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New Perspectives on Horror

Traditionally low-budget, high-return, Horror has been an independent film industry staple. A panel of experts discuss where Horror is headed, what stories buyers and audiences are looking for, and the opportunities for new narratives and success.

Annick Mahnert, Manager, Acquisitions, Raven Banner Entertainment

Darren Lynn Bousman, Director, “Spiral,” “Death of Me,” “Saw II/III/IV”
Patrick Ewald, CEO, Epic Pictures
Jordan Fields, Vice President of Acquisitions, Shout! Factory
Jasmine Johnson, SVP, Development, Crypt TV


Nov 05 2021


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm




  • Annick Mahnert
    Annick Mahnert
    Manager, Acquisitions, Raven Banner Entertainment

    Born in Geneva, Annick Mahnert studied film production at the NYFA and worked as a production assistant at Roger Corman’s Concorde-New Horizons. Back in Switzerland, she went on to work in distribution and programming at 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Pathé Cinémas and Frenetic Films. Early 2012 she moved to Paris to join the renowned sales agency Celluloid Dreams, handling sales and acquisitions. Since 2013, she is working as a freelance producer, acquisitions consultant and festival programmer and is an expert at the Austrian Film Institute for film funding and at the Zurich Film Foundation for Marketing and Distribution grants. Annick coproduced Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentaries 78/52, Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on the Exorcist and Memory: The Origins of Alien. Her production Huachicolero (The Gasoline Thieves) won the Award for Best New Narrative Director at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2019. Her latest production, The Long Walk, had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival Giornate degli Autori in 2019. Annick Mahnert is a programmer at the Sitges Film Festival, the Director of Programming at Fantastic Fest in Austin and the Executive Director of the Frontières Co-Production Market.

  • Darren Lynn Bousman
    Darren Lynn Bousman
    Director, Spiral, Death of Me, Saw II/III/IV

    Darren Bousman began his career directing commercials and music videos and quickly rose to fame when he was hired to direct SAW II, the sequel to the box office success film SAW. Bousman went on to direct sequels in the franchise: SAW III and SAW IV, with his first three major films garnering global distribution and opening at #1 at the box office three years in a row. To date, Bousman has created over a dozen films that have grossed $500 million in worldwide box office receipts.

    After the SAW films, Bousman went on to direct and produce his passion project, REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA, based on an original stage play which he directed in 2002. This futuristic gothic opera featured an eclectic soundtrack including songs by artists from Jane’s Addiction, Slipknot and Guns & Roses, and earned notoriety by Bousman’s personally touring the film around North America in the vein of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.

    Next Bousman helmed an episode of the NBC horror anthology series FEAR ITSELF written by Steve Niles and then in 2010 finished production on the home invasion thriller MOTHER’S DAY, based on the popular 1980 Troma film of the same name. In 2011, Bousman filmed the religious thriller titled 11-11-11 and immediately after, in 2012 filmed THE BARRENS and THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL.

    In 2014, Bousman directed ABATTOIR, based on an original concept he created and which was developed into a comic book series published by Radical Publishing. Immediately after wrapping ABATTOIR, Bousman moved to Japan to produce the TV Show “Crow’s Blood” for Hulu Japan featuring the pop sensation AKB48.

    In 2016, Bousman, with long time collaborator Clint Sears, opened the Immersive project THE TENSION EXPERIENCE which spanned almost ten months and featured a multi-platform fractured narrative.

    Upon completing THE TENSION EXPERIENCE, Bousman directed the thriller ST. AGATHA.

    In 2018, Darren helmed the Maggie Q thriller DEATH OF ME that filmed on location in Thailand.

    In 2019 Bousman returned to the SAW universe directing SPIRAL starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson.

  • Jasmine Johnson
    Jasmine Johnson
    SVP, Development, Crypt TV

    Jasmine Johnson originally hails from Bowie, Maryland. She developed a love of character-based storytelling by overdosing on dramatic YA novels in her youth. She attended Temple University where she received her B.A. in Film and Media Arts. After graduation, Johnson moved to Los Angeles where she cut her teeth in talent management, working at various companies including Anonymous Content. She transitioned to development at Gulfstream Pictures, helping shape a diverse slate of film and television projects across genres. She now serves as Crypt TV’s SVP of Development and is a Co-Executive Producer on Peacock’s THE GIRL IN THE WOODS (based on the Crypt TV short of the same name). She’s spoken at Los Angeles Comic Con, New York Comic Con and RTX in Austin, TX. Collectively her projects have garnered over 200 million views across platforms.

  • Jordan Fields
    Jordan Fields
    Vice President of Acquisitions, Shout! Factory

    Jordan Fields joined Shout! Factory in 2007 and currently heads all acquisition efforts for Shout! Factory, Shout Factory TV and their horror imprint Scream Factory. He also oversees original feature development for Shout! Studios. Recent Shout! acquisitions include Language Lessons, the SXSW Audience Award winner from Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales. Fields recently EP’d Shout’s original western, Old Henry, starring Tim Blake Nelson, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, as well as Shout’s remake of Roger Corman’s Syfy hit Slumber Party Massacre. Prior to Shout! Factory, Jordan was the acquisitions manager for Rhino Entertainment, where, among other properties, he oversaw the home video releases of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Jordan earned his Bachelor of Science in Film and Television from Northwestern University.

  • Patrick Ewald
    Patrick Ewald
    CEO, Epic Pictures

    Since its inception in 2007, Patrick Ewald has been the CEO of Epic Pictures Group, Inc. a leading independent studio with a focus on original and visionary genre content. His career in the film business spans over 20 years as a senior level executive as well as involved in the development, financing, and producing of numerous independent films. A few of these are: “TURBO KID,” “THE LODGERS,” “WHO GETS THE DOG?” “EXTRA ORDINARY,” “SEA FEVER,” and “THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT.”

    Patrick also heads DreadCentral.Com, the world’s most popular horror website which releases over 20 films a year under its Dread distribution label. In 2019, the company launched DreadXP.com, which focuses on horror-themed video games, podcasts, streaming entertainment, and publishes video game under its DreadX label.

    Previously, he was the founder of Rogue Entertainment, a development and production company that was acquired by Universal.

    A transplanted New Yorker, with an appreciation for all good things both west and east coast, Patrick is a current IFTA Board Member a three-time Saturn Award winner, and a member of the Producers Guild of America. Most important is his family – his wife, Sarah, three daughters, Olivia (9), Alexandra (6), and Ella (4), and their lovable rescue pit bull, Austin.