Writer/­Director's Statement

As someone who got spooked by so many supernatural documentaries as a child, I aim to pour so many of my joys and anxieties about life, love, and nostalgia into CASE UNSOLVED. For myself and many other millennials, the mere mention of the classic real-life show Unsolved Mysteries elicits excited responses like, “That show scared me so much!” and “I still remember the music!” As a fanatic of scary stories in any format, I want to create an unlikely valentine not just to one specific show from my childhood, but to ‘80s & ‘90s horror at large. I want to explore the idea of translating horror aesthetics from decades past into today’s more thoughtful, artistic, and disturbing genre trends.

My goal for CASE UNSOLVED is to showcase a heroic gay duo that viewers can celebrate with as much geeky love as they have for hetero heroes like Mulder and Scully, Doctor Who, and Buffy. Though certain viewers might not even be familiar with these spooky artifacts from pop culture, I know this premise will resonate. More than anything, I want this story to explore the anxious feeling of a “case unsolved” that exists in all of us, especially in this current moment in history. Even for those of us thriving in life, like Owen and Riz are, there is a very real and concrete fear that it all can be taken away at any second, and the intensity of that fear varies, depending on your mix of privileged and marginalized identities. I want this project to explore how we crave resolutions in this age where there are no clean and happy endings.

C.J. Arellano

The Team

C.J. Arellano


C.J. is an award-winning writer/director. The International Screenwriting Association named him one of the Top 25 Screenwriters to Watch in 2019. He won grand prizes in the New York Screenplay Contest and Columbia College Chicago’s Written Image contest. As a video director, C.J. has directed TV spots, as well as branded content enjoyed by millions. His directing work was an Official Selection at the New York Television Film Festival in July 2018, and has been featured at festivals such as Out Webfest and ITVF. His videos have been spotlighted on the front page of Funny or Die. He has also directed video for big brands such as The Second City, Chef Boyardee, and McDonald’s. You can view more of C.J.’s work at CJArellano.com.

Becca Stahl


Becca is the co-founder of The Nova Collective, a company that creates content to build equity and representation in corporate spaces. She’s worked on national advertising campaigns, built out new product suites, and led cross-functional teams designing new business lines. She uses her producing skills to work with diverse creators and tell stories that matter. She produced the short horror film “TwiceBorn” (2015), which was screened at the Festival du Film Merveilleux & Imaginaire, the FilmQuest Festival in Utah, and the Cannes Film Festival’s Court Metrage.

Taylor Witten


​Taylor is a 21st century griot. She’s a storyteller, filmmaker and award-winning producer whose content examines Otherness, identity, and representation within contemporary audio-visual culture. Taylor is the founder of Blessed Press Production, a production company which aims to bring to life stories of faith. She has experience working on both small- and large-scale productions, including commercial work, digital content, TV and film. Her production credits include The Adventures of Jacketman, Fernando’s Fusion, and organizing Wakandacon, an Afro-futuristic fan convention. She has also produced content for some of your favorite brands: Walgreens, Microsoft, Motorola, Uber, YMCA, The Second City, and McDonald’s. Both personally and professionally, Taylor is committed to being a change agent who advocates for opportunities of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Mark Burns


Mark is the founder and executive producer of Punch-Up, a creative services company focused on telling stories with soul and purpose. Previously he worked in production, creative, and operations roles at The Second City and The Onion. He has produced video content for brands such as Playstation, Motorola, Clorox and Orbitz.

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