Kelsey Zukowski as Young Debbie
Kelsey Zukowski is an experienced and passionate screenwriter, actress, and model, specializing in the horror genre through dark examination. Based in Los Angeles, she has worked on productions across the country, working heavily in the indie horror scene in Chicago, as well as LA. Zukowski is most well known for penning and co-starring in the surreal dark drama, “What They Say”, winning awards at film festivals across the country. More recently, her tale of real life horrors of bullying and abuse in the psychological slasher, “Words Like Knives”, premiered at Blood at the Beach festival in Virginia Beach. Zukowski is working on the feature haunted house film, “Within These Walls”, a gritty collaboration with filmmaker James Tucker, centering on a disturbing ghost story that brings out complete entrapment and relentless torment of one girl as she struggles to find her inner-strength (played by Zukowski).
Zukowski is a huge believer in all that the horror genre is capable of. She strives to dive into the good and the bad, the light and darkness, that surrounds us, in a creative, justifying sense through the genre. She eagerly ventures into other genres, but her home is in horror. Zukowski was heavily inspired at an early age by the Halloween franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and fellow Cleveland native, Wes Craven’s surreal and “fighting through the mind” brand of horror in particular.
Zukowski has a background in theater, having fallen in love with acting during a school production when she was 10. This love of acting proved to be a love of storytelling and the cinema in particular. When Zukowski was 14, she began writing film reviews, greatly inspired by the late Roger Ebert’s writing style and ability to relay the entire moviegoing experience in his reviews. While still in high school in Ohio, Zukowski’s film reviews were being published in the California-based newspaper, The Valley Voice. She has been a published film critic for the past 7 years, writing for a variety of websites, including Criticsword.com, HorrorYearbook.com, FilmArcade.net, DirectorsLive.com, TheCelebrityCafe.com, and 8th-circuit.com. She’s written TV recaps, music and movie reviews, news stories, and has conducted interviews with independent film makers around the world. She has covered and shown appreciation for all types of films, from low budget independent to Hollywood mainstream, and is always eager to highlight foreign films or unknown gems.
Zukowski has a Bachelors of Arts in Digital Cinema with a concentration in Screenwriting from DePaul University. Shortly after graduating, Zukowski became involved with the independent film scene. Some of her earliest roles were in various productions of crime writer Kevin Jamison’s intense serial killer depictions, the throwback horror anthology “Psycho Street”, and the Autumn Offering “Born Dead” music video, which aired on MTV2’s Head Banger’s Ball. From acting, she bridged into modeling, working heavily with alternative, pin-up, and glamor modeling. As in her writing, Zukowski is most drawn to thematic, stylistic modeling that has an artistic expression, human emotion, and creates a singular world within an image.