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Status Report

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Since the release of my last film, Ratline, a nearly constant flurry of activity has taken place as I work to launch a follow-up.  Most of this bustle has resulted in dead ends.  This is the way things trend in this industry.  For every 50 films that get to the talkin’-about-it-in-meetings phase, one of them actually gets made.  Over the past 18 months, I’ve been attached as a producer or director to multiple features that collapsed due primarily to money issues.  Mixed in with these were a few 2nd Unit director gigs and even a director of photography job offer that have yet to come to fruition.  I’m not complaining about the lack of traction… it’s the opposite, in fact.  I’m grateful so many people - who I like, respect, and want to work with - have tried to get me involved in so many films.

Not all endeavors withered on the vine, however.  I did direct 2nd Unit for the Jim Mickle film, We Are What We Are.  The movie premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it made a huge splash.  We Are What We Are was selected to screen at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, currently underway.

Besides We Are What We Are, what I’ve primarily focused on over the past 18 months is writing and editing.  My post-production workload covered documentaries, short films, preview trailers, and much more.  For the most part, my editing work kept the bills paid while I spent the other 50 percent of my waking hours writing story treatments and screenplays. 

So that brings me to what I have in the works today.  I have much to report - but unfortunately, I can’t discuss many details at this point.  In some cases, I’m just not ready to let the cat outta the bag, and in other cases, I’m legally obligated to keep quiet.

I recently finished a feature length screenplay about… well, all I can say is that it’s a drama set in a tumultuous, dangerous near-future.  The script is only a first draft, but it is certainly in a condition where I could start trying to get funding for it.  Instead of doing this, however, I put the script on the shelf.  I’ll shop it around later, or as opportunities present themselves to me.  I’m not exactly sure why I finished this script and then set it aside.  I feel completely confident in how I’d direct this film… but perhaps I don’t feel 100 percent about certain layers of the story.  Maybe I’ll get some feedback from other writers who will help firm up the parts of the script I believe are sagging.  I plan on simply letting that project advance organically for now.  I believe pushing it when it isn’t ready is the worst thing I could do to it.

Immediately, upon finishing this drama script, I started writing another feature length screenplay about… well, all I can say is that it’s a horror film… and that I’m confident there is nothing like it being released these days.  I’m currently halfway through the first draft, and my feelings toward it are very different compared to what I was feeling about the drama script.  This time, I feel 100 percent confident in both the screenplay and in how I want to direct this film.  I’m already in early, early, early discussions with an established production company about getting this film made through them… but I can’t discuss details about that either.

My writing continues, and more doors continue to open… I’ve been approached about directing a few smaller projects that are currently being developed, and just a week ago I was called into a meeting, out of the blue, to discuss a bigger feature film, this one about… well, all I can say is that it’s a zombie film.  

When this story of the undead was pitched to me by the producer, I was very impressed by the inventiveness of the plot, the movie’s tightrope walk between thrilling adventure and grim, unsettling horror, and the intelligent social commentary lurking beneath the chills and bloodshed.  

I’m currently the top candidate to direct or co-direct this feature - if it gets made.  If the project strays from its current path, and a different director takes the reins, it’s likely I’d still be involved in the movie in a substantial way.  But who knows… this film has just been thrust in front of me, and much can change in the coming months.

With so much going on, I’m optimistic that I’ll have my chance to unleash more horror in the very near future.  Now, back to writing…

Thanks for reading.

- Eric Stanze

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