About the Film
This journey all started in 2016 when I experienced a medical emergency. I was driving on the highway when suddenly I felt an incredible wave of dizziness, nausea, and brain fog – rendering me incapable of processing the stimuli around me. I met with dozens of doctors as they searched for answers, with me essentially bed-ridden in the meantime. It took specialists 3 whole years to find the issue – a rare disease where the bones in my inner ear were disintegrating.
To fix the issue, I had to have both brain and inner ear surgery. But, I wasn’t out of the woods yet, as I spent another 3 years dealing with the PTSD of the experience, and working to re-acclimate to life outside the confines of my apartment.
Instead of lamenting the time lost at the height of my 20s, I wanted to make something positive out of my medical troubles, and “Cardiac Hill” was born. I had the concept for the film in mind for years, but the personal experience was the final touch needed to make it complete. I feel a real bond with our lead character, Ava, as she embarks on her own medical journey. As the sole producer of the film, this has been my first real foray back into the world, and has undoubtedly been the most rewarding experience of my life.
We kept a lean crew, and it really bonded us as a team. Made up mostly of friends and family, four of our six crew members had never even worked on a film before. This was truly an indie production from start to finish.
I couldn’t be more proud of everyone’s scrappiness, ability to wear multiple hats, and, ultimately, the final product that we grinded day-in and day-out to make together. I sincerely hope you enjoy the film.
Director, Writer, Producer, Post Production
John’s filmmaking career began in high school, where he took a cinematography art elective. Simply thinking it would be easier than painting or drawing, what transpired was a semester of incredible and invigorating challenges. He quickly fell in love with film’s art of merging problem-solving and creativity to make something truly original.
At home he began making stop-motion films, working at odd hours as the sole star and crew member so he could use all of his free time to continuously hone his craft. These early short films led him to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he studied Film Production.
In his first 6 weeks at Tisch, John worked on 20 short films, writing and directing 5 of his own. He made a name for himself as a hands-on, detail-oriented director and editor, immersing himself in all aspects of production — while also interning for Ridley Scott Associates.
For his NYU thesis, he wanted to make an absurdist comedy, but was told by his professor that it wasn’t “serious enough” to get made. Instead of abandoning the project, he dropped the class and made the short film, “Adopt Me”, on his own. It was accepted to numerous festivals and premiered to a sold-out crowd at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in NYC.
Unhappy with his experience at NYU, particularly the lack of education about the business side of the industry, he transferred to SUNY Geneseo where he graduated with a business degree, focusing on financial analysis.
After a hiatus from filmmaking, John embarked on writing and producing “Cardiac Hill” in 2022. It was a 7-month process – breaking down the story, rounding out the characters, securing locations, scheduling the shoot, renting props and equipment, and assembling a team. On set, in addition to directing, he tackled all production design and operated a second camera.
After the shoot wrapped, John single-handedly completed all aspects of post production – editing, sound design, mixing for 5.1, color correction and grading, VFX, creation of deliverables, graphic design, and web design. As a result, the total post-production cost for “Cardiac Hill” was a mere $70.
Allegra Sweeney is an American actress based out of the Pacific Northwest. Born and raised in Minnesota, Allegra grew up dancing at her family’s ballet studio and went on to receive a B.A. in dance from the University of Iowa.
After graduation, she moved to Chicago where she eventually transitioned to on-camera work. She relocated to Seattle in 2020.
In addition to “Cardiac Hill”, her recent credits include Drew Highland’s “In the Water”, Stormforged Studios’ fantasy pilot “The Wayfarer”, and Next Floor Entertainment’s drama/horror short “From the Depths.”
She also works behind the scenes when she can, usually writing or composing.
Julia McCammon is an LA-based comedian and artist. By day, you can find her making coffee on the Warner Bros. studio lot and by night she’ll be doing improv at LA Connection Comedy. If you want to stay up-to-date on everything in between, you can find her on Instagram.
Laura Lejuwaan is a film and stage actress based in Southern California. Some of her film credits include “Into the Wild,” “Mae Brown”, “Good Boy”, and of course, “Cardiac Hill.” Laura’s stage credits include “Maple and Vine”, “A Nice Family Gathering,” “Murder Runs in the Family” and “Artifice.”
Matt kicked off his acting career while attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. After graduating, he relocated to New York, training at HB Studio under the instruction of Michael Beckett. Matt also shares a passion for financial technology, acting as General Manager for Cambr, a division of StoneCastle at the leading edge of managing fintech deposits. When Matt isn’t pursuing the arts, he pours himself into his favorite job – being a husband to his lovely wife Katherine and dad to his three young children.
Casey Carroll is an actor and writer based out of Los Angeles. She works in film, TV, print and theatre. One of Casey’s favorite film genres to act in is horror and she couldn’t be prouder to be a part of the “Cardiac Hill” cast.
Christine Celozzi is an award-winning actress, director, and writer. Her passion for merging psychology with storytelling catapulted her into an acting career, which began with vigorous training at the internationally acclaimed, Montreal-based Straeon Acting Studios. Her most recent performances in “The Plumber”, a WW2 fantasy drama based on real-life heroine Irena Sendler, and “My Friends The Plants”, a mockumentary horror comedy, not only attest to her versatility but have also garnered her 8 best actress nominations and 3 best actress wins. She is currently slated to play the lead in the upcoming, dramedy feature film, “Pen Pals.”
Director of Photography
Brady is a cinematographer based out of Salt Lake City, Utah whose style lives on the filmic side. In addition to capturing beautiful images for narrative storytelling, Brady runs an educational YouTube channel with over 125k subscribers, teaching cinematography and lighting techniques.
Behind the Scenes
Check out our BTS page for full cinematography breakdowns from Brady, to learn how we shot some of the crucial scenes in the film.
Hair & Makeup