Hello Everybody!

I can't tell you the feelings I had when I was informed that my film 'Sleep Paralysis' won 'Best Horror' at the iChill International Film Festival. It was a first time experience for me, it was my directorial debut in a film festival and to see it get recognition is extremely rewarding. I make films because of a need I have to tell stories, it is also why I write. I find it much easier to express myself through a lens or keyboard than through conversation. I have always been an artist and had a love for poetry when I was in elementary school. Robert Frost was one of my inspirations (mostly at the time because we shared a name; because let's face it I was a kid and things like that matter) and even inspired me to want to be a poet as a kid. As I grew that changed into a writer and here I have been ever since. 

When I was writing 'Sleep Paralysis' it was based heavily off of my own experiences with the condition. I have struggled with insomnia, nightmares and sleep paralysis over the years, eventually coming to terms with what sleep paralysis actually was. This helped me overcome it and that was the basis of my script for this short film. I wrote it in my screenwriting class but there was no requirement to actually make the film. But I pitched to script to a filmmaker friend, Ty Higgs, who is a part of a great film team here in Indianapolis called "Fair Creek Films". They have tons of great talent and artists and thankfully he liked the script. Ty agreed to be my Director of Photography again (he was also my DP for 'Haven') and we agreed this would be a collaborative effort between out teams. So I brought on his team and we worked together on Sleep Paralysis which was a very low budget short. We shot it in one day, mind you that was one FULL day, and really had a great time making the film. 

From the very beginning everything about 'Sleep Paralysis' was fun. From deciding what was going into the room, background, color schemes with Production Designer, Austin Owens, talking about lighting and moods with Derrick Combs, our gaffer, and even working with the amazing talent that we had in Katherine Rodden (our star for this film), and Connor Carlson (our amazing stunt actor). We all felt Sleep Paralysis was a good expression of great artists all coming together to create something we all believed in. In the end, I am happy to have worked with all those great minds and I am happy our hard work is paying off.

Here's to the next festival! See you Akron at the High Arts Festival!

- RJ