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 Matthew Epstein, whose film MENA 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 think it’s one of the most effective ways to be subversive about a social message. But I also love how deeply it can affect an audience on a visceral level. It’s fun to watch a picture and see an audience squirm in their chair. You can really do that horror and comedy.
Who or what are your biggest influences as a filmmaker?
I tend to study everything I watch these days and take something new away from it. In the horror genre, my major influences right now are Jeremy Sauliner, Karyn Kusama, Anna Biller, Julia Decournau, Coralie Fargeat, and many more. They’ve all made movies I love to watch with friends with fresh eyes so I can relive them again and again.
What do you hope viewers take away from your film?
I hope they are entertained and a little freaked out!
Stay tuned for more mini interviews with Bite Size Halloween filmmakers every week this month!