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Columbus Filmmaker Jason Tostevin Named Most Influential

Hope Madden Hope Madden Columbus Filmmaker Jason Tostevin Named Most InfluentialJason Tostevin at the Nightmares Film Festival.
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Columbus is fast becoming a fertile landscape for film. You can see it in Schwarzenegger’s locally set Aftermath, opening this weekend. This year’s Columbus International Film Festival will focus its lineup on Ohio themes, and it turns out that one of the most important filmmakers in the business calls CBUS home.

Cinema Runner, the non-genre offshoot of horror’s prominent webzine Bloody Disgusting, named local filmmaker Jason Tostevin to its list of Indie Horror’s Secret Seven.

According to the website, this group includes the most influential horror leaders you’ve never heard of.

“These seven leaders behind some of the most influential work of the decade have been quietly determining the direction of independent horror,” the site declares.

Cinema Runner polled two dozen horror filmmakers, fans, festivals and critics to determine their seven influencers. They deemed Tostevin, who’s directed six award-winning shorts with his Hands Off Productions, the most influential shorts filmmaker.

Was Tostevin surprised?

“C’mon,” he says. “It never dawned on me that anyone was even paying any attention, let alone they might think I’m influential.”

Apparently, people were paying attention. Cinema Runner congratulates Tostevin and his Hands-Off team – Randall Greenland, Mike McNeese, Brant Jones and Torin Scott – on “changing the face of indie horror shorts and elevating horror expectations.”

But Tostevin’s cinematic output wasn’t the only reason he was honored. According to the article, those polled considered the film festival veteran, “a kind of indie prophet.”

“I think what I try to do is put out into the world a ‘safety to be honest’ forcefield that other people can come into,” Tostevin said. “That’s the difference I try to make, because I think it’s really scary out there, and people don’t know who they can trust.”

He said his time as a filmmaker touring the festival circuit helped him bring the idea of horror and community full circle. As Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff at Gateway Film Center, Tostevin collaborated last year with GFC President and Programmer Chris Hamel on their first annual Nightmares Film Festival.

“I think I’ve always been motivated by creating alignment and building communities,” he said. “When people align with something bigger, the world gets easier. And it’s a way for me to get better, too.”

“A real community is forming,” he said. “People know each other and want to work together. I just want to help make sure that happens, and people aren’t left behind.”

He isn’t done. Hands-Off is kicking around ideas for their next film – perhaps a feature – and the second installment of Nightmares is scheduled for the weekend of October 19.

“I’m thrilled with what we’ve done, but there’s just so much more to do,” Tostevin said. “I feel like we need to pick up the pace and make even more things, get even more people together, and find new ways to get indie films to audiences.”

Read more from Hope at MADDWOLF and listen to her horror movie podcast FRIGHT CLUB.

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