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Meet the Filmmaker: Steven Fox, “Out Spot!”

EFP: Why did you become a filmmaker?

SF: I became a filmmaker because at the time I was doing a lot of theatre and wanted to branch out and tell a different kind of story that could be more visceral, and I ended up falling in love with the musicality of the camera in concert with the performers. 

EFP: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

SF: You are going to see Out Spot! which is a short adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” told from the point of view of Lady Macbeth as she slips deeper and deeper into the nightmare state of her “out, damned spot” sequence. It has screen at the Horsetooth International Film Festival in the fall of 2020 as well as the Shakespeare Shorts Film Festival in 2019 where it won its category of best short film inspired by a Shakespeare play and was review by Sir Kenneth Branagh “This is a really confident, kinetic pocket-epic. The images are bold, the colour palette is striking. The relish for a gothic psychology underlying this murderous nightmare is wonderfully explored. It’s another visually striking, beautifully integrated account in miniature, of the play’s ferocious energy. Performances of urgent intensity light up the film like the garish grab of the spectacular exteriors. A Shakespeare short that catches you by the throat and does not let go.”

EFP: What else are you working on?

SF: On October 22nd, 2021 a film I have produced, another “Macbeth” inspired film, calle Peter Anthony’s: Sleep No More will have its world premiere at the Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Collins, CO at 7pm. The film began as a Front Range Community College stageplay production of “Macbeth” that was shutdown by COVID-19 just two weeks from opening. We then transformed the production into a feature film that summer. I have also completed a short film entitled Hecate that is a graphic-novel-like examination of the story of “Macbeth” told through the perspective of the witch goddess Hecate.

EFP: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

SF: I am clearly fascinated by the works of William Shakespeare, and though I make films and content around other subjects, I am great influenced by those masterpieces.

EFP: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

SF: stevenfox.net and factorfivefilms.com

EFP: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

SF: I am very grateful this organization exists and gives an avenue for new and unknown voices to be heard and their films to be seen.

Out Spot! will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, October 21st, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Michael Bliss, “2020 Double Feature V and Lazarus”

EFP: Why did you become a filmmaker?

MB: I started making films at the age of 15 and on my 16th birthday I wrote in my journal that I want to be a director/filmmaker and to always be doing video productions. Through the years I have made that dream a reality by directing many of my own films and working at ABC, FOX, and ESPN, A couple of highlights of my life was working with Robert Rodriquez on the film “The Faculty” and working at an art gallery helping frame artwork for Richard Linklater, and Quentin Tarantino. These three filmmakers have been an inspiration and a big influence in my independent filmmaking career.

EFP: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

MB: I will be screening a couple short films that I created during the pandemic. This is a premiere screening.

V 2020 I used some footage from the 2019 Zombie Crawl I run in Colorado Springs and footage from the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall which was all boarded up with no human activity during this crazy time.

Lazarus 2020 uses some Denver footage I shot during the pandemic when everything was shut down. On Easter 2020, I was watching Martin Scorsese’s “The Last temptation of Christ” and saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead and that is when the Lazarus character was born for this film. This video was very strange to shoot because it was the first time I left my house in quite a while. We had the stay at home order going on and I was dealing with a lot of fear and anxiety. Making Lazarus 2020 helped me calm down and be creative. Art is very healing. I reached out to Swara Nanda to help me with the soundtrack and I was inspired by Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor) 2020 Pandemic Album Ghosts V-VI
so she helped and composed the soundtrack for this film.

EFP: What else are you working on?

MB: Old School Musical “The Worst Musical Ever” I am having so much fun going back to the beginning of making films. Bringing back the passion of filmmaking. Not worrying about what others think because it is the worst musical ever. LOL!!! No expectations just having a blast!!!

EFP: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

MB: I have dressed up as a clown since I was a little kid. Clown will make an appearance in Old School Musical.

EFP: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

MB: Blissfest333.com, Michael Bliss on Facebook

EFP: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

MB: I love and miss Patrick Sheridan. I am so grateful for everybody involved with EFP. Thank you for The Bug Theatre and all the wonderful people that help run EFP. Thank you so much for supporting our film and art commUNITY.

2020 Double Feature V and Lazarus will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, October 21st, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Andrew Pichot, “Horsing Around”

EFP: Why did you become a filmmaker?

AP: I’ve always had a general interest in movies. Growing up I loved watching them but we almost never went to the theater so I was limited to what we owned, or what my friends had. It wasn’t until I moved to Colorado in 2009 and started working at AMC that my movie-watching experience widened dramatically. I watch so many movies now that I’m basically “the movie guy” to a lot of my friends and family. Really getting into indie and foreign films got me to appreciate the actual filmmaking side and gave me a strong desire to get into the industry someday. The movie I would cite as the clicking point was David Lowery’s ‘A Ghost Story.’ I was blown away by how much he was able to do with so little. I’ve done PA work and camerawork on other people’s projects but now that I’ve written and directed my own short I think I know where my goals lie.

EFP: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

AP: EFP is going to experience a buddy film like no other. The film has screened twice at The Bug as part of the Denver 48 Hour Film Project. We’ve had great reception at both screenings and were nominated for best film and won an award for best song. This film, ‘Horsing Around,’ is also available on Youtube on the Mooger Entertainment page.

EFP: What else are you working on?

AP: I have small bits of ideas floating around but nothing tangible at the moment. I’m currently just enjoying the positive reception this film has received so far but now that I’ve experienced the filmmaking process I’m eager to get back to work.

EFP: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

AP: One weird thing about me in regards to movies; I don’t want to go into specifics but if I told you the long list of “classics” and “must-sees” that I haven’t watched yet (despite owning a lot of them) you would be flabbergasted!

EFP: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

AP: You can find Mooger Entertainment on Facebook. I don’t post very often but might change that if there’s traction. I also stream games sometimes on Twitch so there’s updates on that there too. If you want to see what I’m up to in general you can follow me on Twitter @bogardeth

EFP: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

AP: This will be my first time attending EFP but it won’t be my last. I appreciate them showing my film but I’ve been wanting to attend anyway, especially after going to the awesome Bug for the first time through the 48. I’m really glad there’s a resource for local filmmakers to get their films seen on a big screen with a crowd. What a thrill!

Horsing Around will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, October 21st, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Susan Lyles, “The Son of Spies and Whispers”

EFP: Why did you become a filmmaker? 

SL: I work mostly in the medium of live theatre and wanted to expand my story telling skills and audience reach.

EFP: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?  

SL: Son of Spies and Whispers by Rebecca Gorman O’Neill. We originally created this film for the London 48 hour film project and it screened online and in London( this was our second and we just completed our third this past September) because doing a 48 in the same city wasn’t enough of a challenge 😉 There are some thoughts to expand this into a feature script and really getting to know these people.

EFP: What else are you working on?

SL: Currently waiting to see where our new London 48 hour piece –B.O.B lands, we may tweak it and send it out on the festival circuit.  Then getting ready for the Four Points Film Challenge in November.

EFP: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

SL: One weird thing…I keep the ashes of my dogs on a shelf in the bathroom, because when they were alive they would always follow me there, maybe more sentimental than weird.

EFP: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

SL: We should probably get a website, but for now https://www.facebook.com/Ruff-Ruff-Dog-Films-321158691987930

EFP: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

SL: I think it’s wonderful that this platform is here to share Colorado filmmakers work with audiences.

The Son of Spies and Whispers! will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, October 21st, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmakers: Tyler Holme & Ben Fout, “Spike”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
Ben: To make short films. I idolized the filmmakers of my early days in screening committees, youth juries, and filmmaker showcases at Aspen Shorts Fest. Being so involved with shorts at an early age still gives me my drive today.

Tyler: My dad bought me my first video camera for Christmas when I was just ten years old, and I’ve felt obligated ever since.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere, and what are your plans for it?
Tyler: Our short film, Spike, is a Terrance Malick film for dogs about a pup, his human, and that jerk next door.

The film has surprisingly screened in festivals both nationally and abroad. It even won a couple of awards along the way, including the Audience Choice Award at the excellent Colorado Short Circuit Film Festival in Colorado Springs.

This is one of the last live screenings we have scheduled for the film. So we shall see where it ends up next.

Q: What else are you working on?
Ben: I am co-owner of a member-owned production studio called Truce.Media where our goal is to create a member-owned movie studio in Denver Colorado where we can all make content we own to create infrastructure to bring movies and TV back to Denver. So, I’m making content every day, most of it short!

Tyler: I just wrote and published a satire book called Beet Life: A Health & Lifestyle Guide To Show Your Life Who’s Boss By: Your Girl @Beets_By_Beth: Beth Gethard, which is currently available for purchase at booksbybeetsbybeth.com.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
Ben: I always say I went to film-making school, not just film school. I love to make things and my films always have things I’ve made in them.

Tyler: One weird thing about me and my movies? I actually still like some of them.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
B&T: You can check out our work at: https://www.thebande.co
You can check out some of Tyler’s other work here: https://www.tylerholme.com/
You can check out Ben’s other production company here: https://truce.media/
You can buy Tyler’s new (first) book here: https://booksbybeetsbybeth.com/

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
B&T: We are just extremely grateful to get the chance to screen our film along with all of these other excellent Colorado filmmakers. Thank you!

Spike will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, September 16th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Josh Berkowitz, “Shame, Compassion and Defence”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
JB: I became a filmmaker because of John Cassavetes and David Lynch but that was much later on. I have been making films with the best friends I have had my whole life and still make films with these same people. I decided at a certain point somewhere in adolescence that being weird was way more important than being cool until I began to influence people through my films and that being weird was cooler than anything.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
JB: I made Shame, Compassion and Defence in my junior year of college when I was going through a really painful revelation of a childhood trauma and this vision came flying out of me and has snuck its way into other peoples psyche through its music and unexplainable nostalgic haunting quality. It has screened during a retrospective of my film work in 2017.

Q: What else are you working on?
JB: I am currently working on a play called The Family Rules, The Family Jewels, a psychodrama in three acts which is about all taking traumatic memories and turning them into song, dance and slapstick.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
JB: I always write about real things and the realer I get the less real it seems. I guess that is what I love most about life, the absurd and the surreal. I believe that magic comes from manure.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
JB: all inquires can be sent to joshberk11@gmail.com

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
JB: Super grateful that they appreciated my wackiness and essence.

Shame, Compassion and Defence will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, September 16th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Lindsay Morrison, “Gyre”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
LM: I was a college art & design student when I started making films. I had gotten a taste of it earlier on through class projects, but when I met a fellow music-video-lover who wanted to team up with me to make music videos, I finally got a chance to start creating my own vision — and boy, was it a rush! I started with music videos and moved onto short films within a couple years. Creating moving images was a feeling for me like no other, and I knew I needed to keep going. So after receiving a BFA in art & design from Cal Poly SLO, I decided to go to film school to earn an MFA in film production from USC School of Cinematic Arts. And the rest is history! I still get a rush from filmmaking and from screening my films every single time; it never, ever gets old.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
LM: You will be seeing Gyre (2011), which was my USC graduate thesis film. The first public screening was in September 2011 on the USC campus, so this will actually be the 10th Anniversary screening for the film. It went on to play at over 10 film festivals in 2012-2013, including FRAMELINE 36, San Francisco’s International LGBT Film Festival. It also won Best Screenplay in the Experimental Film category at the Women’s Independent Film Festival in Los Angeles. 10 years later, it remains one of my favorites and I am so excited to see it on the big screen once more.

Q: What else are you working on?
LM: Back in 2018 I moved to Denver and started WOLF LUV FILMS with Gyre’s editor (and now my husband), Michael La Breche. We’ve mainly been in development mode for the past year and a half due to Covid, but we’re back in production now on a series of bizarre/raunchy stop-motion shorts for our Youtube channel. The series is called Let’s Get Weird and we’re planning to drop it sometime in the fall. We’re also starting work on a music video for local band, No Gossip in Braille.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
LM: One weird thing about Gyre is that I didn’t really realize I was making a horror film when I made it. I was calling it a “surreal relationship drama” or sometimes “experimental.” I didn’t fully clock that it was psychological horror until it got programmed in a horror shorts set at aGLIFF in Austin. Looking back I wish that I had submitted it to a few horror film festivals instead of only prestige festivals and LGBT festivals.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
LM: Go check out WOLF LUV FILMS on instagram (@wolfluvfilms) and youtube (https://bit.ly/2Yjd6jQ). You can also check out my director portfolio site at lindsaymorrison.com

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
LM: As always, I am grateful for EFP. I love the chance to see work from local filmmakers and have the opportunity to share my own as well. It’s been a great community to find here in Denver, and I look forward to being a part of it for years to come.

Gyre will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, September 16th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: John Aden, “Against Sand”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
JA: A school friend showed me his claymation of a dinosaur eating a man’s head and then pooping. I said to myself, “That’s what I want to do!” I went home and used my father’s home video camera (relatively new technology at the time that cost him $3,000) to make my own claymation – of a dinosaur eating a man’s head and then pooping.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
JA: On the soon-to-be-lost island of Atlantis, citizens are protesting an unpopular government mandate. Do sandbags mean safety or a loss of freedom? Find out in this COVID-themed toon by Shocking Beyond Belief Films.

Q: What else are you working on?
JA: We at Shocking Beyond Belief Films are in pre-production for the pilot of Anomaly, a TV show of Steampunk meets The Love Boat meets Star Trek.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
JA: We try to make sensational films with a political theme. Here Come the Brides!, for instance, was gay marriage meets Reefer Madness. It is important for us to be able to be relevant in the day’s political climate.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
JA: shockingbeyondbelief.com

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
JA: We love screening our projects at EFP and truly appreciate the support it gives to local filmmakers. We also have our premieres at the Bug.

Against Sand will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, September 16th, 2021 at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Eddie Portoghese, “Francine”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?

EP: Since I was young I have had an affinity for film and always wanted to be part of the movie magic.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

EP: This is a neo-noir piece of a longer script. It is a sort of cryptic short with some self-interpretation involved. It will make its premiere at the BUG! I am currently shopping it around to film festivals.

Q: What else are you working on?

EP: I am stunt coordinating a few upcoming projects for others

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

EP: I typically start each of my films with a quote!

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

EP: https://vimeo.com/user5342709

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

EP: Glad you’re back…we missed you!

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Meet the Filmmaker: Zach Eastman, “Leather Brown”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?

ZE: Growing up alone, films were my best and most loyal companions. The stories I would see unfold would move and thrill me and I wanted to try my hand at it. I thought at first I’d want to be an actor, but as I learned more about directing and writing, my ambitions trended towards the behind the scenes. Ultimately, it has been the desire to tell stories I want to tell from my own lens that has kept me at it.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?

ZE: You will be seeing an effort pit together by an amazing crew amid the pandemic last year. While adhering to all the Covid Protocols, our team put together a film because we were still itching to tell stories. This one, written by Haydn Winston, is a film that allowed me to address certain emotions I have felt in regards to relationships and how we operate as humans at a crossroads. Having Haydn and the always amazing Risa Scott in front of the camera to tell that story is a delight to have witnessed. In stories of two parting ways, Leather Brown is one that tells it as its aesthetic shows, in black and white. It debuted online last year and has been featured on ThinkShorts, a wonderful company that has been a delight to collaborate with.

Q: What else are you working on?

ZE: I am a weekly podcaster for two shows. First is Reel Nerds Podcast, where I and my friends chat about a featured new release and everything else in movie land. My second is Yesteryear Ballyhoo Revue, where I chat with a guest each week about the early days of cinema and talk about the historical context and lessons the films have to teach.
I am also currently developing two feature films, another short film, and am on post on a short film I shot this year with much of the same crew as Leather Brown. It’s called Heavy Hangs the Sky, and it is a very warm piece that I think the world needs amidst much of the sadness.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?

ZE: I have a hard time winding into happy endings. My films tend to, as I’ve noticed, end on the hint of hope but shrouded in a bit more gloomy and or dark realm. On the surface, they seem to be downers, but if you look hard there is hope.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?

ZE: You can check me out on my two podcasts: ReelNerdsPodcast.com and BallyhooRevuePodcast.com. I am working on creating a site for my film work, but until then you can find my works here:

Twombley: https://youtu.be/E3E_ClLM0iE

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

ZE: I am delighted to be back here and other filmmakers need to submit to this wonderful program. You will have an amazing time, learn from other filmmakers, and embrace your cinematic vision on a big screen, which even in a post covid world is of the utmost value and spectacle. Welcome back EFP!