Skip to main content

Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Five Horrific Questions with Jason Tostevin, co-founder of Nightmares Film Festival

Are you ready for the Nightmares Film Festival?
There’s nothing horrific about the Nightmares Film Festival, a new horror fest concocted by award-winning filmmaker Jason Tostevin and his business partner Chris Hamel.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, Nightmares promises to deliver the scares while uniting and elevating horror around the world. The inaugural event takes place October 20 to 23, 2016. Screenings will be held at the Gateway Film Center, named one of the 20 best art houses on the continent by Sundance.

“We’re lifelong horror fans who’ve been part of hundreds of festivals,” said Tostevin. “We’re using that experience and those connections to bring the very best horror and genre films from across the globe to one easy-to- reach, welcoming festival that really celebrates horror and genre.”

Tostevin, born in New York, calls New Albany, Ohio, home these days. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Tostevin, a writer, fell in love with filmmaking after taking part in a 48 Hour Film Project competition in 2009.

“I thought, I’d love to write a short script. I got a team together, jumped in without having any idea what I was doing, and after our director left halfway through, I took the production over. By the end of the shoot, I was on cloud nine and knew this is what I was supposed to be doing,” he says.

His 2010 48 Hour Film Project entry, Stones, won the central Ohio competition and eventually played during the Cannes Film Festival. The film team has produced a number of horror shorts. Its current project is a comedy horror short titled Born Again.

With a track record like that, Tostevin was the perfect person to torture with our annual Five Horrific Questions:

Filmmaker and film fest founder Jason Tostevin
MMM: What makes a horror movie scary?

Tostevin: The short answer is, empathy. The audience can’t be scared, or feel anything, until they’re connected to the person on the screen.

The longer answer is, I think of it in two ways. There are the physiological scares — jump scares, surprise reveals with a pan or tilt, loud stings after silence — that you get by using the audience’s involuntary responses against them. Those are only peripherally dependent on the story. You’re going to jump or gasp regardless.
But the second kind of scare, the real horror, comes from your on-screen avatar being someone you identify with emotionally, and having him truly vulnerable. When you’re cheering for that person like you would cheer for yourself, and that character becomes you and is put in danger that connects in a primal way, then you’re in a scary movie.

MMM: What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?

Tostevin: The Blair Witch Project scared the shit out of me. The closing scene unfolded so perfectly, I’d get chills thinking about it years later. And The Ring had me turning off the ringer on every phone.

MMM: Who is your horror inspiration?

Tostevin: From the past, it’s the Bloody Triangle: Carpenter, Romero and Craven. From the indie directors of today, Jason Eisener (Hobo With a Shotgun), Moorehead and Benson (Spring) and Ricky Bates Jr. (Excision) are three I’m inspired by.

Tostevin's latest, the horror comedy "Born Again"
MMM: Why do we like to be scared?

Tostevin: Wes Craven said horror is “like bootcamp for the psyche,” and I think that’s right. In a primal way, horror movies give us a chance to run our brains through scenarios and experiences that would be dangerous or deadly in real life. Coming back to your regular world from a horror movie also reminds you how safe you are and how good you have it.

MMM: What movie would you like to turn into a horror movie? And how would you do it?

Tostevin: I’ve always thought Westerns were fertile ground for horror. I think we saw that with Bone Tomahawk last year. I’d love to see something like The Magnificent Seven or The Seven Samurai done as a horror film — assemble the team of experts, make them have to work as a team, and drop them into a vampire’s nest. Think Alien with six-guns.  


Popular posts from this blog

Russo Bros Wanted to Shoot 'Infinity War' in Cleveland

Imagine Medina standing in for the rolling hills of Wakanda or the steps of the Sanctum Sanctorum leading down to E. 9th. With a little more infrastructure, it may have happened.

Cleveland natives and Avengers: Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo said as much recently during a Q&A after a screening of the film at the Cleveland Cinematheque, adding that they would have loved to bring Infinity War to Cleveland. One of the reasons the brothers couldn’t is because it lacks a modern sound stage suitably for a film its size.

The Russos shot much of Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Cleveland. If the right sound stage was available, they would have kept the film in Northeast Ohio longer.

The directors said the availability of state-of-the-art sound stages was one of the main reasons why nearly 40 feature films are shooting in Georgia. Georgia's Pinewood Atlanta Studios is the second largest purpose-built studio in North America, featuring 18 sound stages rang…

'Walking Dead' star Emily Kinney joins 'Anhedonia' cast

Emily Kinney, perhaps best known for her role as Beth Greene on AMC’s The Walking Dead, is joining Anhedonia, the new indie feature from Cleveland’s Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco.

Kinney got her start on stage, with roles in Spring Awakening and August: Osage County, before transitioning to guest roles on television and a star turn as Emily on Showtime’s The Big C.

Her breakout role would come as Beth Greene, Maggie Greene’s little sister, on The Walking Dead. Kinney became a fan favorite during a series of dramatic episodes in the series’ fourth season when Kinney’s Greene bonded with fellow survivor Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus.

Anhedonia co-stars Breckin Meyer and Giselle Eisenberg.

"To have the opportunity to work with such an amazing actress like Emily is beyond exciting,” says Swinderman. “It's also very exciting for the city and people of northeast Ohio to have three huge TV stars coming to town to work on such a wonderful project.”

Anhedonia tells the tal…

Cleveland indie nabs 'SNL' alum Abby Elliott, TV veteran Breckin Meyer

Abby Elliott and Breckin Meyer are coming to Cleveland. They are set to star in Anhedonia, the new feature from 1031 Films’ Eric Swinderman and Carmen DeFranco. Filming begins May 1 at locations around Northeast Ohio.

Elliott, an alum of Saturday Night Live, is best known for her roles on How I Met Your Mother, Odd Mom Out, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It may not be Elliott’s first time in Cleveland, either. She played Lara in Fun Size, which shot in Cleveland in 2012.

Meyer starred as Jared Franklin on Franklin & Bash and is well known for roles in Road Trip, Clueless and Garfield.

Also joining the cast is Giselle Eisenberg, who stars as Sophia in Life in Pieces, and Cleveland’s own Debra Herzog, who had a supporting part on Outsiders and serves as a producer on Anhedonia.

Other local stars include Bryant Carroll, Allen O’Reilly, Jonathan Chiarle, and Katherine DeBoer. More roles will soon be cast.

Dark subjects, big questionsAnhedonia tells the tale of Casey (Meyer), who mee…