The Rules (Zasady)

What will you be doing on the day the world ends?

Project type: Fiction Short
Project status: Post Production
Writer/Director: Amanda Renee Knox
Lead Actor: Taylor Owen
Director of Photography: Michael Phillips
Sound Designer: Ben Wilkins
Composer: Esin Aydingoz
Facebook: @TheRulesMovie
Twitter: @therulesmovie
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In a dystopian world, what are the rules for survival?


Zasady (The Rules) follows Hanna as she navigates a newly dystopian world. This is an experimental film shot on 16mm film that explores our fears and instinct for survival incorporating the poem “A Song of the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz. The poem was written during the period that Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 as a response to the destruction that surrounded the Poles during that time. It is a meditation on how we, as a society take our common life for granted not realizing the destruction and chaos around us until it is too late.

Meet the Filmmakers

Amanda Renee Knox – Writer/Director
Amanda Renee Knox is an award winning director whose work is supported by Film Independent, Panavision, The Caucus and The Annenberg Foundation. In 2022, Amanda participated in Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program with her film The Errand, she was in consideration for a 2019 Live Action Short Academy Award and was awarded a Student DGA Jury Award for her short film Night Call that screened in over 85 festivals worldwide winning 42. Additionally, Night Call has aired on PBS, locally and nationally and had a limited theatrical run curated by Washington Post Chief Film Critic, Ann Hornaday. In 2020, she participated in the Ryan Murphy Half Initiative and was named a Finalist in the NBC Female Forward program in 2022. Nate Kohn, Ebertfest Director, describes her work as “really well made, powerful work”. She is represented by Rain Management Group.

Taylor Owen – Lead Actor
Taylor is an actor who is also passionate in writing, directing, producing. She is a Los Angeles based actress who grew up in the small town of Easton, Connecticut. She has appeared on television, national commercials, theatrical performances and independent films. You also may know her from her viral TikTok series of 9+ million views “If Real Life Was Succession.” Growing up in Connecticut, Owen was inspired by strong female comedians like Chelsea Handler and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. After doing commercials as a child and theater in high school, she got her BFA in screen acting at Chapman University, and even found her way onto a set with Louis-Dreyfus when she appeared in an episode of Veep in 2019. “Her comedy, acting, writing, and producing — that’s a trajectory I would love to have,” Owen says. “It confirmed every kind of inspiration.”

Michael Phillips – Director of Photography
Michael is a New York born Director of Photography, living in LA and shooting Narrative Feature Films, Commercials and Music Videos internationally. Michael has always owned an extensive range of equipment, working now with a full RED EPIC-W and ARRI SR3 package with spherical lens options, this has given him an extremely wide, hands on technical advantage for achieving beautiful aesthetics. His films have played in NBC Shorts, at The Hamptons International Film Festival, the Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at Cannes, Munich International Film Festival and many more. He was names an ASC Finalist for his work on Night Call in 2017.

Ben Wilkins – Sound Designer
Ben moved to Hollywood from London to pursue his dream of creating sounds for feature films. Two decades and nearly 130 films later, Ben is just getting started. Part of a rare breed that is as good at designing sounds as he is at mixing them. Ben took home the Oscar for Sound Mixing and BAFTA for Sound on the independent film Whiplash (2014). Ben is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and BAFTA. In addition to his Oscar win, Ben cites his proudest professional moments as working with Angelina Jolie on her directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011), and his part in designing sounds for the Academy Award nominated Twister (1996). Not surprisingly, Sergio Leone and his sound mixer, Fausto Ancillai, inspire Ben creatively for the way the Italian filmmakers used sound to selectively push the audience’s emotional buttons.

Wilkins loves to use all the speakers in the theater to help tell a story and is curious about the development of Ambisonics sound systems that deliver more channels. Ben explains, “The 3D sound formats provide us a larger, more distinct canvas through which the filmmaker can weave their story.”

Esin Aydingoz – Composer
Esin Aydingoz is a media composer from Istanbul, Turkey. She composes music for a wide array of projects and was nominated in 2023 by the Society of Composers & Lyricists for the prestigious David Raksin Award for Emerging Talent for scoring the feature film Simchas and Sorrows. Her latest documentary Black Barbie just premiered at SXSW. The Monster of the Desert and Noor both brought her Best Score awards on the indie film circuit. Esin’s cello arrangement of “Paint It Black” for Tim Burton’s Golden Globe-nominated Netflix show Wednesday was #1 on the Billboard Classical Charts, with over 19 million plays on Spotify. Asked by The Walt Disney Company to arrange a new orchestral medley in honor of the inaugural launch of Disney+ in Turkey, Esin performed this piece live on piano with the Istanbul Film Music Orchestra accompanied by synchronized visuals and fireworks. Esin is the assistant music director of Disney Music Group’s DCappella, the assistant chair of Berklee College of Music’s Screen Scoring Department, a mentor for Sound Thinking NYC, an active leader of the Alliance for Women Film Composers, and a board member for Society of Composers and Lyricists. 

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