Welcome to my world. I'm an actor who hates waiting for shit to happen... So I create... One of the projects I'm most proud of is my Streamy award winning series I co-created and starred in called The Bannen Wayfor Sony's Crackle.com.
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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).
Photography by Mike Skillsky
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.
There are decisions in life that will affect both you and others for the rest of their lives. One of those is the focus of a new short from director Mark Gantt called Donor. Here’s the story:
Sammy has decided to sell an egg, and her longtime boyfriend, John is having some second thoughts, which leads the relationship into a bit of rocky territory.
What’s really happening here is 2 things. 1, we’re seeing that things that affect a woman also have major affects on the man in her life, and 2, Gantt is using this short to make a statement about women’s rights and, it seems to me, the so-called ‘war on women’ that we’ve been hearing about ad-nauseum for the past year! The bottom line here, to me, is that just because you do something, you shouldn’t think that it only affects you…and, ultimately, what any person (man or woman) does with their body is up to them.
Donor is an interesting look at an interesting and provocative topic, it’s well written, well acted and is just a great short that will make you think and have you talking. I’m giving Donor 4 out of 4 cigars, for not being just a good story, but for being thought provoking without being preachy! Find out more over at http://www.donorshortfilm.com.
The drive for "Donor" that keeps the film afloat are the duel performances and writing. Without them, "Donor" feels like an ultimately hazy and foggy film in regards toward its intent. It's a film that claims to be about god and love, but in the end I could never actually decide if "Donor" was about. Does it discourage donating eggs to help couples conceive since it may be against God? Is it for donating eggs? Is it merely an objective short film about a moment in a couple's life, meant to incite conversation among audiences? I could never quite be sure. In either case, "Donor" is a strong and very compelling short film thanks to the tight writing and excellent performances from the duel cast of Trevor Algatt and Alexis Boozer.
Meanwhile, the character of Sam seems to ride on the motives of helping people, while helping herself in the process. Mark Gantt directs the short with great directorial finesse, allowing the actors to keep the film moving along, and it works. I found the performances to be strong and very powerful and they really do add urgency to the plot and ultimate conflict involving religion, priority, and the future.
While I was never sure on the intent of the premise and mission behind, "Donor" is a very entertaining short film thanks to its set of powerful performances and good direction. This is definitely a thought provoking cinematic effort worthy of an audience.
Annie Takes Off is an exciting new webseries by some pretty fabulous people. I think many of us will be able to relate to the show just from the description provided on their Kickstarter page:
When Annie Smalls’ life falls apart — with men, her job and just about everything else — she has had enough and decides if she wants her life to get better, a whole lot better, she better make some big changes! So, she writes a list of the “50 MISTAKES I AM NO LONGER GOING TO MAKE FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR” so that after the year, she’ll be in a much better place…she hopes! And because her new career, discovering new design talent throughout the globe, involves constant air-travel, each of the mistakes she has vowed to herself that she can no longer make, must be dealt with one at a time on each flight she takes. And now that she’s on an airplane and has nowhere to run, it’s that much more challenging for her — and a lot funnier for us.
If you are a fan of webseries, a fan of great entertainment, or perhaps a fan of both, I think you will be impressed with the list of names involved in the project. Personally, my interest in projects such as this has been growing since the typical television networks started to rely so heavily on reality shows and it has become so difficult for traditional television series to find a lasting place on our schedules. I have come to know Mark Gantt’s work in particular through Twitter, which led me to being able to conduct a short interview with him about Annie Takes Off.
The Kickstarter campaign has been very successful and only has a few days left but you can still head over to the page if you would like to be a part of this experience. I think you will find there are some great rewards being offered and there is a nice feeling of satisfaction that comes along with being involved, even in a small way.
Q: I know that you are very involved in Indie Entertainment. Why do you feel these projects are important for artists as well as fans of entertainment? Well, to be honest it comes more out of necessity over an altruistic belief that indie is better than mainstream or ‘studio’ productions. I’m sure if I was getting daily invites to come and join the Hollywood Studio party I wouldn’t turn it down. So it really comes out of the need to want to create and not wait for an invitation. When I first came to LA I had a very warped idea of how I thought it would go, fame and fortune would come quickly. As time went on and that didn’t happen, I was forced to look at the real reason I wanted that kind of success; I want to be liked, no sorry… loved, adored and part of the cool crowd. There I said it, I wanted it for all the wrong reasons. So when that realization hit home, I had to find it in myself to push past any fears I had about just going out and doing what I truly love doing – telling stories. I think the web over the last few years is having a similar transitional phase like Sundance did in the 80′s and 90′s. There, you saw the breakout of the indie filmmakers. I’ve been a big fan of auteurs like Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley, Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh. I think they all have very distinct voices and found ways to tell stories that they wanted to see themselves. That’s where we are now on the web. People are getting the opportunity to make things that they actually want to watch, not what an advertiser or stock holder thinks will sell soap or make money.
It's one thing to write something as your bio on Twitter and another to actually do it. I've spent the last two and half years after The Bannen Way release, developing projects for me to star in or direct. The journey at times has felt like I was going to the same well only to find no water. I've pitched shows, shot sizzle reels, spent umpteen hours taking meetings around town and developing and reworking projects. And yet during that time, I've worked like crazy as an actor and director on projects that include web series, shorts, features, commercials and even a guest spot on Showtime's Dexter. So things have definitely changed since Bannen. I've also been fortunate to work with some of the most talented, prolific and successful actor/filmmakers in the New Media space including Felicia Day, Mystery Guitar Man, Jon Lajoie, Taryn Southern, Yuri Baranovsky and Wilson Cleveland. This group of actor/filmmakers inspire me to keep creating, keep shooting and not to give up.
I was recently asked by a friend of mine, Marvin Acuna to create a twelve week online course to help screenwriters break into Hollywood through New Media for his awesome screenwriters site The Business of Show Institute. The idea was that it would be a version of my web series workshop broken up into twelve 7 to 10 minute videos that dovetailed with each other, so by the end you'd be able to go out and shoot your own project. I was to come up with the videos and assign a homework assignment for each week. At first I thought this should be pretty straight forward. I'd just take the workshop syllabus and break it up into twelve sections. Easier said than done. So many things came up as I was working on this, the first was my own bullshit that I didn't actually know what I was doing and that I was a fraud. The aforementioned struggles selling another project were looming in my mind. Did I just get lucky with Bannen? Was I a one hit wonder? If I knew what I was talking about, I should have hit it again. All of these things you can imagine were keeping me from actually being productive and doing me a disservice.
I turned my attention to why I did the workshops in the first place. I like helping people. I love inspiring people, sharing my experience, strength and hope with others. After Bannen was released I had over 40 'coffee meetings' with aspiring filmmakers and actors who wanted to create their own web series. I realized that after even a two hour chat, most people left with more questions and felt overwhelmed. I thought if I did like a six hour course where I walked through our process of Bannen and shared about all the things I learned with others, I could save people from the mistakes we made as well as all the stuff we learned along the way. I hooked back into that purpose and started from the beginning of the process.
Shooting Top-Of-Show Guest-star on TNT's MAJOR CRIMES
Shooting begins on LIFELINE opposite Kathleen Gati(General Hospital)
Begin filming THE NIGHT VISITOR 2: HEATHER'S STORY starring Mark Gantt, Jennifer Blanc, Caitlin Carmichael, Brianne Davis, Gary Cairns, Hudson Pischer and Chip Coffey. The film will be directed by Brianne Davis.
THE NIGHT VISITOR screens as part of the ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FESTIVAL in San Francisco.
Shooting Los Angeles portion of THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT
Mark begins shooting lead role in THE SECOND REIGN OF NIGHT, written and directed by Antoni Sole. Shooting in Barcelona, Spain.
Attending AMONG FRIENDS screening at Universal City
Shannen Doherty honored for Best Individual Performance from the 2012 Webby Awards in the SUITE 7 episode "Company" that Mark directed. Episode was written by Yuri Baranovsky and stars Shannen and Wilson Cleveland.