CBUS Filmmaker Releasing Horror Anthology
In time for the holiday shopping season—no, the other holiday shopping season—is a Halloween-ready anthology of horror short films collected by local filmmaker and film festival organizer Jason Tostevin.
Hellarious, distributed by Film Spawn and available for pre-order now, contains seven shorts hand chosen by Tostevin, whose appreciation for short subject filmmaking has always impressed.
Hope Madden: One of the elements of Nightmares Film Festival I love the most – I tell everyone I can – is the amazing collection of short films you assemble. And one of the reasons I think people should see them is because they are so hard to find outside of festivals. Tell me about your love of shorts and how you manage to find such great short films.
Jason Tostevin: Thanks. I think Nightmares presents such strong short film programs because it’s a form we love. I genuinely love it. Some people think of shorts as a purgatory before you get to make “real” feature-length movies. I see them as their own, unique style of storytelling. Some of the most interesting work happening in independent film is in shorts.
Putting together a great program is one part your editorial filter and one part your reach with filmmakers. You have to have both. An eye for terrific films applied to a shallow pool won’t do you much good. And a generic take from a big pool is boring. We work very hard, year-round, to make Nightmares a place that creates opportunities for filmmakers, so it’s valuable to be here. That creates a great pool. And we apply our unique filter, which we shorthand as “better horror,” to choose the ones we believe will surprise audiences, stick with them and push the envelope for them.
HM: Why is it so tough for horror fans to find great short films outside of festivals?
JT: There just continues to be almost no paying market for short films. And with no financial incentive to distribute and market them to audiences, no one’s really in that business. So they play in festivals, where audiences are looking for them. Afterward, they don’t have many options. Most end up shelved, or on YouTube.
I think the lack of demand on the consumer side is because, in the U.S., we’ve lost the skill of watching shorts. Occasionally you see a Disney short ahead of one of their new films, but single-reel stories used to be commonplace. And since we’re out of practice, when we see one, it maybe doesn’t automatically connect. We need to retrain ourselves to watch them. We’re missing out on so much great stuff!
HM: How did you collect these particular shorts?
JT: I was hunting for horror comedies that had really blown the doors off at festivals around the world. There are always a couple, every year, that win everywhere they go, and audiences tell their friends about them: “You have to see this movie!” But of course, unless it comes to a festival near them, they can’t. Until now.
HM: What’s so great about them?
JT: First, they’re well made, well produced, outlandish and surprising. They also all have unforgettable characters, which seems to be a hallmark of great horror comedy. And while some are gory and some are gross-outs, they’re all genuinely hilarious.
HM: Why create Hellarious?
JT: This is both a love letter to the great filmmakers on the festival circuit, and an all-in experiment to connect audiences directly with the films they might miss otherwise. The reception has been super positive. The reviews are enthusiastic. But underlying everything is the hope that we’ll get to do this again, with other shorts from other filmmakers. And, again, pretty much the sole determiner of whether there’s another collection like this is, do enough people click “purchase”?
I think the movie is a lot of fun. This is the perfect time of year for it. So I hope people get a copy and watch with friends and have a ball. They can buy it knowing that they’re going to be surprised and enjoy themselves, and at the same time, they’re encouraging these filmmakers to keep going, and giving them a platform for their work. It’s a pretty great difference to make in the world for a $20 bill.
Lunch Ladies (J.M. Logan)
Horrific (Robert Boocheck)
Death Metal (Chris McInroy)
Born Again (Jason Tostevin)
‘Til Death (Jason Tostevin)
Killer Kart (James Feeney)
Bitten (Sarah K. Reimers)
Preorder the BluRay HERE.