After Kellie Madison released the proof of concept short The Gate, the high octane film became a viral sensation with 4 million views and it got her the job directing Never Back Down: Revolt, a low budget action film back by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that got released recently.
With that film under her belt, Madison is hoping to make the leap to direct the feature version of the short that put her on the map. Briarcliff Entertainment’s Tom Ortenberg is taking the concept out to financiers. The short stars Captain America: The Winter Soldier’s Amy Johnston and The Raid 2’s Cecep Arif in a violent struggle by a young woman to save her suicidal sister, whose soul is about to be captured by an unsavory Indonesian crime boss. It leads to a larger adventure to find a pathway to ultimate power, called The Gate.
Madison, who previously directed The Tank, said that working on Never Back Down bolstered her confidence because, there are just not a lot of women directing these action films. “We are still hitting the glass ceiling,” Madison said. “People say to me all the time, when are you going to make this movie. Working on The Tank, the cast was a challenge and I thought too many of them had the attitude, who’s this chick leading 100 people through this movie. The only challenge on Never Back Down was getting through Covid, which we did. The Gate got me that job and three weeks after it was released, I was in London directing. I’m inspired enough to take it off the back burner and go shoot it in Indonesia, for authenticity and because some of the best fighters in the world live there.”
Madison doesn’t want to limit herself to martial arts. After all, she came up a dancer, not a brawler. She also has a grounded scifi project called Kexburg, which she said is “an intimate look at a particular alien relationship with some people in a small town inspired by a famous alien craft sighting that took place in Pennsylvania in 1965.
Madison is managed by Magnolia Entertainment.