious seven-year-old boy, Leaf Mathews, staging a fake battle with his toy army men in the living room. Meanwhile his mother Kari and his stepfather are locked in their own domestic battle. Leaf’s step-dad tries to run out the front door but Kari violently stabs him in the back, in full view of Leaf. Cut to present day, Leaf now 16 is driven to rehab by his mother Kari and his grandmother Lillian. After a huge fight and a painful plea from his grandma, Leaf agrees to attend the program. While struggling to adapt to the programs rules, Leaf falls for an older resident Miranda. The two grow close as Leaf’s past demons surface, most notably the challenges of being raised by his mentally ill mother and Leaf’s guilt from the abuse he inflicted on his family while using. Without warning Leaf's grandmother Lillian dies leaving Leaf at a crossroads. It was his grandmother that was his true mother figure growing up. As a child he even asked if he could call her Mom. The residents and staff of the program comfort Leaf during his grieving period. Leaf makes a choice to not only stay at the program but to also become an active participant in his recovery. Leaf’s creative side, once stifled by his mother’s abuse, now blossoms and flourishes. He shares his private creative writings with Miranda in a secret rendezvous. One story of Leaf’s revolves around an elevator in a building. The elevator story is an analogy for living. How you can either fight the fact that things go up and down or accept it. Leaf opens up that he wants to stay clean but doesn’t know how. The two kiss. Leaf is met with animosity from another resident Andrew who is jealous of Leaf and Miranda’s intimacy. Andrew antagonizes Leaf on the soccer field and a program ending fight is narrowly avoided.
The staff members urge Leaf, Andrew and Miranda to stage a performance at an upcoming recreation day. The performance is a hit but Leaf tries to sneak away with Miranda later that night. Miranda, fearing their relationship is sidetracking Leaf’s sobriety ends the romance. Leaf is heartbroken. During therapy sessions, conflicts with Leaf’s Mother continue to threaten his commitment to the program. When an older resident is jailed for relapse and murder Leaf splits the program and returns to his hometown in the middle of the night. Memories of Leaf’s overdose resurface. Rather than relapsing, Leaf calls a staff member who quickly comes to pick him up. He confides that he never wants to return to his old life and asks to come back to the program. Back at the facility the staff members conduct a twoday retreat designed to help the residents face their biggest obstacles. Leaf finally confronts his mother’s mental illness and the stabbing he witnessed as a child. The retreat is a success. Leaf asks the program to help him find an alternative living situation when he graduates the program. Leaf’s mother supports the idea and apologizes for her past abuses. She gives Leaf a present, a quilt his grandmother Lillian made understanding that Lillian was Leaf’s true mother. Leaf forgives his mother Kari and vows to be a good son moving forward. In an epilogue we see Leaf’s elevator story come to life. The film ends with Leaf and Miranda entering an elevator together. The doors close and the two travel up together.
Actor/Director Sky Soleil is a southern California native and a graduate of the American Conservatory Theater MFA program (Class of 2002). Sky is perhaps best known for his music video "Homeless Man Under Pressure" which he both directed and starred in. The inspiring video went viral within days of posting, collecting over two million views on Yahoo and YouTube, after which CNN, CBS, New York Magazine and the Huffington Post interviewed Sky to discuss the video’s unique social message. His television acting credits include NCIS, CRIMINAL MINDS and BROTHERS AND SISTERS, to name a few, where Sky has shared the screen with everyone from Kiefer Sutherland to Sally Field. Sky also wrote and directed the award-winning Halloween themed family film HOW MY DAD KILLED DRACULA. The short screened at over 30 film festivals worldwide and garnered Sky two “Best Family Film” awards, a “Best of Fest” award, and several “Audience Favorite” awards. He is ready to take the step to feature films with THE ELEVATOR.
THE ELEVATOR is based on a true story. My true story. At 16, having lost my way to drugs and alcohol, I spent 18 months at a unique youth facility called Phoenix House of America. The program completely changed my life. While there, I learned things that my family hadn’t been able to teach me. Simple things like how to tie my shoes and shave but also profound lessons on forgiveness and how to live life again sober and free. I graduated from the program, became a line counselor and worked there briefly before heading to San Francisco where I completed my MFA at the American Conservatory Theater. From there I moved to L.A., starred in numerous TV shows and feature films, began directing my own short films, wrote a feature script about my experience at Phoenix House -- THE ELEVATOR and come this December will celebrate 20 years of sobriety. Without Phoenix House none of these things would have been possible yet I’ve never seen a film explore a positive treatment experience focused entirely on kids. Too often the dark side of addiction is dramatized, and too often that’s what makes the news. With these consistent negative viewpoints it’s time for a film to show that positive outcomes not only happen but that treatment centers are a viable alternative to our current prison system. -Sky Soleil
Skye Borgman Director of Photography Skye is thrilled to be re-teaming with Sky Soleil on his feature THE ELEVATOR. The pair first collaborated on Sky's short film HOW MY DAD KILLED DRACULA. Skye Borgman is an award winning cinematographer who shoots narrative, documentary, corporate and commercial films all over the world. She received a BFA in Theater from Cornish College of the Arts and an MFA from USC's Film Production program, and has been working as a cinematographer for over 10 years. To this day, Skye has shot over 50 films and documentaries, traveled to over 60 countries and lived on three continents. Skye’s global experiences guide her vision, thought and approach to cinematography. She is co-owner of "Top Knot Films" a production company created with the intention of fusing efficiency, beauty and storytelling. Skye’s varied experiences give her the unique ability to connect with all types of personalities. She has filmed rock-stars, prime ministers, drug addicts, Academy Award winners and anarchist chocolate makers. Skye received the “Accolade Award of Excellence” and “Best Documentary Feature” for Junk Dreams, a film that she shot, directed and produced which has worldwide distribution and is available at www.junkdreams.com. Skye also won a Best Cinematography award for her work on China Lake. Films that she has shot have been accepted at such notable film festivals as Sundance, AFI, Shriekfest, and many others. Skye has worked with prestigious clients such as: Princess Cruise Lines, National Geographic, Guess, USC, Kaseya, Solid State Logic and The Tellurian Foundation. With a keen sense of adventure, Skye brings excitement, tenderness and emotion to everything that she shoots. Her fusion of theater training, love of the outdoors, manipulation of light and absolute fearlessness gives her cinematography an evocative, honest and approachable style.
Ryan Ramos Producer Ryan Ramos is excited to be producing with Sky Soleil again having co-produced the awardwinning short HOW MY DAD KILLED DRACULA together. He founded his production company Brytespot Films in order to develop “Hope” focused content that strives to inspire audiences as well as entertain. Brytespot’s first feature film, INSPIRATION POP 2929, which Ryan both produced and directed, is set to have its world premiere in 2013. Since 2001, Ryan has freelanced as an Assistant Director in Los Angeles on a multitude of features, commercials, music videos and shorts. Past projects include DOMINO, WAITRESS, THE NINES, CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN and BALL DON’T LIE. Ryan brings over 20 years of filmmaking, live concert, event and theater production experience to THE ELEVATOR and believes in its power to create a profound awareness surrounding recovery.
Thank you for your interest. For more information on THE ELEVATOR:
Telltale Productions Sky Soleil 310.497.9537 firstname.lastname@example.org