THE VOLUNTEERS

In this America, a civilian militia - the self proclaimed "Volunteers" - have started tracking any person who is not white, straight and cisgender through a barcoding system. Desperate to escape the escalating violence and oppression, a group of friends try to escape over the border into Canada.

In the not-too-distant future... the one we’re all afraid of...

THE VOLUNTEERS, a rapidly expanding white supremacist hate group, self-polices and terrorizes local communities across the United States. What starts as a glorified neighborhood watch group sanctioned by the increasingly conservative government quickly roils into an unregulated but nevertheless organized civilian militia. Their purpose? To track, control, oppress and drive out anyone who is not white, straight, and Christian. Those not aligned with the dogma of The Volunteers are fleeing the American nightmare. Stationed near the border of Canada, Sarah and her husband, Jarret, activists and conductors for the new Underground Railroad, anxiously await the signal that it is safe to shuttle their friends Zahabiya, a Muslim woman who lost her family in a mosque bombing, and David, her husband, over the border. With The Volunteers growing stronger and more violent every day, this time Sarah and Jarret will be escaping, too.

But it’s been months now, and still no signal has come through. Sarah worries that The Underground has been compromised. When an unplanned rescue mission goes awry, the group goes from hiding in plain sight to wanted targets by The Volunteers. Sarah puts the cabin on lockdown, but with supplies dwindling and The Volunteers closing in on their hideaway, the group knows they need a new plan now.

What’s better? Wait for safe crossing coordinates and risk being found by The Volunteers? Or flee and risk running straight into one of their checkpoints? With each passing hour, the group grows more on-edge as each of them are forced to confront their true identities in this do-or-die moment. Would you run? Would you hide? Self-sacrifice or sacrifice others? There’s just one person who may actually be able to help - he’s the Volunteer the group has chained to the wall in the basement.

 
 
 

Zahabiya

She is a proud Muslim, but hasn’t always been - she works hard to hold on to her culture and faith, which is tied into her sense of self. She wants to prove that good people still exist, that the Volunteers can be walked back from the darkness.

David

Hiding behind a facade of normalcy, David keeps the people he loves the most from knowing who he really is. He is scared of looking weak or being judged for being less than straight. Vulnerability is his kryptonite.

Sarah

She is fiercely protective of her family and friends and is driven by a need to save people, to fix things. Sarah is never relaxed, always on guard - and she hides her pain well, refusing to ask for help or give up the reigns to her sense of control.

Arjay

Unabashedly authentic, he is strong-willed with a very big heart - often falling in love easily, and having his heart broken unexpectedly. Arjay has worked hard to find unconditional acceptance for himself and his identity as a gay man.

Jarret

Gruff, a bit guarded - Jarret is the straight man misplaced in a world run by Volunteers. He doesn’t like feeling stagnant and always wants forward momentum - especially to move on from the death of his son.

Gabe

An army veteran, Gabe returned from serving overseas in Afghanistan to find reintegration into civilian life extremely difficult. Hungry for comradery and purpose, Gabe joined The Volunteers to feel like he was part of something bigger than himself, make friends, and protect his town.

 

Creative Team

Producer

Jess Weiss

Producer
Jess Weiss is a NY-based producer, with over ten years of production, with films recently selected at the Tribeca Film Festival, Inside Out Film Festival and Palm Springs International Film Festival. She was an associate producer on the features KNUCKLEHEAD, starring Alfre Woodard and Gbenga Akinnagbe, and LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR, starring Mark Boone Jr. and Marilyn Manson. She produced THE RING THING, a documentary-narrative hybrid that explores the intimate constructs of mar- riage. She also produced THE HONEYMOON PHASE, starring François Chau and Tara Westwood, and THE SUBJECT, a drama about an upstart documentarian, who builds his success on the death of one of his subjects, starring Jason Biggs, Aunjanue Ellis and Anabelle Acosta.
Producer, Cinematographer

Brandon Roots

Producer, Cinematographer
Brandon Roots' eye for composition and lighting has landed him work shooting feature films and commercials both in the United States and abroad, notably the Tribeca Film Festival 2015 Audience Award Winner King Jack (dir. Felix Thompson). His work can also be seen in short films, such as Lavender (dir. Matthew Puccini), which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Fox Searchlight. His narrative work has been screened at a number of high profile film festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, and the London Film Festival. Brandon has also shot for clients including Apple, Gucci, The New York City Ballet, TED, and TransferWise. As a cinematographer he is driven to tell meaningful stories.
Producer, Actor

Sarah Wharton

Producer, Actor
Sarah is an award-winning producer, writer and actor based in New York City. Her feature That’s Not Us played at over 40 festivals around the world and was released as a Netflix exclusive through Strand Releasing and the follow-up The Ring Thing, a documentary-narrative hybrid about same-sex marriage, is now also available to watch on most digital platforms. She has produced work in Oslo, London, New Orleans and served as associate producer for the Harare International Festival of The Arts in Zimbabwe. Most recently, she produced Bite Me, a romantic comedy about a real-life vampire and the IRS agent who audits her, and “The Joyful Vampire Tour of America” - a 40 city screening tour of Bite Me across the United States.
Writer, Producer, Actor

Jarret Kerr

Writer, Producer, Actor
Jarret Kerr is a Brooklyn based writer and actor. He studied at NYU’S Tisch School of Arts, and his first play, “Percival’s Big Night,” was produced off-Broadway and adapted into a feature film, in which he also starred. It won Best Actress and Best Producer at the 2013 Brooklyn Film Festival and Best American film at the 2013 Raindance Film Festival in London. His second feature “Jane Wants a Boyfriend” was acquired by Filmbuff, and took home Favorite Actress and Best Ensemble Cast at the 2015 Napa Valley Film Festival. His screenplay “Northern” won best action adventure screenplay at the 2015 ISA screenwriters competition, landing in the top ten scripts out of thousands, as well as being awarded top 100 scripts at the Cinequest screenwriting competition.
Writer, Director

William Sullivan

Writer, Director
A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts, William directed the feature films PERCIVAL’S BIG NIGHT, one of the founding films for the Seed&Spark Cinema platform, JANE WANTS A BOYFRIEND starring Eliza Dushku, Amir Arison and Louisa Krause, which was released theatrically in 10-cities in early 2016, THAT’S NOT US, which played over 40 LGBTQ film festival in 2016-17 and was distributed as a Netflix exclusive through Strand Releasing. William most recently directed THE RING THING, a feature documentary-narrative hybrid film about same-gender marriage which was released by Gravitas Ventures in 2017, and worked as producer & editor of the feature documentary HURLEY, executive produced by Patrick Dempsey, released March 2019 by The Orchard/1091.