All this month, 20th Digital Studio is premiering a wild selection of genre-bending short films for Halloween 2020. Ranging from horror comedy to psychological thrillers and everything in between, these films were created by a diverse group of 30 exciting new filmmakers from different countries, identities, and backgrounds. 20th Digital Studio’s continuing mission is to guide and finance the growth of these filmmakers’ careers beyond this program, and in this weekly series, we’re introduced to the artists behind these scaretacular shorts. Today we get to know Jessie Kahnweiler, whose film RETREAT is now screening across digital and broadcast platforms, via Freeform, FX, and Hulu’s Huluween platform hub and YouTube channel.
What draws you to the horror genre?
I hate horror movies. I am terrified enough by real life. I came in for a general meeting with 20th Digital and they told me about this opportunity. At first, I was like ‘No way, I don’t do horror’ but then I thought about what in my life has truly terrified me and immediately started thinking about my experience with anxiety. I wanted to make a film about the horror of being trapped inside your mind because when you’re having a panic attack there is nothing scarier. It was so fun to make something genre and step out of my comfort zone.
Who or what are your biggest influences as a filmmaker?
I’m so inspired by other female filmmakers. I just watched Radha Blanks movie The 40-year-old Version and Garrett Bradley’s documentary Time and I’m just so grateful for their points of view. During the process of making a film I’m always most inspired by my cast/crew they add so many layers and complexities and I’m just blown away every damn time.
What do you hope viewers take away from your film?
That anxiety is a bitch but she’s a funny bitch and you are not alone.
Stay tuned for more mini interviews with Bite Size Halloween filmmakers every week this month!