After Oil Film Fest News + Updates + THANK YOU!

We have had an AMAZING year with After Oil! Let's do a quick recap:

After Oil screened at the 28th Annual Dusty Film and Animation Festival, where showwriter Shailyn Cotten walked away with the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting!

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The pilot for After Oil went live on YouTube, and now has been viewed over 15,000 times! Over 200 people have subscribed to the channel to keep up to date with the latest news about the show.

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Last fall, After Oil was named an OFFICIAL SELECTION at Web Series Festival Global! 


IndieFEST presented the pilot with an AWARD OF MERIT in July 2017

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In November 2017, Direct Monthly Online Film Festival awarded After Oil with BEST WEBSERIES and BEST SCREENPLAY


After Oil was named an OFFICIAL SELECTION at New York Television Festival! Showrunners Shailyn Cotten and Jessica Naftaly met with tons of other lovely television people to talk all about how the industry is changing for the better

WE WENT TO VEGAS! The After Oil crew partied hard(ly) with all the lovely queer women from ClexaCon Film Festival and got to see other some other upcoming LGBTQ+ webseries!

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And now it's time to hit up Los Angeles! After Oil will be repping the East Coast in L.A. at Dances With Films this June 9th at the TCL Chinese Theatres at 7:45pm. We hope to see you there!

We simply COULD NOT have done this without your support. And that's not hyperbole. This show was a fangirl dream that budded into micro-budget reality. Without the love of people like you, wanting to see queer, POC, middle American stories on-screen, After Oil wouldn't be where it is now.

We have many more announcements to come, so stay tuned!

Meet the Crew: Editor Quintin Harris


I fell in love with After Oil's script after the first read. Jess and Shai knew me from our freshman year at the School of Visual Arts. My love for strong narratives and interesting characters made After Oil a perfect fit!


After Oil stood out to me because the idea is fresh, the characters are interesting, and the fact that the leads are gay does not dictate the narrative. I'm happy to back the introduction of all kinds of characters as long as their motives and the narrative are naturally integrated within reason.


My favorite memory from After Oil is a tie between the late night fast food stop on our way upstate on the first night where i first got to know everyone- and filming of the swamp scene (Mostly because I had nothing to do but observe!) . My job begins once production has wrapped- so being on set watching the takes unfold and cutting the scenes in my head is a very rare luxury that many editors don't get to have. Most editors actually prefer not to be on set so they don't infuse the hustle and bustle of set into the final product, but I found that it helped me figure out what I wanted out of the scenes much sooner.


My biggest professional inspiration is Editor Kelley Dixon A.C.E - well known for her work on Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Through her storytelling abilities, Kelley has been able to make my eyes light up with wonder. She has headed the Breaking Bad Insider's Podcast where she would gather production members from Breaking Bad and take a conversational walk through the episodes- the occurrences on and off set as well as the thoughts that went through her head as she was cutting a scene. Hearing personal insight and wisdom from artists like Kelley Dixon that have been in the industry for so long has fueled the fire in my stomach to use editing to make people feel just as inspired as I did when I watched Breaking Bad.


I'm much more of a Television person. I have a strong affection for any shows that through their visuals and their editing- know exactly what they are. Breaking Bad, The Office, Wilfred, Arrested Development, Shameless.


In five years- ideally I'd be getting my first true editing gig on a thrilling television series. Kelley Dixon worked as an assistant editor for 10+ years, but what are you doing if you're not aiming high? Much more likely, i'm expecting to be an assistant editor on either a hilarious or narratively compelling television show.



Meet the Crew: First Assistant Camera Operator Nicolas Lopez


I am Nicolas Lopez, a Colombian filmmaker. I got involved in AFTER OIL through my dear friend and talented Director of Photography, Alejandro Cortes. We always work together as a team in the camera department, and he offered me to work with him once again as his 1st Assistant Camera.


What stands out the most about AFTER OIL is the issues they are addressing in a probable future. I love the idea that, due to our human greed, neglect to pay attention to our environmental problems, and the resistance to change once and for all to alternative clean energy. They show how our civilization is directly dependent of the consumption of oil, and that without it we are doomed.


One of my biggest professional inspirations are Terrance Malik, Michael Moore, Emmanuel Lubezki and David Fincher just to name a few.


 My favorite films are I Origins, The Tree of Life, Fight Club and Turmbo.


One of my favorite places to draw inspiration from is in the woods, by a river, by the ocean or on the top of a mountain. Nature itself is my inspiration and driving force to create.


If I could have a superpower, I would love to be able to control energy to manifest or heal everyone, because I feel that a lot of good could come from helping others limitless-ly, either with material, health, or spiritual wealth.  Our world would be so different if we could do all of this ourselves.

Hollywood, Give Us a Bi Hero



What if your favorite childhood hero was like you? What if Hermione Granger had been gay? What if she had been bi? In an industry inundated with the same story about a white straight male hero, the rest of the population is craving to be seen, craving to be heard. We want representation, we want diversity, we want inclusion in our media, but we’re not getting it. Our popular culture should reflect the world as it actually is, but Hollywood doesn’t seem to be on the path to change the tune it’s been singing for the past hundred years any time soon.

Co-directors Jessica Naftaly and Shailyn Cotten both grew up with feelings that we didn’t know how to express or understand. We both felt wrong or different because we didn’t see anyone like us on the big screen or in books, worlds that are meant to allow you to escape reality for a moment. We couldn’t escape reality. Not when all of our heroes were straight. The word bisexual wasn’t even uttered or thought about. It wasn’t an option. To be bisexual, it is defined as being both attracted to men and women. It’s the B in the LGBTQ+ anagram, yet it’s also one of the most overlooked parts of the queer community and it’s because people don’t like that they can’t fit us into a neat little box. People are more likely to understand that you are gay or you are straight, whatever their reaction to that may be.  The thought that you could be both at the same time is, for some reason, unheard of.

The impact of media on our society, but more importantly on our children, is profound. It is so incredibly important for them to see their own identities, faces just like theirs, reflected back at them off of the screen. This, after all, shapes their views of the world, and what is it telling them if they cannot find themselves appropriately represented in that world?


The Harry Potter series has been an integral part of my childhood, so don’t get me wrong. I am infatuated with J.K. Rowling’s books, and the film franchise that followed. Growing up, Hermione informed my image of a strong, badass hero. I was one of many young girls who would frame my decisions around the question, “What would Hermione Granger do?”

However, if Hermione Granger had fallen for Cho Chang or Luna Lovegood, it might not have taken me sixteen plus years to put a finger to my sexuality.

I have no problem with Hermione falling in love with Ron. I love that Katniss Everdeen marries Peeta in the end. I personally wouldn’t have minded if Bella Swan decided to go with Edward or Jacob. But as a young child, and a developing teen, these stories were my world and because I could not see my romantic attractions reflected in the heroines I looked up to, it took me more than half my life to finally label myself as bisexual. Let alone not flinch away from it. 

Bisexuality is a real thing, and as a child, I never even knew about it. I had crushes on guys, but wrote lesbian fanfic in RPG forums. I still called myself straight. I thought I had to be one or the other.


Growing up, I didn’t really know that bisexuality was a thing. I heard of it, sure, once I started going into my teens, but it still never seemed real. Mostly, because I never saw it. I didn't see it on my television, I didn’t read about it in my books, and I certainly never saw it in my movies. Yet, I had crushes on both boys and girls. Thus, I had feelings I didn’t know what to do with, how to define, or categorize. 

There’s still so much bigotry and hatred towards the idea of being gay and I certainly grew up in a less than accepting environment, so when I had crushes on boys in school, it was like a notch in the belt of confirmation that I wasn’t “gay”. However, I was still attracted to some girls in school as well, and my celebrity “crush” list certainly was a long, vast list of both genders. I was feeling something that I didn’t know you could feel. I think my favorite example of how painfully obvious this was, was watching the animated Disney film Robin Hood; I most definitely was attracted to both Robin Hood and Maid Marian (never mind that they were both foxes…)

However, I think it was when Evan Rachel Wood and Anna Paquin, two fairly main stream actresses that I looked up to and admired, came out as bisexual, that it started to feel real. My sexuality, for once, was starting to feel like it was becoming accepted and normalized. When A-list stars on your television tell you that they're feeling the same feelings you are, they not only give you someone to relate to, but confirm the validity of your feelings. Everything kind of fell into place, and while I don’t think you always have to define yourself or your sexuality, it felt good to be able to put a label on it proudly and legitimize all of my feelings.


As a grown woman, I still don’t see myself represented in the media. I can name on one hand the number of times I’ve witnessed a bisexual woman crossing the screen. One of my favorite films featuring a bisexual female protagonist, a lesser known indie horror called Dark by director Nick Basile, had fantastic representation of LGBT characters as well as mental illness, but I could not forget that my introduction to her character was in a sex scene.

I don’t want Katniss to be gay. I don’t want Hermione to be bi. I just want for there to be more characters like me in the stories I watch. I don’t want it to feel forced, and I don’t want for it to be a second thought. I want to see those same, nuanced, strong female characters I’ve always been seeing; the ones I looked up to as a child.

And I want to see them with men. And I want to see them with women.


Representation is so important. It’s everything.

If younger me saw a bisexual Hermione Granger, a bisexual Elizabeth Swann, a bisexual Padme Amidala, the heroes of my childhood, she would have been happier. She would maybe be less fearful about telling the world. Maybe she would be out and proud. Maybe she would have saved several years of hurt, confusion, and frustration. It’s sadly not the case and even today, where the world pretends it’s ready to understand, where it pretends it’s ready to accept, there’s still no representation.

If you don’t see yourself reflected back at you in your pop culture, which is supposedly a reflection of reality, then your thoughts and feelings feel disenfranchised. You feel less than because the world refuses to recognize you.

I held on to Carol this last year because it was so important. It was main stream, it was Oscar-bait, it was romantic. It was about identity, yes; it had to be, but it was a love story unabashedly between two women filmed and written in the same way the love stories of the big Golden Age MGM blockbusters were. That alone made it seem tangible. Yet, most of my favorite movies are not the dramas. They are the action movies, the mysteries, the fantasy films, the sci-fi epics. I don’t see even an inch of myself in those, and that’s the hardest. When I was younger, I wasn’t watching tough, gritty dramas. I was watching Star Wars and Harry Potter. That’s why it needs to be mainstreamed. We need to see ourselves represented from when we are young so that way when those feelings come up, we know that they are valid and okay.


I want for it to feel so normal, that it doesn’t become a story about being “bi”. Because, if you asked me to define myself; if you told me to go on listing words I would use to describe myself, I would have exhausted my brain of useful adjectives before I finally thought to use the word “bisexual”.

I want the stories I love to reflect that.


We’re on our way, but we’ve still got a long uphill road ahead of us. We need more Magnus Banes, more Ilana Glazers, more Lisbeth Salanders. I want to see them everywhere. I want to see them in the next Harry Potter, I want to see them in the next big Disney film. I want to see them in the next big superhero blockbuster. I want to feel like I’m not only recognized and represented, but equal.


Ultimately, we hope that things are different for the next generation. We are striving to make that possible. We do not want the young girls of the future to be sitting in their bedrooms, watching their favorite film or reading their favorite book, utterly encapsulated and yet sad and confused, because they’re feeling things that they are not seeing in those stories. It is ultimately so important, for children especially, to see themselves reflected back off of the screens and the pages of the magical worlds they fall in love with and disappear into, because it has such an effect on them.

Not showing them, not representing them, is telling them that they don't matter and that they aren’t good enough. The stigmatism this forces upon our children and their self esteem is so incredibly toxic. We need to be shown that we are all the same and that we all matter.

Our worlds would have been changed if our heroes were like us.

This is why our current project After Oil is so important to us.

Our story is about how one young bisexual, African-American girl, Briar Dunlap, may be the difference between whether her community endures, or drowns in the rush to attain oil. What we’re doing might not be groundbreaking, but it’s our goal that we can make something we wish we had seen when we were younger. We want to represent everyone who feels underrepresented realistically, as vibrant and genuine characters that can exist outside solely their “identity”, but as multidimensional, complex beings that are a part of mainstream entertainment.

If one day a little girl or boy will see the character we’ve created and the story we’ve told and be able to say “I’m just like Briar!” we’ll have made more of a dent than we could ever have hoped for.

To support bisexual representation in After Oil, click the button below, and share the Indiegogo page with friends and family.

To receive updates on upcoming content and production, subscribe to our newsletter.

Meet the Crew: Writer and Co-Director Shailyn Cotten

Hello. So, who are you and how did you become involved with 'After Oil'?

Hey there! I’m the writer and co-director of AFTER OIL.  I’d had the idea of writing a webseries about a young girl in the Appalachians for years, but had no context as to what the story would be about.  One day, I was reading a book about gamification by Jane McGonigal called Reality is Broken while working part-time at my school library.  As I flipped through a case study about a crowdsourced project called World Without Oil, in which bloggers from around the world were encouraged to contribute posts explaining how their life would be changed over the course of 32 weeks if the world had run out of oil, I had a moment of clarity.  One such contributor predicted that, in such a future, an underground bicycle market would emerge.  I had a sudden vision of a young woman, astride her bicycle, riding through the Appalachian wilderness.  I brought my concept to my good friend Jessica Naftaly, and together we started developing it into a full-fledged series.

What stands out to you about ‘After Oil’?

My favorite part about working on AFTER OIL is developing a story for screen that deals with such heavy, authentic themes.  The series crosses into dystopian and science fiction genres, while still remaining grounded in a very stark reality; a future without oil, which we may be faced with very soon.  I’m also incredibly interested in telling the story of the rural American, and encapsulating the subculture that forms around small, country communities out in the mountains of the United States.

Who is your biggest professional inspiration?

As both a screenwriter and a novelist, I draw a lot of inspiration from many different sources.  Max Landis is a screenwriter that I look up to in my industry, as someone who has been so wildly successful at such a young age.  I also greatly admire author John Green, known for The Fault in Our Stars, but also as a part of the vlogbrothers channel on Youtube.  I look up to both of them as talented creators that show great empathy and a desire to connect with their audience in a personable and authentic way.

What are some of your favorite films?

I could go on for a while. My guilty pleasures are Inception and Sherlock Holmes.  I’m also a huge fan of The Babadook, Spirited Away, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  I'm a big fan of Christopher Nolan, Guy Ritchie, and also Rian Johnson.

What is your favorite place to hang out that you draw inspiration from?

I’m a big fan of writing in cafes.  My favorite place to go and write in NYC in Pushcart Café, on 2nd Avenue and 21st Street.  I also love to go to Madison Square Park to read a good book and do some people-watching on the down-low – it’s a great place to draw inspiration for character dialogue!

Lastly, let’s have some fun! If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?

Oh, that’s a tough one!  My first thought was to have some sort of healing factor, but you know, on second thought, I'm not too keen on being immortal.  In that vein though, I'd love to have some sort of healing ability, and that way I could heal others and myself - and still maintain some of that impervious Wolverine/Deadpool factor.  I like the idea of having a power that is very versatile; able to be used primary for self-defense and helping others, but also allows you to take action when needed.


Meet the Crew: Co-Developer and Co-Director Jessica Naftaly

Meet the Crew: Co-Developer and Co-Director Jessica Naftaly

Hello. So, who are you and how did you become involved with 'After Oil'? 

Hey! I’m Jessica Naftaly the co-creator and co-director of ‘After Oil’. This project started when thesis year was approaching and Shai and I decided we wanted to collaborate on something. We went back and forth about a few ideas, from developing a horror short or a webseries, but our biggest draw was that we wanted to do something long term. We wanted whatever we did for our thesis to have a life outside of school. Eventually, we kept coming back to the idea of ‘After Oil’ and that excitement made the choice so easy. We both come from novel writing so the promise of world building and long form storytelling that came with ‘After Oil’ encompassed all we could have wanted. From then on, it’s been everything and more to develop this world, these characters, and this story!

Life After Oil

Co-director and writer for the upcoming series AFTER OIL, Shailyn Cotten, talks about the science behind the “global oil crisis” that inspired the series, and how we may be seeing a future like AFTER OIL as soon as 2030.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not an expert.  I am a writer.  I am the exact opposite of an expert.  I am a person who stalks Wikipedia threads, lurks in online science forums, and has queued up a long list of search results which, to an outside eye, probably make me look like a serial murderer - all in the name of “research”.  That being said, if I’ve excelled at anything over the past several years as a writer, it’s at taking a complex, sophisticated concept, and watering it down to something straightforward and palatable.

So here it is in layman’s terms: we are not going to “run out” of oil.

What we are going to see, in the next fifteen or so years, is a major decline in the production of crude oil.

Is that so catastrophic?  The answer is, potentially.  Our world’s population only continues to grow, and if our global oil production peaks - which many experts already believe that it has - than by 2030, our oil production could be halved, while our world population may have doubled.

It is widely known that the production of many regions of oil fields which our industry relies upon have plateaued, if not completely been depleted.  And yet, in the last ten plus years, committees like the National Petroleum Council (NPC) which represent the oil and gas industry, as well individual oil companies, have stated that worldwide oil production has in fact increased exponentially.

How can both be true? By lumping in other sources of oil to the mix, such as biofuels, natural gas, lease condensate, and refinery gain, none of which are currently accepted as “oil” at major exchanges.  In fact, “crude oil blended with lease condensate is discounted to refiners in recognition of its lower value.”  Meanwhile, if you look at focused reports of estimated global crude oil production - the only type of widely usable oil that can be sold on the crude oil market - since 2002, production has in fact plateaued.

If we have in fact hit peak oil in 2005 - and there are many who say we have - it’s all downhill from here.  Once production outpaces global population and demand, the price for gas and oil will skyrocket.

What does that mean for us?

Sadly, our global economy is built on oil and gas.  Without it, we will crumble.  One essay on the effect of peak oil states, “for instance, during the 1970s oil shocks, shortfalls in production as small as 5% caused the price of oil to nearly quadruple. The same thing happened in California a few years ago with natural gas: a production drop of less than 5% caused prices to skyrocket by 400%.”  The crisis of the 1970s was a short-lived “shock”.  If peak oil theorists are correct, then the decline that follows the peak in global crude oil production could result in a semi-permanent condition.

Resource wars.  Rioting.  Looting.  When the price of gas goes up, the price of everything must go up.  Our food production is powered, at every step, by fossil fuels.  If crude oil goes into a steady decline, it won’t be long before food starts to disappear from our shelves.  Flights will be grounded.  We won’t be able to make jet fuel.  Public transportation will shut down.  All of our electrical systems which run on natural gas or coal will go dead.

Without transportation, how will food get to our local marketplace?  Even if it could, without refrigeration, and other electrically powered food storage devices, how would we preserve our food?

Whether you buy into peak oil, or take the NPC and oil companies at their word, the question of a global oil crisis isn’t if, it’s when.

When life after oil does hit, what will happen?  What can we do to survive the years of crisis?  How long will it take before our global economy - and the world at large - stabilizes?

Stay tuned for more information on global oil crisis predictions, and what our life might look like… AFTER OIL.

What would be the first thing you would do if a global oil crisis hit?  Leave your answers in the comment section down below, and subscribe to our newsletter for updates on production for AFTER OIL.

Want to learn more about the future of oil? Here are some links where you can find out more information.

Watch more:
World Without Oil, National Geographic

Read more:

Life After the Oil Crash
Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas
Crude Awakening, MSN
The Rainwater Prophecy, CNN

Filming The Indiegogo Campaign Video!

Filming The Indiegogo Campaign Video!

This past weekend Shailyn and Jessica were joined by their producer Juana for another trip Upstate to Catskill, New York, which will be doubling as the fictional town of Pahokee, Pennsylvania. They visited some of their lovely locations again, but the main objective was to shoot the video for their Indiegogo campaign launching on June 26th, 2016.