In Nicole Haeusser's The Death Strip, science is put on a collision course with political ethics when a microbiologist in communist East Berlin attempts to smuggle an important discovery into the West. The film deals with the ramifications of that decision in scenes set ten years later in the unified Germany, where citizens are coming to terms with the hard choices of life in a divided country. For Haeusser, the choice offered to Anne Ramsay's microbiologist is to "deliver a great but deadly discovery to a totalitarian regime during the cold war or make an educated guess what her discovery would be used for and risk her family's life in order to save many other lives." Haeusser also says she liked the fact that, like so many scientific breakthroughs, the character's discovery is by chance. "Many times," she says, "the solution is much closer than we think and an accident can change everything." Haeusser, a German native, studied at the London School of Economics, also working for the Reuters news agency and on independent films during her time in the United Kingdom. She also worked in Spain before embarking on an MFA in Directing and Cinematography, two fields in which she has worked extensively, at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The recipient of numerous awards and grants in addition to her Sloan honors, she is currently developing several scripts for features, including an expansion of The Death Strip. The Death Strip won the College Television Award for Best Drama (Student Emmy), the Directors Guild of America Best Student Filmmaker Award, the Gold Circle Award for Outstanding Student Film from the Caucus for TV Producers, Writers and Directors Foundation, the Emerging Cinematographers Award from the International Cinematographers Guild, was a Winner of the Student Competition at the Ford Lauderdale International Film Festival and "Best Film on Campus" from MTVU. It was featured on the Sundance Channel and in Kodak's InCamera "Next Generation". It's distributed through Shorts International and soon to be available on iTunes worldwide.
Writer/Director: Nicole Haeusser
Director of Photography: Darren Genet
Editor: Karen Smalley
Production Designer: Kristin Stemler
Music: Richard F. W. Davis and Glenn Frey
Cast: Paula Malcomson, Anne Ramsay, Deacon Frey, Scott Clifton, Mike Dunay, and Anna Brueggemann.