The Spinster is a short psychological thriller that follows a vixen bike mechanic who discovers that love is a vicious cycle. It's a horror film with a feminist and environmental perspective that also captures the spirit of San Francisco bicycle culture.
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Written, produced, directed and filmed by Kristin Tieche
Starring Gabriela Sosa & Chris Hudak
Producer: judy b.
Editor: Jesse Spencer
Lighting designers: Laura Lukitsch and Chris O'Dea
Sound Mixing: Leandro Marques
Sound Design: Todd LeBlanc
Music: David Phu
Visual Effects: B.J. West
Graphic designer: Jessica Meek
Motion Graphics: Jayson Tang
Poster designs: Jessica Meek & Meli Burgueño
I wanted to make a horror film about a woman with a dark side.
When I first started telling people about the name of the film – The Spinster – some people wondered why a woman director, especially a single woman, would want to be associated with a term that Webster's defines as “an unmarried woman past the common age for marrying”?
Why? Because all the unmarried women in my life defy the insinuation that they are somehow lacking. Today, a woman's worth isn’t tethered to her age or to her marital status. Unmarried women are smart, ambitious, healthy and outgoing. We seek deep meaning in our lives. We refuse to be taken for a ride. We set high goals for ourselves. We won’t settle for less than we deserve. So the old implications no longer hold water.
Additionally, The Spinster makes a statement about the portrayal of cycling in film. In the United States, cycling is viewed as a marginal transportation choice. So many films feature car chases, car crashes and cars simply as status symbols. The Spinster pushes the envelope by showcasing the bike lifestyle, with a main character who firmly believes it's the best transportation choice for people and the planet.
As a woman director, I strive to provide more complex portrayals of women in film, especially in horror films, in which women are usually the victim. At first, I wanted to make The Spinster because I thought it would be a fun film to make, plain and simple. But after digging into this project, I quickly realized the value that this story brings to women in film. I applied the Bechdel Test to early drafts of the screenplay, and then modified the dialogue and action to add depth to the female relationships in the film. The Spinster has it all: strong female characters, strong women behind the camera in many crew member roles and a fresh feminist perspective in a largely male-dominated film genre.
I’ve loved horror films since I was a kid, and now, as a filmmaker, the genre appeals to me even more because these films are so intensely visceral and imaginative. Horror pushes metaphor to the extreme. Your lover sucks your blood and all the life out of you. The dead burst from their graves and walk again. That shadow behind you could be your maker. Fear of the dark leads to your untimely death.
As humans, we cycle through extreme emotions that take us to dark places. I often let my imagination deal with my dark moods. That I am a woman and a filmmaker is what lead me to write The Spinster. My female perspective inspired a screenplay that flips the horror genre on its head.
The Spinster is strong, athletic, capable, independent, witty and fierce. She is at once the protagonist and the antagonist. You love her and you fear her.
She is single, and she rides a bike, hence the title. In this film, being unmarried and riding a bicycle are normal lifestyle choices for smart, urban women, just as they are normal lifestyle choices for real women in real life.
Ultimately, The Spinster is a fantasy, as all horror films are. I hope you enjoy Phoebe’s wild ride to the dark side as much as I have.
"I had the opportunity to watch your film last night and LOVED it. Such a great feminist perspective that included the bike."
- Zoe Piliafas, Director of the Community Cycling Center, Portland OR
"The Spinster was so fun, I think us women all have her in us, so we can relate and have fun with it! The filming made me want to jump on my bike and ride with her. Thank you for sharing it with us!"
- Sarah Cervinski, Media Archivist, San Francisco, CA
"Wow! It would be hard to exaggerate how much I enjoyed this movie. I especially loved the clicking of the bike that scared the bad guy. It scared me too. I was actually sitting in my car watching on my ipad at night waiting for girls to get out of swim practice. I was so creeped out that I didn’t even want to walk from the car to the pool (in the dark parking lot) to get them. Bottom line: I loved it. Congratulations on an amazing creative product."
- Nina D'Iorio, PR consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Jenckyn Goosby and Dean Preston
Nancy Botkin and Mike Smith
Justine tenZeldam and Slimm Buick
San Francisco Bicycle Coalition