Cache of Hornets

When an airborne biological contaminant brought about by climate change forces humanity underground, a small group of survivors finds their way into an abandoned military storage bunker. Adapting to their new lives spent mostly underground, the survivors settle into their individual routines and an unspoken eusocial structure emerges. Months nesting below the surface eventually leads to mental instability and an amplification of the less desirable personality traits of the survivors puts the colony at risk of collapse. As any form of human civilization is merely an agreement between scoundrels, life in the bunker inevitably takes a dark turn, but a thief who is disrupting the natural order gets what he deserves.

Three posters for Skywhispers of Terrestrial Dreams, by Breaking Circus

About the Film

Cache of Hornets was created by a team of 6 film directors: Dawn Shepherd; Ryan Gray; Jayden Gigliotti; Ross Burns; Aiyana Graham; and Adrian Bah. Cache of Hornets is the first feature film by these directors and contemporary circus artists based in Kjuputuk (aka Halifax), Nova Scotia. Better known as Breaking Circus Collective, the team is led by circus director and producer, Dawn Shepherd and musical director and producer Ryan Gray. 

About Breaking Circus

Breaking Circus Collective has been creating work of contemporary circus since 2018 and is a Black-led company of contemporary circus artists of diverse cultural backgrounds. Breaking Circus Collective sets and breaks their own rules in order to create, explore and engage with the full spectrum of our human experience. The company reaches into the unknown and finds new ways to weave stories through cross-discipline experiments and integration of technology.

Directors’ Statement

Cache of Hornets was conceived during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when public health restrictions prevented live performances. At that time, the 6 core members of Breaking Circus Collective decided to take their performance experience from the stage to the screen through the creation of an avant-garde film featuring elements of contemporary circus performance. The co-leads/producers of the group had previous experience in television and in documentary filmmaking and wanted the challenge of creating an unconventional, silent feature film with an apocalyptic sci-fi plot.

Our vision was to create a dark film in which contemporary circus performance could effectively sneak up on film audiences yet not take you out of the film. While the characters of Cache of Hornets hide in an underground bunker, contemporary circus performance hides within the film, revealing character as it advances the plot. The musicians responsible for the original score also hide in plain sight within the film and all scenes taking place within the fictional military bunker portrayed in the film were shot at the Breaking Circus production studio (a 60ft x 40ft circus studio with vaulted ceilings).

Scenes within the bunker were shot so as to convey an ever-present feeling of confinement. Relief from this framing is almost exclusively provided during outdoor scenes of the film. We wanted to create this juxtaposition for audiences, in the hopes of bringing them closer to the experiences of the characters. You will notice pops of the colors yellow and black woven throughout the film. Thematically, we were greatly influenced by the eusocial behaviour of bees and hornets. We wanted to explore their division of labour and roles within an apocalyptic human scenario while portraying the trappings of consumerism, wastefulness, greed, malice, vengefulness, self-absorption etc. that can make eusociality and its high levels of altruism challenging for our species.

The members of Breaking Circus Collective are very much preoccupied by climate change and the negative impacts that the human species is having on the natural environment, hence the film’s environmental messaging and dark ending. This is our collective’s first feature film and our first experience with having multiple directors work together on a shared vision (though we collectively create works of contemporary circus). We are very proud of this achievement. We have recently been approved for Part B of the National Film Board of Canada’s Filmmaker Assistance Program which will support continued post-production refinement of the film (i.e. color correct & titling services, 5.1 & 2.0 Theatrical and TV mix etc.). We will be adding foley to the final version of the film to bring audiences even deeper into Cache of Hornets.

fr_CAFrançais du Canada