“We put our lives in the hands of complete strangers every single day and we don’t even think about it,” says Rich Herbeck, FIFTEEN copywriter and the screenwriter/producer of the feature film, Emelie. “The chef making your food, the dude driving your Uber, your kid’s teacher. You get the wrong kind of person in that position and they can wreak a lot of havoc.”
Emelie is the story of an evil babysitter versus the three adorable children she’s left alone with. “Sort of a very dark Home Alone,” as Herbeck describes it. A Buffalo native, Herbeck worked closely with the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission to bring the production home. Emelie was shot entirely here in Western New York, employed dozens of locals and helped put Buffalo on the map as a production destination. “That’s what I take the most pride in.”
The disturbing thriller premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and was selected for a number of prestigious fests all around the world. It gained international theatrical distribution in 2016 and is digitally available everywhere. Herbeck has twelve years of experience as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and has been in the creative inner circle for projects including Lost, Cloverfield and The Cabin in the Woods. Outside the walls of FIFTEEN, Herbeck is actively working on new film, television and podcasting projects and hopes to produce them here in his hometown.