Risk Everything

on a word
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A failed writer is possessed by Franz Kafka; it is up to his wife to free him. But does she really want to?

Synopsis or Teaser


Thriller, Horror 


What if Franz Kafka didn’t die, but poured his life into a doll?

Inspired by the true story of the letters Kafka wrote from a doll to a little girl. Based on the poem The Wanderer King by Theodore Deppe.


Berlin. 1988. The wall is still up.

Tom, An American writer, a one-shot wonder who can’t match his previous success, lives in Berlin while his wife Rachel finishes her thesis on Kafka.

For their tenth wedding anniversary he buys her a doll from 1924.

Although they don’t realize it, Kafka’s soul is imprisoned in the doll. Tom writes about the fall of the Wall in Kafka’s voice, and again becomes successful.  But Rachel knows that Tom has changed, and the change has something to do with the doll.

At the same time, a series of child-killings occur in their vicinity. All evidence points to Tom as the killer.

Tom is arrested but becomes so ill he has to be  hospitalized. His illness baffles his doctors. Throughout, Tom clings to the doll.

When Rachel tries to take the doll away, Tom nearly kills her.

It’s up to Rachel now to solve the mystery of the doll, the killings, and Tom’s illness before it is too late.


ALISON MCMAHAN owns the rights to the poem, “The Wanderer King” by Theodore Deppe that inspired this screenplay. McMahan is an optioned and award-winning screenwriter and an independent filmmaker.

THEODORE DEPPE was born in Duluth, Minnesota, grew up in Indiana, and presently lives on the west coast of Ireland.  He is the author of Children of the Air (Alice James Books, 1990), The Wanderer King (Alice James, 1996), Cape Clear: New and Selected Poems (Salmon Books, 2002), and Orpheus on the Red Line (Tupelo, 2009). His work has been recognized by a Pushcart Prize, two NEA grants, and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Commission and the Connecticut Council on the Arts.  He has been writer in residence at the James Merrill House in Stonington, CT (1998-99), the Poets’ House in Donegal, Ireland (2001-2003), and Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts (2003-2006), and he shared the writer in residence position at Westminster College with Annie Deppe (spring semester, 2012).  He has taught in graduate programs in writing in Ireland, England, and the U.S. He currently teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program in Maine and directs Stonecoast in Ireland, an option that allows graduate students to study in Ireland.  Deppe received a B.A. in English from Earlham College, a B.S.N. in Nursing from Berea College, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Vermont College.  His work has been published widely on both sides of the Atlantic, including Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry, The Shop, Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Irish Pages, New England Review, The Stinging Fly, Massachusetts Review, Agni, Boulevard, and Southern Review.

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