Based on the eerie tale of the Pied Piper, Jennifer Nicole Stang's The Whistler is screening at this year's NYC Horror Film Festival on Sunday, December 2nd at noon at Cinepolis Chelsea in New York. Also in today's Highlights, Mary Lambert's (Pet Sematary) Rolling in the Deep production details and a Q&A with writer Adam Rodness for Scarecrows.

The Whistler NYC Horror Film Festival Premiere Details: "The Whistler, the latest indie fantasy-horror short film, from award-winning director Jennifer Nicole Stang of Round Table Pictures, will screen in the NYC Horror Film Festival on Sunday, Dec. 2nd at noon EST at Cinepolis Chelsea on 260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011.

Inspired by the story of The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning, The Whistler tells the story of Lindsey (Karis Cameron) who is forced to babysit her younger sister Becky (Baya Ipatowicz) one night. After falling asleep, Lindsey awakens to find her sister missing. Someone has taken Becky and may be after Lindsey as well.

“Our intention with The Whistler was to portray a classic horror story of a night of babysitting gone wrong with an original Pied Piper-like monster who has been stealing children since the founding colonies of America in the 1600s. It’s a suggestive piece that evokes questions about the time-old theme of purity and sin, a theme; that despite ideological changes, remains strong. I hope that viewers enjoy putting the pieces together and are surprised by a few jump scares as well,” says Jennifer.

Co-produced by Karen Wong & Sasha Filipovich, the film has already garnered accolades on the festival circuit, being awarded Best International Horror Short Film at Women in Horror Film Festival. In addition, the film has also won Best International Horror Short Film at HEMOGLOZINE Film Festival in Ciudad Real, Spain Best Film and Best Actress (for lead actress Karis Cameron) at Horror Movie Freaks Film Festival.

With her production company Round Table Pictures, Jennifer has directed numerous award-winning music videos and short films. Jennifer’s short film, El Lago (The Lake) was awarded Best Fantasy Film at the Mexico International Film Festival and 1st place at the Honolulu Film Awards. El Lago was also featured on Cinemakers and GAIA TV. In addition, Jennifer’s web series Englishman in LA starring Ashley Fink of Glee fame and Eddie Jemison of the Ocean’s franchise that received rave reviews from In Touch Magazine and Broadway World, along with several accolades at the LA Web Series Festival, can currently be found streaming on Amazon Prime.

The film will screen in NYC Horror Film Festival on Sunday, Dec. 2nd at noon EST at Cinepolis Chelsea on 260 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011.

Get updated news on The Whistler on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and at TheWhistler.movie and follow Jennifer Nicole Stang on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest on her projects.

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Rolling in the Deep Production Details: "Branded Pictures Entertainment (BPE) has optioned Mira Grant’s mermaid thriller Rolling in the Deep and hired screenwriter Sean Hood (Conan the Barbarian, Halloween: Resurrection) to adapt the novel and Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary, TV’s Blacklist) to direct the feature film.

The story revolves around Mira, an idealistic young filmmaker who sets out to the Mariana Trench with a small crew to film a faux documentary about mermaids. But the hoax soon turns all too real as sailors begin to disappear. By the time Mira realizes that they are under siege by no less than actual mermaids, her ship is already sinking. A terrifying fight to survive at any cost ensues, as it becomes clear that the darkest waters of the ocean are very good at keeping deadly secrets.

“‘Rolling in the Deep’ is a film led by complicated badass female characters,” Lambert said. “I've been waiting to make a film like this my entire career. Our mermaids are not cliché sugary cartoon princesses; they will take you down if you stand in their way.”"

“We loved Mira’s book when we read it and immediately recognized its feature potential in a market hungry for frightening yet unique fare,” producer and BPE founder and president J. Todd Harris notes. “The combination of acclaimed filmmakers Mary Lambert and Sean Hood is the perfect pairing to realize the book’s potential.”

“The story has elements of The Shallows, 47 Meters Down, Dead Calm, and even Alien,” BPE vice president Marc Marcum, who discovered the book, said. “It is meant to be the definitive adaptation of the original mermaid myth that goes back to the dawn of civilization.”

The book performed well enough to spawn a sequel, Into the Drowning Deep, published in 2017. Given the sequel’s strong sales, the producers are hoping to launch a franchise.

Mira Grant is a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire, one of the most respected genre authors working today. Her credits include nearly 40 novels and numerous novellas and short stories since her debut in 2009, among them multiple New York Times bestsellers. She currently has more than half a dozen projects under option and in development at studios and networks across the industry and has earned a gallery of prestigious awards and honors including the Hugo, Nebula, and YALSA's prestigious Alex Award. She is also currently writing comics for Marvel's “Spider-Gwen” and “X-Men” series.

The Bye Bye Man director Stacy Title is attached to executive produce and BPE director of development Thomas Pettinelli co-produces. Filmmakers are aiming for production in 2019.

McGuire is repped by Diana Fox of Fox Literary, manager Pouya Shahbazian of New Leaf Literary & Media, and attorney Steve Younger of Myman Greenspan.

BPE is an independent company focused on acquiring and developing properties with branded value to develop for film, television, and stage. It recently announced the acquisition of all non-publishing rights to the beloved children’s book “Danny and the Dinosaur,” which it is also currently developing, and it is beginning production on the drama “Butter,” starring Mira Sorvino and based on the YA novel by Erin Jade Lange. The company has completed production on the new comedy, “Elsewhere,” starring Aden Young, Parker Posey, and Ken Jeong, and written-directed by acclaimed Costa Rican filmmaker Hernán Jiménez, and was an executive producer on the Netflix original “Wheelman,” starring Frank Grillo.

About Branded Pictures Entertainment:

Branded Pictures Entertainment is a film, TV and stage production and development company focusing on projects built on brands that can play across platforms and have franchise potential while employing a strongly independent approach to creating content. Headed by Founder, and President J. Todd Harris, VP Marc Marcum and Director of Development Thomas Pettinelli, it is providing a valuable stream of content to the global entertainment marketplace. For more information: brandedpicturesentertainment.com

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Scarecrows Q&A with Writer Adam Rodness: Adam Rodness is the co-writer and producer of Scarecrows, a Canadian scarefest that hits VOD in December via Uncork’d Entertainment.

Well done on the film. How long of a journey has it been for you? You started it a couple of years back, right?

Thank you for the compliment. The journey for this project started 2 years ago while on a family road trip from LA to San Francisco. My wife and I had pulled over in a small town called Cambria, just outside Monterey. It was a town with a long single road -Very cute. Outside each establishment stood a Scarecrow that represented the business. I.e. The restaurant had a maître Scarecrow and the Baseball Card store had a ballplayer Scarecrow.

Was there a particular reason you wanted to tell this story? Scared to death of Scarecrows?

The last horror we did “The Haunted House on Kirby Road” was a story about a ghost, which was something more fictitious. This time, we wanted to create a monster, something that could easily exist in real life. If you can put the audience in a spot where this could “happen to you” it makes it all the more chilling. My wife and I thought, “what if those Scarecrows were living people inside?”

Was the film relatively easy to get up after your success with Hemlock Grove?

Being known for my involvement in Hemlock didn’t hurt. When you are on a series like that you can get a real taste of how the horror works behind the scenes and people trust your judgments. However, it took a different type of preparation and selling to get Scarecrows up and running.

Did the screenplay start with the villain or the storyline?

The screenplay started with the storyline. I asked myself simple question: “What if there were people trapped inside these Scarecrows? What would that be like and how would they get there?” The rest just flowed out when Stu and I got to writing.

What did you use for blood on the flick? Corn syrup?

There were a few ingredients to our blood. Can't give all our secrets away, but it included: cornstarch, red fruit punch, and chocolate syrup.

When you pass a cornfield, first thought that comes into your mind?

I wonder if anyone is in there. 'Cause if they are… Good luck getting out!

  • Tamika Jones
    About the Author - Tamika Jones

    Tamika hails from North Beach, Maryland, a tiny town inches from the Chesapeake Bay.She knew she wanted to be an actor after reciting a soliloquy by Sojourner Truth in front of her entire fifth grade class. Since then, she's appeared in over 20 film and television projects. In addition to acting, Tamika is the Indie Spotlight manager for Daily Dead, where she brings readers news on independent horror projects every weekend.

    The first horror film Tamika watched was Child's Play. Being eight years old at the time, she remembers being so scared when Chucky came to life that she projectile vomited. It's tough for her to choose only one movie as her favorite horror film, so she picked two: Nosferatu and The Stepford Wives (1975).

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