The Butcher’s Block

A short film written, directed and produced by Austin Calam and a team of over 15 Kansas filmmakers.

A vegetarian, 3rd-generation butcher must prove his innocence when the queen of the town’s annual sausage pageant gets sick after eating his world famous sausage.

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All donors will receive early access to the film, slated to be released by the end of 2022. Filmmaking is only possible through the collective generosity and support of our greater community. As we move into post-production, we are continuing to seek out partners to support this film through donations to cover post-production expenses.

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An Early Preview

Please enjoy an early preview of stills taken from the film.

Film Synopsis

Walter Metzger has worked in his family’s butcher shop since he was a little boy. Just like his father and his grandpapa before him he dreamed of the day he would finally become the next butcher of Wurstburg. But when his dream finally comes true he finds himself on the butcher block. Wurstburg’s beloved sausage pageant queen has been poisoned by laced sausage.

At the height of the pageant’s theatrical performance the queen’s lunch took a bow all over the stage. The crime was unmistakable. Someone killed the town’s pageant using Walter’s famous sausage links and Walter was the number one suspect.

The town detective rounds up the usual suspects and sits them down in the dark, smoked filled room of their local bowling alley. Unraveling the chain of events fills in the missing links, yet the history of Metzger sausage isn’t as clean cut as one might expect. Any one of the suspects could be the true killer in this small town scandal. Each one has enough motive to frame the Butcher of Wurstburg and take down his family’s rich sausage heritage. Even Walter has secrets that chain him to his family’s butcher’s block.

It’s only a matter of time before one of the suspects slips on the evidence left all over the pageant stage. Can Walter keep his secrets encased long enough for the true killer to be revealed? Tension continues to rise before the cleaver falls in this neo-noir who-done-it ensemble film.

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Project History

Last summer, Molly Wiebe Faber created a web series called “Buck’s”. Upon its successful production through partnership with Kairos Studios (my wife’s and my production company), we had planned to finish the first season this summer. Yet due to various obstacles we decided to post-pone the production of “Buck’s”. Although the web series was no longer to be filmed this summer, our team still wanted to produce a short film. Thus “The Butcher’s Block” was born.

Within the first week of deciding to produce a new film, our locations, core cast and crew, and dates were set. It was only 6 weeks from our filming dates when we began writing a completely new story centered around a German Butcher and his world-famous sausage. A little small town inspiration goes a long way. By the time our 1st Assistant Director yelled “Roll camera!” on Friday Aug 6th, God had provided us a cast and crew of 20 local artists and a completed screenplay ready for production.

Over the course of the next 3 long days we filmed a total of 35 scenes in 3 locations with a cast of 7 characters and 9 extras. The film that was originally a back-up production turned into a full-fledged 20 minute short film. As we now move into post-production, we are beginning to assemble our post-team consisting of a colorist, editor, sound designer/mixer, composer and distribution producer. Although the film’s public release is yet to be announced, we hope to complete the project by the end of October to submit it to a number of festivals around the US.

Ever since I was young, I sought out local filmmaking opportunities. Yet as I grew up in rural Kansas there was only a few times when I had the opportunity work on an actual film set. Ever since the production of “Buck’s”, we have been intentional about providing local aspiring artists the opportunities we desired to have growing up. This year we invited three students (high school and college) to be a part of the film’s production so they could receive first-hand experience on set. This project was just another small step in creating hands-on opportunities for local aspiring artists.

Producing films has always been a great passion of mine, yet as I continue to create movies God is revealing that my true desire is to collaborate with fellow artists and with those in my community. From the filmmakers who work on set to the individuals who provide meals, filmmaking is only possible through the collective generosity and support of our community. To the many people who have given their time, resources and energy, I want to thank you for your continued support of our filmmaking efforts in Marion County, Kansas.

– Austin Calam, Owner of Kairos Studios LLC