Modern Horror: The Genre and What Scares Us Evolve
While low-budget, high-return Horror films have long been an independent industry staple, the genre continues to evolve for more sophisticated audiences. Industry experts discuss a new breed of elevated genre films that are drawing audiences and commercial and arthouse production and sales companies into the game.
Patrick Ewald, CEO, Epic Pictures
Cecilia Brush, Sales Manager, Raven Banner Entertainment
Bishal Dutta, Writer/Director/Producer, Independent
Steven C. Miller, Writer/Director & CEO, Through The Heart
Paul Neinstein, Co-CEO, Project X Entertainment
Patrick EwaldCEO, Epic Pictures
Patrick Ewald is an American financier and producer who is known for his work in the independent film and video game industries. He is the owner and CEO of Epic Pictures Group, a film and video game production and distribution company that focuses on genre films. His recent film credits include The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot, Satanic Hispanics, The Cellar, and The Lake. His recent video game credits include Amanda the Adventurer, The Mortuary Assistant, My Friendly Neighborhood, and Creepshow which is currently in development with AMC Networks/Shudder.
In 2017, Patrick via Epic Pictures acquired the world’s most popular horror news website, Dread Central, and launched its genre film label, Dread, followed by its AVOD channel, DreadTV. In 2019, Epic Pictures started the horror gaming site, DreadXP, with a focus on editorial, reviews, podcasts, and original streaming content. In 2020, DreadXP launched a video game development and publishing division which finances, produces, and publishes 6-8 games a year with some of the most innovative talent in the independent gaming space.
You might find Patrick at any of the former, but more likely you’ll find him at home with his wife and three daughters, curled up on the couch engrossed in a film with their very lovable pit bull rescue, Austin. A New York City native, Mr. Ewald is a three-time Saturn Award winner, former board member of the International Film and Television Alliance (IFTA), and a member of the Producers Guild of America. He graduated with honors from Duke University with a degree in film studies.
Bishal DuttaWriter/Director/Producer, Independent
Bishal Dutta is an award-winning Writer/Director. His directorial work includes short films, digital series, music videos and broadcast commercials. His short film, LIFE IN COLOR, was an official selection at the American Pavilion’s Emerging Filmmaker Showcase at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. His films have been honored at nearly two dozen film festivals around the world, including those in Italy, Austria and France. Bishal has received six Best Director awards for his narrative and documentary work. Bishal wrote and directed his first feature film for QC Entertainment and Neon, the producers behind hits like PARASITE, GET OUT, US and BLACKKKLANSMAN. His film, IT LIVES INSIDE, was released theatrically worldwide on Sept. 22nd, 2023.
Steven C. MillerWriter/Director & CEO, Through the Heart
Steven C. Miller is an American screenwriter, editor, and director. His feature film debut, Automaton Transfusion, became an instant horror cult classic and catapulted his career into Hollywood. He directed the remake of Silent Night, Deadly Night in 2012, then shifted from horror to action where he directed 5 films in the span of 6 years for Lionsgate. He recently stepped back into horror with Paramounts, Margaux, and his latest upcoming werewolf film, Year 2. He has directed films starring notable actors such as Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Frank Grillo, Aaron Eckhart, Giancarlo Esposito, and Dave Bautista.
Paul NeinsteinCo-CEO, Project X Entertainment
Paul Neinstein is Co-Chief Executive Officer of Project X Entertainment. Prior to Project X, Paul was Chief Operating Officer of RatPac Entertainment, where he oversaw all corporate, business, legal, financial and day-to-day operations of the company including the repurchase by Warner Bros. of a 75-picture library in which RatPac invested in excess of $1.2b in production funding. Paul also spearheaded RatPac’s theatrical, documentary and television content strategy. Prior to RatPac, Paul was Executive Vice President in Charge of Business Affairs for Paramount Pictures where he structured, negotiated and administered slate financing and worldwide distribution agreements as well as acquisition and major talent agreements for Paramount’s live action, animated and micro-budget theatrical motion pictures.
Prior to Paramount, Paul was a partner in and oversaw all business and corporate operations of Spyglass Entertainment Group. Paul negotiated all distribution, acquisition and talent agreements and handled Spyglass’ studio relationships including the company’s non-exclusive first-look production and co-financing arrangement with Columbia Pictures as well as the company’s ongoing co-financing partnerships with The Walt Disney Company, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks. Prior to Spyglass, Paul worked as a theatrical business affairs attorney for DreamWorks SKG. Paul began his career as a transactional entertainment associate at Hill, Wynne, Troop and Meisinger.
Paul is a member of the Executive Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and is Executive Vice President of the Board of Trustees of deToledo High School. Paul earned his JD from Loyola Law School, where he was a staff writer and business editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Journal, and his B.A. in Psychology from UCLA.
Cecilia BrushSales Manager, Raven Banner Entertainment
Cecilia Brush is a dynamic and accomplished executive in the Film Sales Industry, renowned for her exceptional leadership skills, multilingual proficiency, and outstanding achievements within the realm of independent film sales & production.
Brush previously held the role of Head of Sales & Acquisitions for OneTwoThree Media, where her visionary directorship elevated the company to new heights. Her keen negotiation skills and unwavering dedication to her craft allowed the company to secure a vast array of promising projects, fostering lasting partnerships and bringing unique, thought-provoking content to audiences worldwide.
Subsequently, Cecilia took on the role of Sales Manager for Raven Banner Entertainment, where she leads the charge in expanding the company’s market presence and enhancing its reputation as a major player in the global film sales arena.