Film Fest recap: Women of Blumhouse
“Horror gets a bad rap,” said Bea Sequiera, executive vice president, Blumhouse Productions, during a virtual Wonder Women panel at this year’s SCAD Savannah Film Festival. “Yet the genre has always been a vessel for talented storytellers to share new stories and points of view.”
Sequiera was speaking during the panel Women of Blumhouse: Shaping Genre Storytelling at the Iconic House of Horror, celebrating the studio behind blockbusters including The Invisible Man and Get Out, award-winning shows Sharp Objects and The Purge, and new releases Freaky, The Craft: Legacy, and The Good Lord Bird.
SCAD Savannah Film Festival has continually showcased and elevated the voices of women in the film industry, exemplified by the return this year of the popular Wonder Women panel series The Blumhouse panel, moderated by Variety features editor Jenelle Riley, welcomed three industry leaders from the studio:
Lisa Niedenthal, head of physical production, Blumhouse Television
Bea Sequeira, executive vice President of development and production for feature Films, Blumhouse Productions
Terri Taylor, head of casting, Blumhouse Productions
The panelists shared insights on their career journeys, bringing thrills and chills and advice to the virtual audience. Here are edited highlights from the panel.
Lisa Niedenthal: “The best advice I can give to anyone looking to make films is to dive right in. Working alongside a great director is a crash course in how to be a great producer, actor, editor, etc. Talented directors know every step of the process. They anticipate needs, and are always one step ahead of the production. Seeing the process through their eyes will help you as a creator in your own right, and allow you to pick and choose the techniques that speak to you as a leader. You do not have to start from square one. Learn from the people who have already paved the best paths.”
Bea Sequeira: “From traditional slasher movies, to psychological thrillers, to the supernatural, horror films get to be something completely different. Our genre is oftentimes a ‘trojan horse’ in terms of social conversations. Our studio allows film makers the ability to share a specific viewpoint and message with the audience many mainstream films are unable to. That maneuverability brings writers, directors, and film professionals back to the genre and allows those of us who love thrillers, a robust and ever deepening collection of meaningful films.”
Terri Taylor: “Our genre is always looking for new and emerging talent. As a casting director, I am constantly searching for actors who can portray the emotional and phycological turmoil that make our movies work. Yes, you are wrestling a demon in a vent, but is it believable? Are you drawing the viewers in? Can the audience sense your terror? Thrillers only work if the actors bring the audience into the scene with them. We all love giving young professionals the opportunity to showcase their craft and stretch their skills on set.”
Thanks to everyone who made the 2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival an event to remember.
By Robert Almand