THE MAIDEN is a dark tale of real estate, demonic houses, and Photoshop tutorials.
Directed by Michael Chaves, the short follows a down-on-her-luck realtor as she desperately tries to sell a historic mansion. As she prepares for a sale, we discover that the previous resident has other plans.
Writer / director Michael Chaves came up with the idea a couple years ago after the real estate bust. “I was fascinated by the crash and how corrupt everything about it was,” he says, “I’ve always loved haunted house stories, but I wanted some kind of a twist. I started wondering ‘what happens before the young family moves in? How was someone able sell something so evil?’”
The entire film was shot on location in Los Angeles at the famous Beckett Mansion. “Hopefully the short looks big, but in reality it was a really small, family run production.” Chaves enlisted his high school best friend Tristan Nyby to shoot it. Michael’s wife, Dina Buglione, did the casting. His next door neighbor David Moore and Lynda Pribyl produced. Chaves said, “My mom was even going to do craft service but she couldn’t get off work.”
Director of photography Tristan Nyby says, “We wanted to anchor it in reality, so we shot primarily with natural light. Especially for a thriller/horror, the power is in believing this is real. The house had such an amazing structure that it shaped the light really beautifully.”
In the meantime Chaves has been working on a feature treatment of this story. “I love the idea of the house as a character; its relationship, and then an eventual showdown with a real estate agent. Like a supernatural 'JAWS'.”
Michael Chaves is a commercial director who has worked with clients such as Sony, AT&T, Ford, Vodafone, Toshiba, Miller Light, and Disney.