Drama. 9 minutes. 2015. Starring Nina Rausch. Casting: Michael LaPolla. Costumes: Mary Wuliger. Post-production Supervisor: William Lebeda. Editor: Dustin Frost. Music: Chris Wirsig. Director of Photography: Marianne Williams. Written, produced and directed by Mark Tapio Kines.


The 20 Matches poster, with festival laurels

A young woman (Nina Rausch) sits alone in a pitch black room and lights twenty matches, one at a time.

Her face illuminated only by the flame from each match, the woman tells the story of a Viennese serial killer who kidnapped and murdered twenty immigrant women – one per year.


20 Matches was conceived somewhere around 2010 as a project to make with my friend Susanne Wuest, an actress from Vienna, Austria. It sat on the shelf for several years as I waited for Susanne to find the time in her schedule to come to Los Angeles. Ultimately she was too busy (filming projects such as the art house horror film Goodnight Mommy) so in 2015, with Susanne's blessing, I decided to make 20 Matches without her.

In February 2015 I finished the script and began crowdfunding the film on Indiegogo. Over the course of the twenty(!) day campaign, I received over $6,600 in contributions, which allowed me not only to shoot the film that July and finish it in September, but also to host backer-only screenings in Los Angeles and San Francisco and enter dozens of film festivals.


NINA RAUSCH was born outside of Stuttgart, Germany. After high school, she moved to the United States and received a BFA in acting at Northern Illinois University. Nina then relocated to Los Angeles and racked up an impressive series of credits, with memorable guest-starring spots on Mad Men, Orange Is the New Black, Grey's Anatomy, NCIS, and Awkward. She has also starred in and/or produced several independent shorts.


20 Matches is an official selection of the following 20(!) festivals, in chronological order:


Along with printing out 20 Matches T-shirts and sculpting over 100 matchbox-sized clay figures for my Indiegogo contributors, I also promised to list all my backers on this website. So here they are. Give them a hand:

Patricia Andrews, Gaëtan Arrondeau, Diana Bañuelos, Thomas Barisi, Dorie Barton, Jessica Baxter, Christopher Boone, Scott Blood, Laurel Bresaz, Charlie Bury, Gilles Charron, Rachel Clentworth & Geoff Maddock, Benjamin Cord, Eileene Coscolluela, Daniel Crothers, Phillip Darlington, Thessa De Kegel, Patrick Donahue, Sarah Duzynski, Bilge Ebiri, Ahnna Ehnström, Elaine & Becky for motion.tv, Chad & Lindsay Evans, Kathy Fantauzzi, RK Faulhaber, Katie L Fetting, Ralph & Tracy Fontaine, Amy Forstadt, Belén Garau, Carl Garrett, Robert George, Robert Giedt, Erika Godwin, Kevin Howard Goldberg, Michael Gray, Byron Greco, Jamal Green, Joshua Greer, Meor Halim, Dean C. Hall, Per Hansson, Tim Healey, Angela Heine, Nick Iuppa, Joanie, Josh Henning, Jennifer Hjelm, Faye Hoerauf, Fred Kepler, Clare Kines, Dan Kletter, Mica Koizumi, Scott Kravitz, Chuck Lambert & Jill Shinefield, Craig B. Lawler, Jennifer Y. Lee, Mary Leslie (R.I.P.), Joseph V. LeVan, Peter Lindahl, Stephan & Diana Lins, Mollie Platt MacAdam, Natalie MacLees, Vincent Maccioli, Molly Marco, Sylvia J. Martin, Russell Martocci, Glenda Mitchell, Steven Monaci, W. Vito Montone, T Morson, Zoltan Nadasdy, Jessie Nagel, Nancy Ng, Karim Jack Nouri, Susy R, Carminda Ranches, Revek, Tyler Rhoades, Ben Richardson, Markos Rigakis, The Rigg Family, Peter Sacco, Gregory Scharpen, Brett Schlank, Tapio Schneider, Tom Shannon, Seth Skolnik, Tina Skulima, Marischa Slusarski, Sheila M. Sofian, Margarita Soloria, David Souza, Scott Spears, Esquire, Mike Steele, Jon Stout, Andy Sullivan, Shana Sundstrom, Ed Sweet, Sylvia Tamashiro, Mike Tarsa, Greg Thomas, Susan Thompson, Michelle Tom, Scott Trimble, Kyle Valentic, Meta Valentic, Adolfo Valenzuela, Pamela Vanderway, Ron S. van Zuylen, Johan Verschueren, Viki Vortex, Marc Wade, Alexandra Wahl, Matthew Waldron, Brad Wallace, Miki Tapio Walsh, Christian G. Warden, Stephen Watkins, Joel Watson, Marion Wirsig, Catherine Woneis, Patrick Yonally, Leah Young, Lucas Young, Lisa Yu, Hans-Peter Zimmermann, Dom Zook