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With ‘Pill Head’ Petaluma Is the New Hollywood — Again

Pill Head

Pill Head is part of the "Lumaville" series by Daedalus Howell

Daedalus Howell & Karen Hess

Writer-director Daedalus Howell and Producer and production designer Karen Hess.

Photo by Dennis Ferguson.

Pill Head will be film on location in Petaluma, CA.

Creative Team Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for Hometown Feature Film

Our motivation to make this film is not merely to scratch an aesthetic itch — we hope to galvanize our local film community, employ local artists, and add fuel to Petaluma’s creative economy...”
— Daedalus Howell
PETALUMA, CA, UNITED STATES, August 18, 2017 / -- Continuing in the tradition of Hitchcock, Coppola and Lucas, narrative art collective Culture Dept. will make their feature film debut in their native Petaluma, CA.

Comprised of producer and production designer Karen Hess and writer-director Daedalus Howell, the company’s “artsploitation” film Pill Head joins the ranks of The Birds, American Graffiti, Peggy Sue Got Married, Basic Instinct, Scream, Inventing the Abbots, and recent Netflix hit 13 Reasons Why this October when shooting commences following an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which soft-launched last week.

In the film, college student Theda (played by Petaluman Emily Ahrens) is a pill addict who elects to undergo an experimental sleep treatment overseen by a shady professor, Dr. Ashe (played by Petaluman Alia Beeton). When she awakes, she discovers that her treatment has resulted in the psychic ability to see into parallel universes. She seeks out a dodgy metaphysics writer to help her fathom the new power but his council leaves her ill-prepared for the machinations of the professor as the spectre of her own addiction wreak havoc on her sense of self. To break free, she switches identities with another young woman and, as her possible fates unfold before her, she ventures to the brink of sanity to make a defining decision. The path Theda finds herself on could lead to redemption but it may also cost her life. The question is — which one?

An expansion of the darkly comic universe of writer-director Daedalus Howell’s “Lumaville” novels (Quantum Deadline; The Late Projectionist), Pill Head marks the fifth collaboration for Culture Dept., which was aptly described by the Petaluma Argus-Courier as “A pair of local artists with a habit of staging offbeat performance art events in Petaluma” including a postcard exhibit, a pop-up video store, and a fake 80s New Wave band. Whereas Airport Bar, the team’s anti-travel ban performance that recreated an airport bar (“...Their most political statement yet.” — North Bay Bohemian) spoke to international concerns, Pill Head instead focuses its lens on local issues like the burgeoning opioid addiction in small towns like Petaluma.

"'Pill Head' makes a unique and personal statement on a universal theme — redemption — while interrogating the very concept with questions like 'Does it count toward my major?' and 'Is it habit-forming?'" says Howell. "Our motivation to make this film is not merely to scratch an aesthetic itch — we hope to galvanize our local film community, employ local artists, and add fuel to Petaluma’s creative economy while capturing this particular moment in its history."

The Indiegogo campaign can be found at or by visiting
The official hashtag for the film is #pillheadmovie. Karen Hess and Daedalus Howell are available for interviews. Call (707) 347-9772 or email to schedule.

Daedalus Howell
Culture Dept.
email us here

Pill Head | A Film by Daedalus Howell & Karen Hess | Indiegogo