Locals debut short film

staff writer

“This Year’s Scream Queen,” directed by Jesse James, premiered Thursday at the Erie Movie House.
The film — which is roughly 10 minutes long — was shown every half hour Thursday from 7-10 p.m.
Defined as comedic horror, the short work was filmed in Erie and stars Erie residents.
The screenwriter, Kalli Oberlander, stars in the short in the lead role of Ivy Miller.
The short features a competition gone wrong as Ivy Miller and her opponent, Lee Heart, played by Jessica McNulty, contend for the crown of Scream Queen.
The short leans more on the side of comedy and leaves the audience wanting more from both Oberlander and James.
Oberlander said her interest as a screenwriter began through her creative writing.
She said she is “a writer at heart,” but would like to continue to act as well.
She has plans to build a career in screenwriting and acting.
Having already written scripts for feature-length films, Oberlander is working on producing a novel from one of her existing screenplays.
According to Oberlander, “This Year’s Scream Queen” drew inspiration from her habit of people watching and a brief description of a short shown the at Toronto International Film Festival.
The inspiration also came from having met a horror actress who was a scream queen and considering the “catty” fights they may have gotten into.
James is Erie-born, though he moved to Los Angeles in 2009.
James returned to Erie several years later and is currently on the board of the Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
He also works as a project coordinator at the Greater Erie Film Office.
James said he plans to take “This Year’s Scream Queen” to several film festivals before potentially online for free viewing.
James and Oberlander are both part of a group of Erie filmmakers called Weekend Films.
They strive to use their respective social circles to write and produce short films as well as a source for crowdfunding.
James said that almost all of their funding for “This Year’s Scream Queen” came from crowdfunding on Kickstarter.
Weekend Films is currently in the process of producing a new short film called “The Fifth.”
The group is actively recruiting members and anyone can join, though there is a short application process.
The group, as well as James and Oberlander individually, can be contacted on Facebook.
For more information about Weekend Films, visit www.facebook.com/pg/WeekendFilmsErie/about/?ref=page_internal.


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