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Showing posts from 2014

Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Accidental filmmakers: A chat with Thomas Denvir and Dave Hickin of 'Accidental Heroes'

Dare I say it? Making an independent movie is no simple task. (There, I said it.)
But the trials and tribulations rarely slow passionate filmmakers. When they get bit by the bug, the press forward, regardless of the pain and pressure. Much of it self-inflicted.
In the end, dedicated filmmakers wind up with a finished product that seems to happen quite by accident. In truth, all the pieces come together right when they’re supposed to: the concept, the crew, the cast, the creation - even the craft services.
And in a lot of ways, everything’s coming together for Cleveland filmmakers Thomas Denvir and Dave Hickin. When the duo met while attending the Ohio/Illinois Center for Broadcasting in 2009, the two became fast friends. After graduation, they started shooting sketch comedy for YouTube. Then one thing led to another and now they’re making their first feature, a comedy titled Accidental Heroes.
We sat down (via email) with Tom and Dave to get a closer look:
Midwest Movie Maker (MMM): Tell m…

Feast your eyes on a festival of fantastic films during this year’s Ohio Independent Film Festival

The Ohio Independent Film Festival (OIFF) is one of those unique Midwest gems that independent filmmakers know a whole lot about and, every year, film fans of all shapes, sizes, ages and interests discover for the first time. Maybe you’re one of them.
If so, now’s your chance to discover the festival – and a ton of amazing films. The event kicks off this Thursday, Nov. 6, at Atlas Cinemas Lakeshore 7 in Euclid, Ohio.
We recently sat down with Peter Balint, executive director of the OIFF to learn more about the event.
Midwest Movie Maker: If this is the first time I've heard of the OIFF, what should I know?
Peter Balint: The Ohio Independent Film Festival has brought independent film to Cleveland for more than 20 years! We accept submissions from around the world in all genres including feature length narratives and documentaries, as well as shorts, animations, micro shorts and short docs.
MMM: What's the history of the OIFF?
PB: Independent Pictures is the parent organization of OI…

Five Horrific Questions with J.R. Bookwalter, Akron’s Mayhem Master

Our final five horrific questions feature - our Halloween edition - features one of my favorite horror directors, J.R. Bookwalter. And not just because I was an extra in his most notable film, the cult classic The Dead Next Door.
In many ways, Bookwalter helped pave the way for independent filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith. The Akron-native dove into independent filmmaking in the late 1980s, shoring up funding, securing locations and writing his own personal guerilla filmmaking manual because, for the most part, no one else had done it yet. (Well, except maybe for Pittsburgh’s George Romero, an icon in independent horror filmmaking and one of Bookwalter’s idols. Oh, and Detroit’s Sam Raimi, who was coming off a hit with his independent horror movie The Evil Dead II and was instrumental in getting The Dead Next Door up off the ground.)
After The Dead Next Door became a cult hit across the globe, Bookwalter went on to make a slew of low-budget horror tales, including Robot …

Five Horrific Questions with ‘The Zombinator’s Sergio Myers

We don’t have quite as many entries into our five horrific questions feature as we did last year - but our final two are zombie greats. The first is director Sergio Myers. Myers is set to director his second zombie feature, Zombie Priest, in Youngstown, Ohio, this December. This follows Myers successful horror venture The Zombinator, which he shot in Youngstown in 2012. The film stars Patrick Kilpatrick and Joseph Aviel. The film begins as a fashion documentary and quickly descends into madness. College students must trust a former soldier turned zombie killer (Aviel) while battling the evil Colonel (Kilpatrick), a mercenary working for the corporation who designed the chemical turning people into zombies. Myers’ credits include 10 Things Every Guy Should Know and Jordan Saffron: Taste This!. He has also won the EBE Award for Best Documentary for his film about the Heaven's Gate Cult. The film was presented at the Margaret Mead Film Festival and later inducted into the American Museu…

Five Horrific Questions with ‘Closed for the Season’s Jay Woelfel

It’s that time of year again! Time to ask another horde of hungry horror filmmakers five horrific questions about the genre and why we like to have our pants scared off.
Kicking off our second annual fearful feature is Jay Woelfel. The writer, director, producer and Columbus, Ohio, native is well known for his creature features, including the scary tale mentioned in our headline, Closed for the Season. The film was shot on location at an abandoned amusement park in Chippewa Lake, Ohio, and based on folklore about the spooky setting.
While Woelfel has produced his fair share of horror films – Season of Darkness, Live Evil, GhostLakeand Unseen Evil – he has also produced and directed crime dramas, war films and a SF convention fan-favorite, Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming. He won the Interactive Academy Award for Best Documentary for his Titanic, narrated by Patrick Stewart.
The OhioStateUniversity included him in its Buckeye Brilliance permanent display of outstanding achievements…

LeBron's Springhill Productions unveiling 'Survivor's Remorse,' 'Becoming' this fall

We had a little fun this summer after NBA superstar and Akron, Ohio, native and resident LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. We thought it would be fun to cast the film version of his return to Northeast Ohio. We had no idea James was already deeply involved in film projects of his own.
In late September, James, along with Springhill Productions partner Maverick Carter, one of James’ childhood friends, debut Survivor’s Remorse on the Starz network. The comedy deals with a young basketball phenom as he makes his way in the big leagues. The show is less a reflection of James’ real life than it is of his and Carter’s survivor’s guilt for becoming incredibly successful.
“I explained to Tom how I have it sometimes, because of my family and my neighborhood where I come from,” Carter told The New York Times recently. Tom is Tom Werner, producer of Roseanne and The Cosby Show. “There’s a lot of good people there, and not all of them, to use a phrase, make it out. And I…