Screaming with Laughter: FEARnet TV's Holliston
Horror and genre programming has been on the rise, with dramas including "American Horror Story" and "Walking Dead." FEARnet debuts its first original series "Holliston," a new type of horror sitcom.
The show is the brainchild of Adam Green (creator, writer, executive producer, director, star) and best described as “The Big Bang Theory” meets “Evil Dead II.” Set in the town of Holliston, MA, the series follows the lives of Adam and Joe, two friends chasing the dream of becoming successful horror movie filmmakers. They scrape to make ends meet in their post-college jobs at a Boston cable access station where they also host a late night movie program called "The Movie Crypt."
The panel moderated by Drew McWeeny of HitFix will explore the path taken by Green, Joe Lynch (executive producer, star) and Peter Block (executive producer, FEARnet network president) to make a genre lover’s dream into reality.
This panel reaches beyond genre and horror. It speaks to anyone who has ever felt that undeniable spark to pursue a creative passion.
Producer Peter Block formed the motion picture production and distribution company A BIGGER BOAT in 2008, after years at Lionsgate building its genre focus and overseeing acquisitions, co-productions and television distribution. A Bigger Boat is currently producing the outrageous sit-com Holliston, starring Adam Green, Joe Lynch and Dee Snider, and is in pre-production on Mixed Blood, to be directed by Phillip Noyce (Salt), and also on Dark Corners, to be directed by Tom Shankland (The Children). ABB's recent productions in addition to House At The End Of The Street, include Adam Green's Frozen (a 2010 Sundance Film Festival Selection), John Carpenter’s The Ward, and Saw VI and Saw 3-D, and the company released the critically acclaimed thriller The Disappearance Of Alice Creed, starring Gemma Arterton, in 2010.
In addition, since July 2010, Peter serves as President & General Manager of FEARnet, the cable channel, VOD channel and website dedicated to thriller and suspense movies and television series. Peter was instrumental in the creation of FEARnet, a joint venture between Comcast, Sony and Lionsgate, serving on the initial board of directors for the venture. Under Peter's supervision, FEARnet launched the Cable Channel, expanded its VOD offering, re-vamped its on-line service, and launched the product lines "Sinister Sundays", "Movies With More Brains", "FEARful First 5" and "Twisted Comedy" (which is a home for the hilarious horror-comedy series, Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil, and the UK hit, Psychoville). In addition to the inception and continued development of FEARnet, Peter also played an integral part in the structure and formation of Epix, the pay cable joint venture between Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate, and has helped to broker distribution and output deals for the new network.
From 2000-2008, Peter was the President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions for Lionsgate Entertainment and its related entities. Over the years, he held an executive level position in nearly every aspect of the Company’s business and served as the primary acquisitions executive and as a production executive, drawing upon his knowledge of genre films and past experience creating marketing plans, key art and trailers for many of the company’s DVD and television releases. Under his supervision, the Lionsgate Acquisitions department acquired distribution rights to over 500 films through pre-buys, negative pick-ups and co-productions both at script stage and via festival/market screenings. Such films included the Academy Award winning, Crash, as well as box office sensations Saw, Open Water, The Descent, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Cooler, the art-house hits such as Lantana, Hard Candy and Secretary. His focus on genre pictures resulted in the Company’s foray into the theatrical release of horror and thriller pictures through the acquisition of Cabin Fever, and House of 1000 Corpses. He was responsible for acquiring a number of films from international filmmakers which introduced them to the U.S. audience including Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, Guillermo del Toro's Cronos, Takashi Shimizu's Ju-On: The Grudge, High Tension from Alex Aja, and Undead from Australia’s Spierig brothers.
In addition to his other duties, Peter worked as a primary production executive for the Company on such varied theatrical releases as the Academy nominated Girl with the Pearl Earring, the Bobby Darin bio-pic Beyond the Sea directed and starring Kevin Spacey, the western smash 3:10 To Yuma, the adrenaline-packed Crank series, the zombie-comedy cult classic Fido, the Paramount released Narc, and Rob Zombie’s Devil’s Rejects. Prior to that, Peter oversaw the entirety of Lions Gate Home Entertainment from its inception, and under his leadership grew the division into a $150 million full-service distribution business in the United States and Canada. Lions Gate Home Entertainment now includes more than 8,000 titles and generates over 100 new DVD releases, comprised by new to sell-through and over 70 new rental titles annually. Peter was also responsible for the Company’s VOD and PPV efforts, and for its Pay-TV output arrangement with Showtime Networks, and prior to that with HBO. He has negotiated a full range of motion picture development, production, acquisition, distribution and financing agreements.
A frequent guest speaker at graduate schools and industry events, Peter is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Television Academy of Arts and Science, and the Hollywood Radio & Television Society.
Peter received his J.D. from USC, his M.B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and his B.A. from Duke University, where he has established an endowment for student programming.
JOE LYNCH (Director/Actor/Executive Producer)
Joe Lynch was born in Long Island, New York and was raised on a steady diet of B-movies, Stephen King novels, heavy metal, 8-bit games & 4-color comic books. His first foray into filmmaking was hooking up 2 VCR cameras and creating "remixes" of his favorite movie scenes to new music, and creating home-spun gore effects to shock his family members (it rarely worked).
Upon graduating from Syracuse University, where his two student shorts, mAHARBA and hiBeams got Lynch named Filmmaker of the Year in 1999 in The Village Voice's Best of Long Island issue. Joe's first film job was working with the legendary Troma films, working on TERROR FIRMER & was then hired as an in-house writer/producer/Toxic Avenger model. Post-Troma, Lynch then created, produced & shot the hit US TV show URANIUM for Fuse, and directed music videos and documentaries for artists like 311, Sugarcult, DevilDriver, DVDA, Coal Chamber, Strapping Young Lad & Pete Yorn.
20th Century Fox's WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END was Lynch's first foray into feature filmmaking – a dream come true for the die-hard horror fanatic. This love letter to Splatter films of the 80's was a surprising critical and financial success, making many Top 10 lists on horror publications and websites and is still considered one of Fox's best selling DTV films to date.
After WRONG TURN 2, Lynch served as Creative Director at G4tv.com, where he developed and produced many of the site's popular web franchises, including FEEDBACK, THE MMO REPORT, FRESH INK & the Webby Award winning series FREESTYLE 101. Lynch also oversaw many of the network's live coverage of events, including E3, Comic-Con & the Tokyo Game Show, as well as commercial campaigns for Jinx and Sony (which he also directed). Lynch also directed the popular 311 music video "Hey You" in 2009.
Lynch was then tapped to direct the "Heavy Metal Horror Adventure", KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, for IndieVest Pictures, which follows a band of modern-day friends who embark on a LARP (Live Action Role Playing), leaving to dark, dangerous (and often time hilarious) results. The film boasts an all-star cast including Steve Zahn (TREME), Peter Dinklage (GAME OF THRONES), Ryan Kwanten (TRUE BLOOD) & Summer Glau(SERENITY), among others and Cinematographer Sam McCurdy(THE DECENT, CENTURION), editor Howard Smith (THE ABYSS, STRANGE DAYS), Creature FX designers Spectral Motion (HELLBOY 2, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) and composer Bear McCreary(BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, WALKING DEAD), marking their second collaboration together. The film is currently in Post Production and will be released in 2012.
Lynch was also one of the 4 directors contributing to the recently-released Horror/Comedy Anthology CHILLERAMA (with fellow directors Adam Rifkin, Adam Green & Tim Sullivan) which enjoyed an international festival bow, a national "Roadshow" theatrical run and released on VOD, Blu-Ray & DVD by Image Entertainment in November 2011.
Lynch's upcoming projects include HOLLISTON, a sitcom he is Executive Producing & co-starring in with creator Adam Green which will premiere on FEARnet April 3rd, 2012 and currently in pre-production on his next directorial feature, EVERLY, an ambitious action thriller he co-wrote with Yale Hannon (the script was on 2010's coveted Black List) and should be shooting now for Anonymous Content & Crime Scene Pictures...but he's in Austin with you guys right now so you see where his priorities are.
Lynch currently resides in Los Angeles with his lovely (and extremely patient) wife Briana, their son Remy Plissken and their Boston Terrier "Buckaroo" Banzai.
Upon graduating New York’s Hofstra University with a Bachelor of Science in Television and Film production, Adam Green went to work producing and directing local cable commercials in Boston. While employed by the cable advertising company, Green began "borrowing" their production equipment after hours to make his own films. Using friends as cast and crew, three lights, and his severely troubled cat, Green’s first feature film, the comedy “Coffee & Donuts” was completed for a mere $400 in the summer of 1999. In 2003 the movie was bought by Walt Disney Studios/Touchstone TV and developed as a sitcom for UPN with Green writing the pilot.
Green then wrote and directed the feature horror/comedy “Hatchet” which premiered to rave reviews at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. The film was selected for festivals worldwide winning a multitude of awards, including the Audience Choice Award for “Best Picture” in 3 different countries and placement in both MTV’s and Ain’t It Cool News’ TOP 10 FILMS OF THE YEAR lists. Green then made an equally successful sequel “Hatchet 2” in 2010, and has “Hatchet 3” set to begin production in early 2012. Green then went on to direct the Hitchcockian psychodrama “Spiral,” which took home the prestigious “Gold Vision Award” at the 2007 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and the disturbing and horrifying thriller “Grace,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 complete with two men fainting in the audience on opening night.
In 2010, Green’s snowy thriller “Frozen” wowed audiences at the Sundance film festival once again, and went on to top “Hatchet” as Anchor Bay’s top selling original film of all time after a limited theatrical release earlier that year. Currently, in addition to “Holliston,” Green is producing Hatchet III as well as writing the big budget children’s adventure movie “Killer Pizza” for MGM Studios and producer Chris Columbus (“Harry Potter,” “Rent,” “The Goonies”).