Janet Loftis

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Janet Loftis
2009, 2012, 2017, 2018 Screenplay Finalist and 2015 Semifinalist

What is your name and company URL?

Janet Loftis, writer. I don’t really have a company/URL, but here are the links to my e-book on Amazon, and my WordPress blog.

http://smile.amazon.com/Skin-Bones-Janet-Loftis-ebook/dp/B00E19DQHA/

https://janetloftis.wordpress.com/

What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

screenwriting. preferred format: shorts (for now…)

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just started a new short for Shriekfest 2019 (of course). And I’m in the process of adding a couple of new stories to my horror/dark fantasy collection “Skin & Bones” which currently is only available in e-book format. Once that’s done, I’ll be creating a print option.

Nice! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I’ve had several over the years, from teachers to friends, and even friends of friends (who I’ve never met in person) who were generous enough to read & critique. And a special nod to my friend, Xina Uhl, who is the one who encouraged me to try e-book sales. We often give each other virtual “kicks-in-the-rear” to get back to work.

That is so important. Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

I think horror/sciffi offers the most variety, incorporating every other genre in any combination – where else could you create a story about a time traveling amphibious alien serial killer who falls in love with Rasputin, his next intended victim? Hmm…now there’s an idea I haven’t tried yet.

LOL What do you love most about this business?

I love the family feel, the inclusiveness. I met so many incredibly nice people at Shriekfest who welcomed me with open arms, instantly making me one of their own.

That makes me happy! What do you dislike most about this business?

I’m not sure. Probably the same that others dislike: how hard it is to break in – what does it take to get that one break? that leap from finalist to winner to getting a script made into film?

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

My last two finalist placements in Shriekfest, especially since, I must confess, I wrote each of those two days before the final deadline.

Wow, that’s impressive! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

Sit your ass down in a chair, move the cat off the computer keyboard, and write.

LOL Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

See you in October!

Thank you! It was great chatting!

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Renfield Rasputin

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Renfield Rasputin
2014 (LaLaurie) and 2018 (The Legacy) Screenplay Finalist

What is your name and company URL?

I go by my penname, Renfield Rasputin. More people recognize that name more than my birth name.

What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

Screenwriting. I’d like to try my hand at filmmaking but I have no one near me with acting ability, a camera, mics, software, or locations.

What are you currently working on?

Jeffrey Stackhouse and I are both hard at work on turning “The Legacy” into a feature screenplay. Plus I have a few short stories, two novels, and even a children’s book that I need to finish.

Wow, you aren’t busy at all! 🙂 Who do you consider your mentor and why?

Jeffrey Stackhouse. Hands down. He’s got a way of bringing out more to any story when I look at it and think it can’t get any better. I only think I get into the minds of characters but when you talk to him, HE IS the mind of the characters. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how he is able to write like he does.

Yes, Jeffrey is pretty awesome! Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

Everyone has a (for the lack of a better word) dark side and we want to explore it – even if we don’t stay there long. It’s for escapism. We’re curious. Some of us stay a bit longer and live out the dark side by maybe dressing the part or looking the part of the role because we’re comfortable with that side of us. Maybe we can relate to the last girl or sometimes, maybe even the villain.

What do you love most about this business?

Writing screenplays allows for me to branch out my creativity. I wrote my first screenplay because I really wanted to see it as a movie. There wasn’t a movie done about it at the time so I wrote it myself.

I love that! What do you dislike most about this business?

Corporate know it all’s. Enough said.

What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

I’m a Filmquest Film Festival winner and a Worldfest Remi winner.

Congrats! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

I’m going to quote Anne Rice, “To write something, you have to risk making a fool of yourself.” Take risks.

Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

School are slowly weening out art programs. We can’t let any aspect of art be eliminated whether it’s writing, painting, sculpting, or whatever. If you have a skill, teach a child to draw, paint, take a photograph, or write. And help support independent talent.

I agree! Thank you. It was great chatting!

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Alex Noyer

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Alex Noyer
Director of 2018’s Official Selection “Conductor”

What is your name and company URL?

I am Alex Noyer. My company is You Know Films (Youknowfilms.com)

What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

I am a film producer, writer and director.

What are you currently working on?

I have a feature eco-thriller called “Sielu” in late stage development. I also have 2 further genre-bending features I am writing. And I am certainly not done with my main character from ‘Conductor’.

Awesome! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I would say my lawyer has mentored me the most throughout the development of my original projects. He flagged up so many obstacles and potential mistakes and truly sharpened my producing approach.

Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

It’s a mix of escapism and madness. Audiences see life exacerbated and the surreal approached without boundaries. Genre films are liberating for film makers just as much as they are for the audience. Heightened creativity also gets truly committed audiences on your side. Look how ‘Mandy” was received this year. It is well under way to being considered cult. Genre audiences are capable of that level of passion.

I agree! What do you love most about this business?

The productive ‘Ruthlessness’. I love the competitiveness but also the persistence you must show. A project is such an undertaking to get off the ground that you really have to make a go out of it. If you can’t take the heat then get out of my kitchen.

Exactly! What do you dislike most about this business?

The ruthlessness similarly has a very dislikable side. The dirty tricks and dishonesty you often encounter is disheartening. I loathe the part of the business that wants to seize ideas and credits from others. There are many entities that bank on the lack of protection film makers get early in their career.

Having said that when you do have an unfortunate encounter with that side of the business it teaches you as much as any of your career breaks. Again you have to take the heat too.

It can be brutal. What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

I produced the feature documentary ‘808’ about the legendary TR808 drum machine and it was the first feature documentary licensed by Apple to be available on their music streaming service Apple Music.

Wow! That’s impressive! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

Read the fine prints. Read them twice.

Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

Just a big thank you to Shriekfest and all the wonderful festivals that welcomed ‘Conductor’ so enthusiastically this year.

Thank you! We were honored to have you involved Alex! It was great chatting! Happy New Year!

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Winners 2018

Shriekfest 2018

BEST COMMERCIAL
The Spectral Bride
Directed by Carroll Brown

BEST MUSIC VIDEO
U.S. Butcher
Directed by Aleksey Smirnov

BEST SHORT SCREENPLAY
Magic
Written by Kenny J. Wright

BEST SUPER SHORT FILM
Cabin Killer
Directed by Michael Rich

BEST SCI-FI SHORT FILM
Safe
Directed by Tim Earnheart

BEST HORROR SHORT FILM
Latched
Directed by Justin Harding and Rob Brunner

BEST SCI-FI FEATURE SCREENPLAY:
A Quiet War
Written by Carroll Brown

BEST THRILLER FEATURE SCREENPLAY
Pervert
Written by Rona Mark

BEST HORROR FEATURE SCREENPLAY
No Child Left Behind
Written by Daniel Shea

BEST SCI-FI FEATURE FILM
Soundwave
Directed by Dylan K. Narang

BEST THRILLER FEATURE FILM
Alive
Directed by Rob Grant

BEST SUPERNATURAL HORROR FILM
Echoes of Fear
Directed by Brian and Laurence Avenet-Bradley

BEST HORROR FEATURE FILM
Camp Cold Brook
Directed by Andy Palmer

Edward Martin III

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Edward Martin III
2008 Semi Finalist, 2015 Quarter Finalist, 2017 Quarter Finalist, Finalist & Winner, 2018 Finalist

DG: What is your name and company URL?

EM: I’m Edward Martin III, and our company is Hellbender Media, which can be found at HellbenderMedia.com, though it is said that if you crush a stone and whisper our name into the pieces and scatter them unto the oceans of the world, we may hear your voice. I cannot confirm this.

DG: LOL What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

EM: I try very hard to understand as many aspects off the whole picture as I can. I started out writing — stories, comics, essays, scripts, etc. — but for me to do my best writing, I have to make sure that I think of everyone’s needs as I write. I also enjoy directing because it helps my planner brain feel satisfied. And I enjoy preproduction. And I enjoy post. And I enjoy doing effects work. And I enjoy making practical effects.

DG: I love that you think of everyone’s needs. What are you currently working on?

EM: I am finishing script edits on our next feature film. After that, I have eight episodes of a new web series that we just filmed, and a pile of feature scripts I want to write before March 1.

DG: wowza! That’s a lot! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

EM: I have been asked this before and am never quite sure how to answer it. In general, I try to learn from everyone I work with, on the theory that everyone has a piece of the puzzle. But I know I am also inspired by certain people for certain reasons. I am inspired by the author Bruce Taylor, who is a dear friend and who always encourages me. I am inspired by Natalie Goldberg, who wrote my favorite book on writing “Writing Down the Bones.” I am inspired by the Wachowskis because their vision and scope astounds me every time. And every writer I meet inspires me because I know that we are not alone in trying to make sense of this world. I will remember a dozen people after I send this in, all of whom deserve to be on this list, too.

DG: It really is true…we learn from everyone! Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

EM: Respectively, I think because of assurance and because of hope. Horror feels strongest when it rewards us for being moral, and sci-fi feels strongest when it offers us a vision. Of course, there are always exceptions, and as with so many things, I could be totally wrong.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

EM: Creating art, meeting people, feeling a project grow among friends.

DG: Yes!!! What do you dislike most about this business?

EM: The sleazy manipulative folks who make it worse for everyone, who tear down others to make themselves good, and who shaft people however they can. They remind me of shitty telescopes — so much potential and promise, but so malfunctioning that they’ll turn away even the most stout-hearted and true.

DG: Yes, that is frustrating! What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

EM: Today, if I am proud of anything, it is that I am still able to create art and that people still tell me that they had a great time on set and thought they did their best work. That makes my heart glow.

DG: I like that. Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

EM: Always remember that people are more important than things. The people who you have in your stories, the people who work with you, the people who will share your stories later… People. If you don’t love people, then this is gonna be a rough ride for you.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

EM: Create art!

DG: Thank you Edward! It was great chatting!

Brian Avenet-Bradley

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Brian Avenet-Bradley
2005 Best Horror Feature Film, 2013 Official Selection, and 2018 Best Supernatural Horror Feature Film

DG: What is your name and company URL?

BA: Brian Avenet-Bradley, www.echoesoffear.com

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

BA: Well, so far, filmmaking and screenwriting have all gone together as one. Along with my wife and filmmaking partner Laurence (Lo) Avenet-Bradley, I’ve taken our horror ideas from inception, through the script phase through filming and post. So it’s all flowed together. When I’m writing, I’m thinking about how we’re going to shoot it. During the production process, my primary focus is on directing, but that definitely involves rewriting to make the most of the locations and actors. It really all comes down to the best way to build the mood, atmosphere and suspense to heighten the scare.

DG: What are you currently working on?

BA: Laurence and I have just finished our fifth feature together, the supernatural horror film Echoes of Fear. It’s the first one that we’ve co-directed. Since debuting in October, the film has won three Best Horror Feature awards at festivals, including Best Supernatural Feature at its World Premiere at Shriekfest. We’ve been really stoked by the strong reaction from horror audiences in a theater, so we’re now looking for the right distributor who can harness that excitement in releasing the film.

DG: It’s a great film! congrats! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

BA: Not one particular person for either Lo or I. But we do know a lot of people in Los Angeles who have been very helpful at times with advice and guidance. So I wouldn’t want to name just one person, but I’d say that both Lo and I have been been fortunate to run into some generous Los Angeles horror filmmakers and other people in the industry who have helped us along our journey. There are good people out here, and if you look hard enough, you’ll find the ones who are pretty open about helping out.

DG: So true! Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

BA: I think the best horror and science fiction genres hold a mirror up to a dark and frightening world and allegorically/metaphorically show that world in an entertaining way. It’s the spoonful full of sugar that makes it possible to swallow this bitter world. And I think audiences really respond to that. Horror films especially are a cathartic way of dealing with terror. It’s a scary thrill ride that can help purge the real horror of the world. It’s fun to yell, scream and laugh in the dark with fellow movie goers. The darker the world gets, the greater the need I think for horror films.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

BA: Lo and I love just about everything about telling scary stories visually to an audience. The best moment is always watching and hearing an audience that loves the film– hearing what scared them the most or creeped them out or captivated them visually. For us, it’s all about that audience response, the collective reaction of people freaked out together in the dark.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

BA: The painful process of finding the right distributor who will embrace the film and help it reach its audience. Runner up, would be securing the financing or finding the right production partner who will enable the film to be made. Nothing is more frustrating than having a great script that you know horror audiences will love– but also knowing that without money it will never be made and they will never see it.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

BA: Lo and I completing our latest film Echoes of Fear and sharing it with horror audiences. Hearing and seeing their strong reaction to the film has been the highlight of my career so far. Nothing is better than when hard core horror fans tell you that you’ve scared them.

DG: So awesome! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

BA: Tell the stories you’re passionately compelled to tell and find a way to tell them– someway, somehow. And don’t wait too long to start!

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

BA: Be on the look out for another festival screening of Echoes of Fear.

DG: yes!!! Thank you It was great chatting!

Jeffrey Stackhouse

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Jeffrey Stackhouse
2013/2014/2016/2017 Finalist Screenwriter and 2015 Winner Best Short Screenplay

DG: What is your name and company URL?

JS: My name is Jeffrey Stackhouse. I used to have something url-viable, but let’s just maybe direct folk to Shadowland. — If you want a place to hang and by-chance learn something about Genre Filmmaking while cheering on your fellow Creators, I mod a kept-small little waystation on Facebook where politics and bullying and mossssst snark is left outside the door. I try to just provide the background so that others can ask questions and discuss nuance in a movement or film, so even if this interview rubs ya the wrong way, you might still find it a good fit. “Enter freely and of your own free will.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/1039881919387602/

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

JS: I only screenwrite now, having gone through 5-10-year spurts as DJ and stage director and Baroque Opera Baritone and Anime Voicework and helping folk workshop New Music and then film acting. I always made enough to survive and was mentored and written-for by people in the history books. But I’ve been Horror Screenwriting for 6 years now with one filmed work, two Options, 5 Awards, 23 Finalists. All the Pros tell me that it takes ten years to make The Dent. Hoping I’m on track.

DG: wow, that’s a lot of wonderful things! congrats! What are you currently working on?

JS: I usually write in the contained $1 – 5M range, but had a story that was always burnin’ at me about clever kids in a small college who decide they need to create a new God to retool the World. It involves prayer wheels and fallacies in your concept of God and Holographic Universe Theory and the true nature of Sacrifice (you didn’t think a God who sees the sparrow fall really wants a dead lamb on their altar, did you? That might be you not understanding what the lamb was really for …). And blood; lots of blood. So after 7 scripts and a few Shorts, I’m writin’ in the $20M+ range this time. And then a Santa story, I’m thinkin’.

DG: Wow, you are busy! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

JS: Tom O’Horgan, the original director of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR and HAIR and LENNY was a mentor of mine, and taught me that trying to surround oneself with clever and kind folk — and then listening to them — was about the best “active” goal there could be. He was less of a conflicted person than I, and so was just naturally nicer, but I shoot-for that element, as well.
Who am I influenced by? Cronenberg’s an enormous influence on my work, and S. Craig Zahler of BONE TOMAHAWK is the one screenwriter whose work I seek out and learn from: terse and poetic. Beyond that, Jack (King) Kirby and Rod Serling shaped my life more than anyone but family. Bent it the heck into current form.

DG: Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

JS: I think all storytelling is about Resonance, and Horror at least begins from a standpoint of “what do we share?” It starts from communal experience and then tells a story that uses those things to strike the bell inside you. “What do we share that I can use to manipulate you” perhaps, but hey. I think also that Horror, and Genre work in general, has a much wider range it can cover. Dramas have pretty set strictures or they become Comedies or Tragedies, Thrillers or Rom-Com. Horror can range from visceral in-your-face Splatter to explorations of what it is to be human (hell, what it is to be The Universe). When you accept a genre that includes everything from TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE to THE DEVILS, from MOTEL HELL to MOTHER! you find yourself wit’ some latitude. Only Monty Python has taken it as far as Horror can choose-to every demn time in showers of blood leading one towards the meaning of life. — You premiered THE EVIL WITHIN at Shriekfest last year; I think it’s a good example as it explored quite far into both ends of that spectrum. So: large following? That’s a gimmee when you have audiences for both CLOWN MOTEL and BLOOD OF THE TRIBADES built into the paradigm. And I’m a “both please” kinda guy.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

JS: I love Creatives; I love to see the spark. I impose upon my peeps in Shadowland every year with this short video exploring the glorious flame and sudden loss of Zina Lahr at age 23. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJnwTDv0748 I’ve worked in literal-arms-of singers and actors and directors, laughed in heady debate with poets and writers, and that flame is there at the core of all the best of them. It’s a madness that, when it’s assured that it’s safe until the vessel can mature, becomes glorious. Not being hyperbolic or romantic or even indulging myself. There is no cooler thing than The Gift held within a confident and kind human being.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

JS: I think it’s pretty evident in our current world: there are people who would rather Score Points than Come To Honest Understanding; there are people with no problem stepping on a spark simply in order to feel they themselves are somehow elevated. There are, moreover, Creators who believe they’re a moral human being yet deal differently with someone who is “above” them, than they do with those “below.”

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

JS: Oh dear. Everything I’ve career-accomplished is ephemeral. I had the creator of YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLE BROWN laud my stage work? Tom commissioned a jazz/rock opera for me. — Actually, final answer Alex: I’ve had Creators more talented than I cast me over and over again to premiere their work because they knew I could turn pigs’ ears into silk purses and they wanted to see what I could do with silk. In writing? It’s actually part of my modus: I write really really bloody stuff. — If, in the aftermath or midst of terror, I can make someone cry entirely because I’ve touched something in them, that’s my favorite accomplishment.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

JS: Learn formatting (I’m a Trottier baby) and then Tell Your Story. The only storytelling tool you need is having read Joseph Campbell or Frazer, and damn your Education System if you haven’t already. Generalized Beat Sheets create generalized pap; how many great Screenplays have those gurus actually written? Bradbury and King have good short books on Writing effective prose. Sam Delany, too, though he won’t wait for you to catch up. On that, realize that all of the filmmakers of the 30s–60s had a storytelling vocabulary built upon what they had read. Even those great visuals that our filmmakers imitate today originated from a lifetime of sharing worlds with great authors. Maybe get yerself a couple of good novels this month. Be unafraid. Stop asking permission. Many folk before me have said you can’t edit what isn’t on the page, so write. And it’s alright to have written crap; silk purses from sow’s ears, right? Don’t suffer fools (“waves”) and surround yourselves with those who are kind. But also, be kinder to yourself. You’re opening your veins for the ink; be aware that makes you vulnerable even after you close the cut. Realize you’re not alone. If you’re down, reach out to people who might help. Those thoughts are more common than you think.

DG: Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

JS: My thanks to you for this sixth season of my participation in Shriekfest; I’ve made no bones about it being my fave. As usual, my co-writers make me shine, and this time it’s with 2 Finalist scripts where there’s remarkably little blood. — Renfield Rasputin invited me aboard his thrilling concept which we wrote as a trial-balloon for a Feature, and Wendy Lashbrook was there to hone and build and support with one of mine, a Pilot-forSeries. And Gentlefolk: all that this should be is “was there ONE thing here that I can steal from this derp to corral my own views of how to get my Story on the Page.” — Everyone reading this knows things I don’t, and most of them more important. Don’t let the silliness and shallowness – and thought-out manipulating — of what I had to say keep you from taking what you can. It’s all fodder for the mill. Make better bread than mine from one ingredient you found here. Be safe.

DG: Thank you Jeffrey! It was great chatting!

Sergio Pinheiro

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Sergio Pinheiro
2008 Official Selection “The Procedure”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

SP: My name is Sergio Pinheiro. My company name/website is The Donnybrook at thedonnybrook.com

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

SP: If I had to pick a primary specialty I would say that I’’m a filmmaker who also writes. In terms of filmmaking I’’ve worn many hats over the years from directing to editing and designing VFX & motion graphics. My freelance work keeps me on my toes learning new techniques and tools all the time and that helps when it comes to my own projects.

DG: What are you currently working on?

SP: On the writing side I’’m completing a gothic-horror feature script titled The Chamber which is an adaptation of a short story. I’’m also working with another writer on a feature script from which we hope to break out a short film to help sell the feature.
My freelance work has kept me busy this year as well. I worked on a project for Aston Martin where I had to design eight, one-minute motion graphics/VFX sequences using AM’s video library. I’’ve also designed several title sequences for features, shorts and video projects. I love doing titles because they’’re like short films in their own right. Then you add on top of that the ability to set the tone for the film and it’s a lot of fun.

DG: Wow, you’ve been busy! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

SP: Director Paul Solet (Grace, Bullet head) is a good friend who has brought me in to help him with everything from script feedback to building pitch reels for his projects. I was also a set photographer & behind-the-scenes shooter on his film “Dark Summer” which was a great experience. My job was to be a fly on the wall during production and document. I tried to observe and soak up everything.
Most recently I’’ve been doing work for director Mark Pellington who genre fans will remember from The Mothman Prophecies he’s also directed a ton of music videos over the years. Aside from being one of the nicest guys, he carries with him a wealth of experience and creativity to every project. I’m learning every day I get to work with him.

DG: That is awesome! Paul is Shriekfest alum! Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

SP: In terms of horror you have the license to go to extremes, be it physically, emotionally or often times both. To me, the most important aspect is how characters react to those extremes. When I was in college some of my friends were psychology majors. I remember them talking about these experiments like the Stanford prison experiment or the Milgram experiment on blind obedience. They pushed people to mental extremes to see how they would react. These experiments taught the researchers quite a bit about human behavior but they were later deemed too unethical to continue because of the adverse effects on the test subjects. I think horror fills that void. There’s a natural morbid curiosity to see a what-if scenario unfold to it’s most gruesome or disturbing extreme and watch how characters react to those situations. It shows us aspects of our humanity, good and bad, that we would otherwise not see under normal circumstances.

DG: Well said! What do you love most about this business?

SP: I love that creativity IS the business. Being able to work on bringing a story to life from whatever angle of the industry is vastly more interesting to me than any other job out there. You still have to deal with the business side of the business but the core of the work is still telling a story. I never want to take that for granted.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

SP: I don’t like when the business side begins to dictate the creativity. I do understand the reasoning because at the end of the day it’s about getting eyes on what you’ve made, but with horror especially I think some of the best films out there run completely counter to what some would think is a good business decision, and those films are often the runaway sleeper hits.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

SP: Making my first short film was a huge step in many ways. I made films in film school but there you have this whole infrastructure designed to help you make them. When I moved out to LA I sidetracked into animation for a while. It wasn’’t until a few years later that I circled back to live-action. There was no existing support system so I had to build it from scratch. I went though a ton of ideas spanning all genres. I realized later that I was also searching for what kind of filmmaker I wanted to be. I kept coming back to the horror genre and ideas that often required more than one viewing to completely understand, ones that (hopefully) sparked debate and discussion after the lights came up. I decided that’s where I wanted to operate. The film was called “The Procedure.” I was so excited to see it selected by many genre festivals including Shriekfest. That film set me on the path I’’m on now so I owe a lot to it.

DG: You did a great job on that film! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

SP: Keep making stuff. I’’ve never felt like I was moving my career forward as much as I do when I’’m putting work out there for people to see. Have your quality control, but keep ‘em coming. Incidentally, this is also advice I should give to myself too.

DG: LOL Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

SP: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk a bit about films!

DG: Anytime Sergio! Thank you It was great chatting!

Nikhail Asnani

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Nikhail Asnani
Filmmaker

DG: What is your name and company URL?

NA: My name is Nikhail Asnani and I’m a filmmaker from Hong Kong, currently in Los Angeles doing my MFA in Screenwriting at Chapman University.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

NA: I focus on Screenwriting but have been dipping my toes in directing some short film here and there.

DG: What are you currently working on?

NA: I currently have two horror/sci fi shorts in post production, one is a vampire film and another is titled Something Round starring iconic gender fluid actor Jason Greene aka Freckle. I’m hoping to use this short to gain funding to direct the feature. The feature script also just placed in the top 20% of the Nicholls Fellowship.

DG: Congrats! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

NA: I’ve had several mentors in my career, starting off with known LGBT filmmaker Casper Andreas. Then I participated in a various screenwriting workshops learning under Gordy Hoffman and now at school I receive lots of guidance from my professors.

DG: That’s great. Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

NA: Personally I prefer art that makes the comfortable uncomfortable, and the horror sci fi genres are more allowing for this. It’s also awesome to see movies come along that have a fantastical approach. People watch movies to enter another world and this specific genre does just that. I also have a fascination with vampires just like many other interested in mythical creatures. There is a tradition to storytelling and how it has derived from myth so I think people naturally drift towards hearing such stories.

DG: What do you love most about this business?

NA: The people. The energy. The magic on screen. And the fact that anything is possible, and you can be from anywhere, with any background and still have an amazing story to tell.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

NA: It’s very competitive. Making art shouldn’t just be about competitions and winning, however sometimes it feels like this is the only way to succeed.

DG: What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

NA: I’m most proud of my feature script Something Round. It is something I wrote in one month because I was that inspired and that fact that it has just a tiny bit of recognition is amazing. I’m also very proud of the short, which took many months of planning. It was the first time I worked with industry professional actors and one badass DP and I learned so much in the process and can’t wait to share the film with the world.

DG: Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

NA: Keep at it! The world is changing, there are more opportunities now for stories with women and minority leads, though there still needs to be more. Don’t be afraid to go out there and make your films happen. It’s like jumping into a freezing pool, at first it’s like why did I just do that, but then the coldness settles and you have a great pool party!

DG: LOL Great advice! Anything else you’d like to say?

NA: Thank you to Shriekfest for this interview! We can always use a little positive publicity in life.

DG: Thank you Nikhail! It was great chatting!

Dutch Marich

SHRIEKFEST INTERVIEW

Dutch Marich
2015 Official Selection “Hunting”

DG: What is your name and company URL?

DM: Hello! My name is Dutch Marich and my production company is called “Luminol Entertainment” Our website is getting a facelift at the moment.

DG: What is your specialty…filmmaking or screenwriting?

DM: I guess you could say both? I’ve made four feature films (all within the horror/thriller genre) and have written, directed and edited all of them. I have only worked with a DP on one of my movies and I found myself constantly wanting to grab the camera. Not because I didn’t trust my DP, but because I tend to be a bit of a control freak.

DG: LOL, sounds familiar! 🙂 What are you currently working on?

DM: Right now I am in post-production on my latest film “INFERNUM.” I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that it’s inspired by the real-life phenomena collectively referred to as “The Hum” and that the majority of it takes place on a train.

DG: Wow! That sounds cool! I can’t wait! Who do you consider your mentor and why?

DM: Hmm. Great Question! I’ve honestly never thought about that. I’m fortunate enough to have several industry friends in my life who I can turn to for guidance and advice. When it comes to a “mentor” I’m going to have to say….the internet! My main education is in performing arts, not filmmaking. I studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and after I graduated I realized that my real passion was in TELLING the story…writing it..directing it..all of it. So I started teaching myself. Reading every book I could on indie filmmaking and PRACTICING with a camera and my actor friends. I’m a big believer of just going for it and learning from experience.

DG: I love that! I always say you don’t have to go to filmmaking school. Why do you think the horror/sci-fi genres have such a large following?

DM: Because they are a blast! Who doesn’t love being scared? It’s a special thing when you find a film that truly scares or thrills you….that you can watch from the safety of your own living room or a movie theater. It’s pure dopamine.

DG: LOL very true! What do you love most about this business?

DM: Finding talented people and working with them. It is so rewarding and fulfilling when you find good, talented people who help bring your work to life and give it a heart beat.

DG: That is so very true! What do you dislike most about this business?

DM: Oh man. Losing friends. Unfortunately, this is a very competitive business and there are people out there who don’t want to see you succeed. Avoid those people.

DG: That is so sad! yes, avoid those people! What career accomplishment are you most proud of?

DM: I honestly always wanted to have a movie in SHRIEKFEST. When I first started making movies, I read about Shriekfest and made it a personal goal of mine to get a film into the festival. Years later, when I got the phone call that HUNTING was an official selection, I almost jumped out of my skin.

DG: awww, I love that! I loved making that call! Any advice you’d like to give newbies?

DM: Story is King. Not the latest, most expensive equipment. Work work work. Practice practice practice. You don’t need a ton of money to make your first movie. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you do. Surround yourself with people who you want to work with that inspire you. Also..when you get to a point where you can hire cast and crew and pay people….CHECK THOSE REFERENCES because the last thing you want to end up with is a nightmare of a person on set.

DG: Great advice! I can’t tell you how many people don’t bother with the references! Anything else you’d like to say?

DM: I love Shriekfest and you, Denise! You make such a positive mark on so many peoples lives and bring fresh, new horror to the table continually. THANK YOU! Oh, and please follow my two upcoming films @miserablesinnersmovie @infernumthemovie

DG: Awww, I love you too Dutch! Keep doing what you are doing because it’s great stuff! It was fun chatting!