It’s true; I hate waiting for shit to happen. I’ve sort of made a name for myself for being the guy that doesn’t wait for things to happen and creating my own career. I was fortunate enough to have some success with a unique (at the time) web series/feature film called The Bannen Way, which I co-created and starred in for Sony’s Crackle.com. I developed the project with Jesse Warren, writing every day for six months and producing two five-minute episodes. Three years later we had produced and launched the show on Crackle and it was distributed worldwide via VOD, Amazon, iTunes and DVD. So far… so good right?
THE BANNEN WAY: (Center) Mark Gantt as Neal Bannen
But the journey has only just begun really. That project took up three years of my life, we worked tirelessly, 24/7 and put our hearts and souls into it. When we were finished, the age-old question kept popping up from everyone, “What’s next?” – What’s next??? We just finished this insane project, under budget, on time and with pretty good success. Wasn’t that enough? I was really thinking that, I was taking it so personal that people wanted to know what I was doing next. I was burnt out and excited at the same time.
What happened – What happened is I slipped back into the old thinking. The idea that someday, someone with some clout in Tinsel Town would ‘discover me.’ I really thought that with the success of Bannen I’d have no problem getting that lead role in a TV series or great role in an indie feature that goes to Sundance or Tribeca. I completely forgot why I was creating the show in the first place – I HATE WAITING.
Luckily my friend and producer on Bannen, Bailey Williams was there to wake me up. We went back to the grind, developing our own ideas, optioning others, putting together pitch documents and began the pitching process. We were so close on several projects but, for one reason or another just didn’t happen. During that time, amazing collaborations came my way. I hooked up with web series creators like Wilson Cleveland (LEAP YEAR, THE TEMP LIFE), Yuri Baranovsky (BREAK A LEG, LEAP YEAR) and Taryn O’Neill (AFTER JUDGEMENT, BLACK BOX TV). I also hooked up with indie feature team of Steve Peros (FOOTPRINTS, THE UNDYING) and Sybil Temtchine (AUDREY, THE CAVERN) on a comedy series called ANNIE TAKES OFF and Scott Richter on another called WHOA! – we’re in post on sizzle reels for both of these projects.
I currently have eight projects “at Various Stages of Development,” as Dov S-S Simens would say, yes I’ve taken his two day course and he’s a character. I’ve got projects in all phases from idea stage, script, pre-production and three in post-production. I’m currently pitching a TV series, THE PROGRAM, created by Matt Lutz. We shot a ten minute pilot presentation and now we’re producing it with Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner (GRIMM, HOT IN CLEVELAND) and showrunner David Simkins (WAREHOUSE 13, GRIMM) It’s been a huge learning experience and I love all the guys on this project.
So here I am, hustling to get one of these projects made, when yet another opportunity to collaborate has come my way. On March 25th, my girlfriend, actress Brianne Davis (JARHEAD, PROM NIGHT), got a call from a friend of ours, actress/producer Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (DARK ANGEL, THE VICTIM). Jennifer was excited to tell her that she had an amazing opportunity; a chance to direct her first feature, a sci-fi/horror film, THE NIGHT VISITOR. She had a little money, a great story, six-day window to shoot and wanted Brianne to play the lead. Jen also said, “There’s a part for Mark too, hey maybe he’d want to produce it?” Oh and she wanted to start shooting April 4th, which was in thirteen days.
Now most people, most sane people, would find a million reasons not to do this project, the sheer idea of shooting a feature in six days, with less than two weeks to prep and not one role cast or one crew person hired, is cause for pause. But the thing about Jen is, she’s a force of nature. She has an amazing heart and a passion to take a film from production to distribution like nobody I’ve ever met. Within two weeks of that initial call, we were shooting. We assembled an incredibly talented crew who were willing to work for very little upfront and deferred payment on the back-end. Brianne jumped on as a Co-Executive Producer with Jen and they superbly cast the most awesome actors; Gary Cairns (BLACK BUTTERFLIES, JUSTIFIED, HERO WANTED), Vedette Lim (TRUE BLOOD, NO STRINGS ATTACHED, HALO 4), and Tara Buck (TRUE BLOOD, JUSTIFIED, TOMORROW YOU’RE GONE). The script, was written by The Marcus Brothers (HIDDEN IN THE WOODS – Remake, THE FARM), with the story by Executive Producer, Lony Ruhmann.
We completed shooting a day early and we’re so proud of this project. One of the challenges was going to be post-production costs. We had the money to get the film in the can, but knew we’d have to raise the rest. We’ve turned towards Kickstarter to do so. I love to support other projects and have probably backed more than twenty campaigns. The main factor always seems to come down to a couple of things for me, does the project excite me, are the capable of executing it and are they passionate and thorough with their campaign. There have been several projects that I was only an actor in that have tried the crowdsourcing route, some have faired better than others.. Last year I launched my own campaign to raise money to produce a sizzle reel for the comedy, ANNIE TAKES OFF. We were so fortunate to have reached our goal, even exceeding it by almost $3500.
On set of THE NIGHT VISITOR: Gary Cairns, Kit Bower, Brianne Davis, Brand Bristwhistle, Mark Gantt & Steve Romano
I definitely don’t feel that I’ve figure out the Kickstarter game. This time around on The Night Visitor, we’re going for $12,500, which isn’t anything to sneeze about. There’s definitely some trepidation on my part. I’ve never liked waiting but what I’ve hated more… ASKING FOR HELP. I know from experience though, that people, who ask for help, get it. We’ve worked hard to create a campaign that is compelling and full of cool perks and rewards as well as a game plan to get eyeballs and ultimately backers to help us reach our goal.
I personally think it’s a great tool for filmmakers and actually excited for projects like VERONICA MARS and recently Zack Braff’s WISH I WAS HERE campaign. Eventually, when the FCC allows ‘backers’ to become actual ‘investors’ in the films, I think we’ll be in a very interesting time.
We have officially launched our Kickstarter Campaign to help fund the post-production and completion of The Night Visitor. Timing is everything they say. Well what the ‘timing’ was telling us was this; we had an investor with a great story, a small budget to shoot the feature in six days, an awesome location and actors and a director who had a window of time to do this in. So we did it, we went for it. We took the risk to shoot the feature, knowing we’d have to raise the funds to complete it.
The decision to do so was risky but the trade off was huge, we had creative freedom to make the movie we wanted to make and a better chance to get paid when we distribute the film. But in order to that, we need to complete post-production, finish and deliver it to sales agents and distributors.
We’ve got a committed and talented team already working on editing, coloring, doing visual effects and cutting a teaser trailer for the film. We’re confident that the finished product will be above and beyond our expectations and excited to have created something with so much love and passion.
This is where you come in – we need your support. If you can’t support financially, spreading the word via your friends and family would be much appreciated.
Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (Among Friends, The Divide) is making her directorial debut with the sci-fi/horror film The Night Visitor which is currently shooting. Lony Ruhmann scripted this tale which will combine “found footage” with a traditionally-told narrative. The film is being geared for a straight-to-VOD release and we have a look at the poster – you can check out a larger version inside.
Brianne Davis plays the role of Jen, a mother of six-year old Ricky, who’s being tormented by a demented Alien. Gary Cairns, Blanc-Biehn, Mark Gantt and Tara Buck co-star.
Last Updated on Thursday, 18 April 2013 05:25
Exclusive Set Photos And BTS Images From THE NIGHT VISITOR
Head inside to check out some exclusive set photos and behind-the-scenes images from THE NIGHT VISITOR that is currently in production and marks the directorial debut of Jennifer Blanc-Biehn.
Actress and producer, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn teams up with Streamy Award winning producer Mark Gantt (THE BANNEN WAY) and Lony Ruhmann (who is also helping produce HIDDEN In THE WOODS the remake ) for her directorial debut on the digital feature, THE NIGHT VISITOR. The film with a mix of both sci-fi and horror, will be shot with the found footage style that has become popular within the genres. Ruhmann helmed the story and will Executive Produce with Blanc-Biehn, Gantt will produce, screenplay written by the Marcus Bros (HIDDEN IN THE WOODS-REMAKE, THE FARM).
The cast includes Brianne Davis who plays the role of Jen, a mother of six-year old Ricky, who’s being tormented by a demented Alien, Gary Cairns (HERO WANTED, JUSTIFIED), Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (DARK ANGEL, WRONG COPS, THE VICTIM), Mark Gantt (THE BANNEN WAY, OCEAN’S 11) and Tara Buck (TRUE BLOOD, JUSTIFIED, TOMORROW YOU’RE GONE).
We’ve been hitting you guys with some pretty cool stuff lately with Jennifer Blanc-Biehn’s directorial debut THE NIGHT VISITOR and now it has an official website for you guys to check out — so make sure you head over there asap and show your support for some awesome indie horror!
When a suburban couple hires a new age spiritualist to help with their troubled marriage, her advise to video their lives 24/7 to help reunite the family, turns out to reveal their son is having conversations with an unseen entity, calling itself the Night Visitor. Beware of those that come at night.
THE NIGHT VISITOR stars Brianne Davis, Tara Buck, Gary Cairns, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and Vedette Lim. It’s being produced by Mark Gantt and Lony Ruhmann from a screenplay by the Marcus Bros (Hidden In The Woods-Remake).
DREAD CENTRAL: Jennifer Blanc to Bring Us The Night Visitor
Jennifer Blanc of Blanc/Biehn Productions has spent a lot of time in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes as a producer, but now it's time for the do-it-all to find herself a seat in the director's chair for The Night Visitor.
From the Press Release Actress and producer Jennifer Blanc-Biehn teams up with Streamy Award-winning producer Mark Gantt (THE BANNEN WAY) and Lony Ruhmann (who is also helping produce HIDDEN In THE WOODS, the remake ) for her directorial debut on the digital feature THE NIGHT VISITOR. The film, a mix of both sci-fi and horror, will be shot in the found footage style that has become popular within the genres. Ruhmann helmed the story and will executive produce with Blanc-Biehn; Gantt will produce the screenplay written by the Marcus Bros. (HIDDEN IN THE WOODS, THE FARM).
“’The Night Visitor effortlessly blends the sci-fi, horror and supernatural genres together with a beautiful balance of charm, humor and irony. I’m super excited to be a part of Jen Blanc-Biehn’s directorial debut; her vision and passion are leading the charge.” – Mark Gantt
Filming begins April 4th in Los Angeles with a tight budget and schedule. The ambitious shoot is helped along with the majority of the cast and crew, Blanc-Biehn Productions’ alumni, offering favors and deals to help elevate the production. “In my maiden voyage as a director, I feel fortunate to have such passionate friends and co-workers that have stepped up to the plate to bring this vision to life.” – Jennifer Blanc-Biehn
The cast so far includes Brianne Davis (PROM NIGHT, AMONG FRIENDS, JARHEAD), who’s jumping aboard before shooting the Lifetime series "WITCHES OF EAST END" in Vancouver. Davis and Blanc-Biehn worked together in Danielle Harris’ directorial debut , AMONG FRIENDS, written by Alyssa Lobit, which will be released this summer by Lionsgate Home Video and Grindstone Entertainment. Davis plays the role of Jen, mother of six-year-old Ricky, who’s being tormented by a demented alien. “I’m totally thrilled to be working with Jen on her directorial debut. ‘The Night Visitor’ is such a great concept, and I love the character I’m playing; she’s strong, passionate and desperately wants to save her marriage and protect her son.” – Brianne Davis.
Additional cast members include Gary Cairns (HERO WANTED, JUSTIFIED), Jennifer Blanc-Biehn (DARK ANGEL, WRONG COPS, THE VICTIM), Mark Gantt (THE BANNEN WAY, OCEAN’S 11) and Tara Buck (TRUE BLOOD, JUSTIFIED, TOMORROW YOU’RE GONE). "I'm a huge fan of horror and sci-fi, and 'The Night Visitor' provides a great role for me to sink my teeth into." – Tara Buck
DREAD CENTRAL: New Casting News Found Hidden in the Woods
More casting news has come our way for Patricio Valladares' English-language remake of Hidden in the Woods. Read on for the early word on just who has signed on for active duty in this horrific affair.
The cast is now comprised of Michael Biehn, William Forsythe, Jeannine Kaspar, Electra Avelan, Mark Burnham, Jennifer Blanc, Richard Gunn, Caitlin Keats, Matthew Alan, Mark Gantt, Cheryl Hawker, Greg Ingram, Evie Louise Thompson, Grace Powell, Larry Carroll, Nick Nicholson, Jeremy JD Norton, Rebecca Torellas, Nick Bateman, Cody Hackman, and Luke Massy.
Hidden in the Woods is a powerful tale of urban violence and "closely faithful to the atmospheres of the original", in the words of actor/producer Michael Biehn. The film has been acquired to be handled internationally and launched in Cannes by Dimitri Stephanides of WTF, the Paris-based sales company who also represents Michael Biehn's and Jennifer Blanc's previous film, The Victim. Shot in Texas on an unannounced budget, Valladares' Hidden in the Woods promises to be one of the most exciting thrillers to look out for in 2014.
Synopsis Hidden in the Woods tells the story of two sisters who have been raised in isolation, subjected to the torment of their abusive, drug dealing father. When they finally decide to report him to the police, he kills the two officers and is put in jail. But things go from bad to worse when the girls must answer to their Uncle Costello, a psychotic drug kingpin, who shows up looking for his missing merchandise which is hidden in the woods.
Mark Gantt’s short film Donor focuses on a couple on the verge of a huge life event. Sammy (Alexis Boozer) is about to donate her eggs to another couple, and her commitment-phobic-until-now boyfriend John (Trevor Algatt) is not sure it’s the right thing to do. Over the course of their morning, the two go back and forth on everything from faith to fertility as they try to reconcile their feelings and fears.
A film like this is a straight-up acting showpiece, as it captures a moment in a day and lets the camera soak in the performances on display. Alexis Boozer and Trevor Algatt do an incredible job with the short time they’re given to make an impression in this film. The dialogue, which could be considered a little too stilted or on-the-nose on the page, comes across as natural when delivered by the duo; the film’s emotional gear-shifts never feel forced or false.
In the end, Donor is powered by performance above all, and the actors involved don’t disappoint in the slightest. If this were but part of a larger story, I would’ve kept watching. As it is, though, it’s an emotionally strong short film.