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Shudder Selects 11 Emerging Horror Filmmakers for Inaugural Lab

AMC Networks-backed horror streaming service will takes step to support development of new horror filmmakers.

Shudder/Beck Media

There are countless programs that support emerging filmmakers in their development and now up-and-coming horror directors have one of their own.  Shudder, a streaming service backed by AMC Networks that specializes in horror content, has just announced the first 11 participants of their inaugural Shudder Labs.  Selected from a pool of over 300 applicants, directors are taking part in a week long workshop designed to develop, add and hone their skills as they get ready to take the next step in their careers working in the genre.

“Like a vampire, I feed off of the enthusiasm of young talent; it is invigorating to encounter new voices in the horror genre and to find out what motivates young minds to explore the art of the macabre,” said director and Master-in-Residence Larry Fessenden.

Throughout the course of the program, the fellows will be able to learn from and work with a team of Masters-in-Residence, headed by Shudder curator Sam Zimmerman, Fessenden, writer Clay McLeod Chapman and AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan. The program’s benefits, however, aren’t contained to the program alone. After the filmmakers have left the lab, they will each receive $5000 in grants and be mentored by a Master-in-Residence for an additional year.

Shudder Labs is currently running from June 13th to June 18th at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York.

The filmmakers, and their projects, of the first ever Shudder Labs are:

“As the Dust Settles,” Mike Olenick
An asteroid carrying the seeds of alien life crashes down in the neighborhood where a young couple is buying a house from a dishonest realtor. When the couple settles into their new home, they unpack a secret that will change the lives of everyone in the neighborhood: the truth about what happened to the home’s previous owner.”Mike Olenick focuses on forbidden desire, reproduction, transformation, and outer space in his projects. Mike’s films have streamed on MUBI, aired on Dutch television, and won awards at the Slamdance Film Festival, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival. He studied photography at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and has edited films and videos with Guy Maddin, the Quay Brothers, Kelly Reichardt, Sadie Benning, and Jennifer Reeder.”“Beyond the Darkness,” Shane Wheeler
A modern sorcerer must save his friends from a dark dimension, but to succeed he must overcome his own suicidal depression.

“Trained as a biologist, Shane Wheeler wrote his first screenplay while working on a fishing boat in the Bering Sea. Since then, he’s written, directed, and produced a number of award-winning shorts, as well as features Captive of a Death Mask (2012) & Stabbing with Frank (2016). Wheeler is a filmmaker raised in Brownstown, Michigan.”

“Black Bats,” Rick Spears
Feeling cast out from society, two teens begin a relationship under the belief that they’re transforming into monsters. What begins as a fantasy ends with horrific consequences as they both lose touch with reality.

“Rick Spears is mostly known for his comic book writing, having published eleven graphic novels and numerous comics including Teenager from Mars and Dead West. Rick has also written and directed a handful of award-winning short films. BLACK BATS will be his first feature.”

“In the Night,” Joshua Erkman
A 24-year-old running from his past starts a new job picking up the dead for a mortuary and begins to suspect powerful sinister forces are closing in on him.

“Joshua Erkman is a Los Angeles based filmmaker, a USC graduate, and drummer for LA punk band LAMPS.”

“Lovespell,” Courtney and Hillary Andujar
A teenage girl in Hawaii casts a dark spell that unlocks something sinister within herself.

“Courtney and Hillary Andujar are identical twins who grew up at punk shows and in diners in Texas. Courtney is a writer and designer who has collaborated with artists and activists such as Yoko Ono, Paul Chan, and Julian Assange. Hillary is an art director who has worked internationally with Tim Burton, David Lynch, and The Wachowskis.”

“Polybius,” Hunter Stephenson
It’s the summer of 1984 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The only thing booming louder than the arcades is the aircraft over Fort Bragg. A hip babysitter named Tiffany is determined to show the brothers Carmack the parent-free weekend of their lives. But her reality is bleeped when the younger brother, a vidiot ‘sperger named Palmer, is snatched after encountering a pylon-like arcade cabinet. Joined by a skeleton crüe, it’s up to Tiffany to kick ass, chew bubblegum and fore’s destroy this trippy gamer-gateway to hell.

“Hunter Stephenson is a Scottish punk. He is also a writer/producer based east of the Rockies. His recent Noisey doc-series Hot Sugar’s Cold World received the Honorable Mention at Hot Docs 2015, and was executive produced by David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, and Danny McBride.”

“The Eyes,” Will Forbes
In 1970’s Upstate New York, there is a local legend of The Eyes, a spirit in the woods of the Catskill Mountains that consumes the souls of the lost and weary. When the favorite uncle of three local kids dies suddenly and under mysterious circumstances at the edge of those woods, the kids set out on a mission to discover the horrifying truth.

“Will Forbes has been composing and producing music for visual media for nearly a decade, until he realized the best way to achieve his goal of scoring horror films was to start making them himself. Originally from Upstate New York, he currently lives in Inglewood, CA with a cat and a tortoise.”

“The Sound of Darkness,” Melody Cooper
A blind musician and a deaf sculptor are haunted by a woman only they can see and hear, who leads them to take on an epic battle against terrifying legacy of racial violence and evil.

“Melody Cooper is a screenwriter, director and producer of Horror and Afrofuturism, and Winner of the 2016 Women in Cinema International Screenplay Competition with her horror feature MONSTROUS, which also won Third Place at Slamdance. She is directing the supernatural thriller THE SOUND OF DARKNESS this summer.”

“Un-Seen,” Lucy Cruell
Some things once seen, cannot be unseen.

“Lucy Cruell is a graduate with honors from Duke University and Harvard Law School. Lucy has also been a published short story author, film critic for multiple publications, and entrepreneur. Her screenplays and pilots have won over three dozen awards and festivals including Shriekfest. She is now a full time writer, director, and starving artist.”

“What Happens Next Will Scare You,” Chris LaMartina
On the verge of losing their jobs, a group of click-bait journalists struggle to compile their scariest viral videos for a Halloween listicle, but when a cursed entry brings malevolent forces into their reality, our social media junkies must figure out they’re sharing harmful content before they become victims of their own monsters.
“Chris LaMartina is a Baltimore filmmaker and has been delivering high concepts on low budgets, blending horror and comedy with such films as “Call Girl of Cthulhu” and “WNUF Halloween Special” since 2007. With a curious knack for finding humor in the weird, LaMartina’s films have been critically acclaimed-playing film festivals across the globe, and garnering coverage by NPR, the New York Times, and MTV.”

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