1. Adam Robitel (Writer/Producer/Editing/Actor/Director) – THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN
Scaring the hell out of audiences in 2014, Adam Robitel has quickly established himself as one of the best indie horror filmmakers out on the scene. Crafting horror thru performance, narrative and reaction, THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN takes multiple sub genres of horror and drama for dynamic filmmaking. An actor by trade, Robitel understands performance both in front and behind the camera. DEBORAH LOGAN shows how the effects of mental illness, age and investigation can affect those on many different levels and agendas. Robitel strengths are celebrated through storytelling and capturing those moments that scare you deep inside. The first of hopefully many films to come, Robitel’s eye as a horror filmmaker is distinctive and creates that personal connection in each frame of THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN. Beyond being one the best films of 2014, Robitel is one of the best filmmakers that uses reality and creates good horror storytelling!
2. Eric England (Writer/Producer/Director) – CONTRACTED
Slowly becoming one of my favorite filmmakers in horror cinema, the mind behind MADISON COUNTY, Eric England infected me with his love letter to infection and undead films with CONTRACTED. Not only was CONTRACTED my top film of 2014 but it really made me feel that this year’s crop of indie filmmakers are great foundation for the future! Taking the worn out and tired of idea of undead films, England turned it on its head by making a smart reinvisoning of the most intimated idea of body horror. Written with dark humor, tension and developed characters on all levels, this combination is brought to life by England’s intelligence and talent to craft and direct moments that allows the viewer to never lose faith. England is also a filmmaker that can build a pace for a film and CONTRACTED is a showcase of pace. Not unlike a magician, England shows you everything he wants you to see. However, you still want to watch and feel that each moment you know what will happen but that is part of a master plan to shock and entertain you leaving you wanting more!
3. Gregg Bishop (Writer/Producer/Editing/EFX/Director) – VHS VIRAL: DANTED THE GREAT
Gregg Bishop started to craft his talent at the young age of seven with 8mm and 16mm film making documentaries on his life and family. Directing such projects as the acclaimed DANCE OF THE DEAD and the short film VOODOO, Bishop is known for a distinctive vision in his films, use of action sequences and crafting stories that are character based no matter the age. Directing one of the best short films of 2014 DANTE THE GREAT from the VHS:VIRAL series, Bishop is a filmmaker who entertains throughout harnessing emotional and connecting performances. Not afraid to take chances or add action to the sequences of tension and horror, Bishop is a filmmaker that can capture a moment and decides whether it will be a glimpse or make it last on film for a lifetime.
4. Jeremiah Kipp (Writer/Producer/Editing/Cinematographer/Director) – PAINKILLER / MINIONS / BERENICE (Short Films)
The art of the short film is one that is mastered by versatile and focused filmmakers. Short film in horror especially can be a talent that encompasses creating a scare, building tension or invoking emotions in each viewer. With a multitude of film credits to his name over a 15 year career, Jeremiah Kipp is a maestro of the short film whether horror or not. As focused, experienced and organized a director you will find, Kipp has brought to life the darkest of psychological horror, the most terrifying of fear, funniest of moments and dramatic of storytelling in 2014. Always busy with a new project, Kipp feels lost if he is not working and constantly lays out the narratives with interesting characters and situations that will be most effective and respectful to the fan watching.
5. Navot Papushado & Aharon Keshales (Writer/Producer/Editing/Director) – BIG BAD WOLVES
Taking on something that has never been done before, Navot Papushado and Aharon Keshales brought horror from Tel Aviv, a civilization of pride, tradition and censorship. Papushado and Keshales arrived on the North American horror filmmaking scene with their well-received thriller RABIES (2010). RABIES broke the barrier for these two filmmakers and was the first film of this style to come out of Israel. Returning in 2014, these two filmmakers again created one of the two best thrillers of 2014 with a powerhouse horror/thriller in BIG BAD WOLVES. Crafted with a terrifying and entrancing narrative along with performances that captivate you even with actions and decisions made. During BIG BAD WOLVES, Papushado and Keshales show their ability to manage and the manipulation of tension and revenge that makes for amazing cinema. This duo shows no fear when facing the questions of true evil and handles their responsibility to build an emotional, claustrophic and powerful portrait for the viewer. Showing great respect for the viewer, BIG BAD WOLVES has terrifying results that showcase what is inside of us when we are pushed to our limits. Not since the USUAL SUSPECTS, has there been a film of misdirection and pure mastery as Papushado and Keshales have done here.
HONORABLE MENTION FILMMAKERS OF 2015
Bobby Roe – THE HOUSES OCTOBER BUILT
EL Katz – CHEAP THRILLS
Jack Thomas Smith – INFLICTION
Jeremy Saulnier – BLUE RUIN
Joe Stauffer – PIECES OF TALENT
Juno Mak – RIGOR MORTIS
Marvin Kren – BLOOD GLACIER
Mike Flanagan – OCULUS
Mike O’Mahony – A DARK PLACE INSIDE
Zack Parker – PROXY