Tag Archives: producing

My 2018 in short and my top personal moments!

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised.” James 1:12

Ahhh 2018… good f-ing riddance. I had an inkling that the year was gonna be a tough one when it started out with a knock on the door from the police after New Years Eve, telling me that a family member was found near death in a snow bank, and if she would have been there 20 minutes longer, she would have died  due to hypothermia. Thankfully she was saved but I was sadly right – 2018 was gonna be an endurance test of epic proportions.

Still found solace in nature.

What followed was pretty much a relentless beat down. Sickness in the family, health ailments of my own (knee, arm, foot problems) hence keeping me out of the gym and stopping me from hiking/climbing (which are the ways that I stay sane), then there was a cancer scare (which wound up being a false diagnosis but the stress it brought to my life was silly), then a family member was arrested by the cops and taken away, then my grandma died… the fun (sarcasm) just wouldn’t stop.

The cherry on top was that I got swindled real good business wise and lost out on a considerable amount of coin and I’m still dealing with it (lawyers, police and such). I knew the risk going in, but when it fell through, it hurt my pockets and acted as a domino affect in terms of affecting the purchase of my new house. Looking back at that biz misstep, I’m not sure what’s worse – being ripped off or my ego taking a hit – but what can you do except learn from your mistakes and not repeat them.

Was awesome getting back out in the wild and battling the elements.

On the upside, the year wasn’t a total loss. I wound beating my injuries just in time for winter and got back out there. And although I didn’t travel as much as I usually do, I did wind up taking a couple of a key trips. And after much struggling, I did get my house and that was for me a huge win. I come from a low-income family, was raised in apartments the bulk of my life and was always told that we were born to live with very little and to accept it. I never did. So for me to get this house – which is everything I’ve always wanted (in the wildness, big, with a spa, a pool and close to the mountains) was a huge accomplishment and the fact that it was not made easy, an even bigger one.

Am not alone in loving our new house. 🙂

Moreover two films that I’m attached to moved forward. The horror film Woodland Grey wrapped filming (am a producer on it) and the short film The Proposal (am a producer on  it and wrote it) got to premiere at the Sitges FIlm Festival and got rave reviews. This was also the year of Marc Natoli (whom I had met on The Siege set last year). I traveled to the UK, Barcelona and Sitges with the lad and he then came down to stay at my home to hustle (that prick is still here) and now we got great things lined up. It’s a blessing to meet a guy that works as hard as I do, that can keep up with me on every front, that I can learn from fighting wise and that’s also as easy going as I am. A new brother!

Finally my passion project HERETIC made some major headway over the course of the year. I couldn’t be happier with the people I have onboard (love working with Producer Asko Akopyan) and I’m beyond excited to see how it all unfolds in 2019. The ducks are lined up. Lets bring her home! With that, here are my Top 6 fav moments of 2018.

Against all odds I got my new house. My dream house. And I guess the victory is all that much sweeter because it was a fight and a half to get it. Every obstacle you can think of was tossed my way, but I persevered and won. Highlight of my year!
Took a trip to London, England with my bro Marc Natoli. Saw the Templar sights, met some cool people (Rachel!!!) and partied a little too hard but hey, all part of the fun.
Visited Barcelona Spain with Marc Natoli. Had an epic meet-up with my brother Mike Hostench, one that we will all remember for a while…lol, got to explore the city further (yes, more Templar sights) and see old friends (Gonz!). Good times!
Last time I acted was in The Siege of Robin Hood (which I also produced), so it was nice to get a random gig in Broken Trust, playing yet another scumbag. I had forgotten how it felt to just be on set as an actor. Was almost like a vacation.
Visited Pittsburgh with my bro Berge Garabedian and went to an old school arcade convention. Retro video games + drinks + all we can can play = great times!
Our short film The Proposal premiered at the Sitges Film Festival. The film played well and made way for new opportunities and it was awesome to catch up with old and dear friends (Mike and Sarah Hostench, Greg Nicotero…) and meet new ones.  Once again Sitges was simply a blast on all fronts!

BONUS:

Got to shake Chuck Norris hand and exchange a “God bless” – nough said.

So all in all, although 2018 just kept bombarding me with vicious sucker punches, I take pride in the fact that I not only took the hits and never quit, but I also managed to pull off of some wins throughout the beat down. I have a lot set up for 2019, am excited for the year as I am wiser, more hardened (who knew that was possible) and as persistent as ever. My gut tells me that 2019 will be the year of winning. So here we go again! Happy New Year! One more more round! Go get it!

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New Interview! I talk The Siege, Heretic, The Shelter and more with FilmQuirk!

I recently got to sit down with FilmQuirk to discuss my past and present projects! I even talked the problematic Billy Trigger, the first and last time that I’ll ever address what happened to that film in the media. You can read an excerpt below and the entire interview HERE!

John Fallon: The Siege is a medieval action/martial arts film shot in Victoria, Australia. It took the Hong Kong structure in terms of its directing duties. Stu Stanton directed the drama and Jackie Chan stunt team veteran Paul Andreovski streamlined the action sequences. So expect lots of eye-popping fights, colourful characters, some humour, a sprinkle of gore, high production values (we shot the bulk of the action in a castle) and a tad of a mean streak brought forward by my character of The Sergeant. Yeah, I act in it too.

READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE

As The Sergeant in The Siege.

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I am officially stepping down as the Arrow in the Head theatrical/new-releases reviewer!

I founded Arrow in the Head in the year 2000 (this was my first review…lol), alongside my hombre JoBlo aka Berge Garabedian (thanks again for the opportunity man), when I was a young horror-loving punk and when the internet was still the Wild West. I did everything myself on the site till about 2005 when it got so big that we had to hire a staff to back me up. Up until now, I was the main “reviewer” on the site. On that, I did miss a lot of horror films last year for varied reasons, which brings me to this article: after 16 years, I am stepping down as the main theatrical/new-releases reviewer for AITH.

Although I do have mix feelings about it (it will be kind of odd and maybe refreshing to see new flicks and not HAVE TO write about them afterwards) I decided that this was the right time to do it. Throughout the years, I have balanced working on the site while pursuing my cinematic aspirations (I have been screenwriting or/and acting in films like 100 FEET, DEAD SHADOWS or AMERICAN MUSCLE). But it’s having directed my first feature THE SHELTER (coming to Redbox on February 7 BTW), which prompted me to call it a day.  I completely fell in love with the process, it invigorated me, and am now focusing my energies further on that career path. And to be honest with ya, since last year, reviewing new releases, just didn’t feel “right” anymore. When it doesn’t feel right – it’s time to call it quits.


With Derek Mears (Jason Voorhees), Nick Principe (Chromeskull) and R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface)! 

On that, I will always be on the site behind the scenes, and in the name of keeping my voice on it, I have decided to still give out my two cents and chump change on the occasional old movie (like I recently did here). Why? To educate younger readers about cinema and maybe bring attention to fine films that some of you may have overlooked. I also may start a column down the road, I have a nifty idea (yes, it is nifty), we’ll see. And of course, when I get my next feature off the ground (I got 5 that are being looked at right now, one will set-up sooner or later), AITH will be ground zero for me to share my (mis) adventures in filmmaking.

In closing, I would like to thank all of you who have supported my ramblings on AITH for all them years – I’ve felt lots of love over time and enjoyed interacting with many of you, debating what we all worship: GENRE CINEMA.  I also want to thank the haters who were key in my evolution too, as they taught me how to handle fair/harsh/unfair criticism. A key trait to have in this biz. Ya know, I still get the random e-mail from folks saying that they “grew up with me”, or “went into the film biz because of me” or that they fell in love with horror because of my keyboard drivel. Shit, I’ve even had high profile filmmakers re-cut their films after reading my early Fest reviews. Kind of nuts when I stop and think about it. So yeah, I think in terms of this field – one that I undertook by accident (creating/running a site and reviewing films were never goals of mine, they just happened) – you can’t get any better than that. Now time to conquer other mountains! Thanks again for all the support and the positive energy over the years. Back at ya mofos and mofettes!


YOU CAN KEEP TABS ON ME ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and on FACEBOOK

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Three ways The Shelter experience has changed me…

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As you may know my directorial debut THE SHELTER has locked domestic distribution and will be released in North America this coming November in theaters and on VOD via Uncork’d Entertainment. I haven’t commented about it here yet, because being that this is my Personal Blog, I wanted to wait until I had something further to say than “ We locked it, thanks to everybody who helped make the film happen and everybody who supported me” (which I do earnestly mean by the way). So I finally came up with something. Here are three ways how the challenge that was THE SHELTER has bettered me as a person.

Producing: When it’s “your movie” and you’re responsible for everything, even other people’s mistakes that go down under your watch – it’s an all new ball game. I had co-produced before on other people’s movies, mostly pre-prod/prod stuff,  but that was NOTHING compared to what I had to go through on this one. Once the shoot was done it was obstacle after obstacle after obstacle and to say I learned so much the hard way would be an understatement. As I type this, 2 years since we wrapped, I’m still going through hurdles when it comes to the bureaucratic nature of making a film (Note: hurdles have since been conquered). On that, even though I wasn’t smiling the countless times I got kicked in the face for the last two years, I can now safely say that I am happy all of these challenges went down as I will bring that knowledge and a stronger shield to my next picture. Every director should know the ins and outs of producing a film IMO – you got to understand the machine fully to operate it to its max! So although it put me through the ringer, almost broke me and tested my tolerance level like mad – the knowledge I got out of this experience was priceless. They didn’t teach me that shit in film school that’s for sure! And yes I have an all-new respect for the Producers of the world.

On set talking a scene out with Michael Pare.
On set talking a scene out with Michael Pare.

Change of reaction: One can be strong, but after taking hit after hit after hit, you start to lower you gloves and begin to react to curve balls in a bitter and discouraged fashion. Through making The Shelter, I had to learn to “roll with it”, to see the positive in the negative “like gaining knowledge by way of hardships” and to have faith that every misstep, every sucker punch was for a greater good that maybe I didn’t see at the time. The amount of Festivals that turned me down, people who I thought would back me up but didn’t, the two forward – ten steps back rinse and repeat routine – I was focusing on that drivel instead of: The Festivals that did take us on, the people that have been there with me through thick and thin or the progress (no matter how little) that was achieved. So I am grateful for that, as that change in “reaction” is now something that I try to apply in my everyday life. I’m not perfect at it just yet, I slip now and again, but I am now even more self aware, hence when I get hit, I make a conscious choice to try to NOT react in a negative way, to take it on the chin and to see the positive within the dire situation instead. Looking back, getting discouraged or bitter only made the battle harder than it already was – nothing was gained from reacting in that fashion. NOTHING. Lesson learned and applying it is still a work in progress. One thing is for sure, I am a much stronger and evened out person due to it.

Spirituality: I was raised Catholic for the bulk of my life – had to pray at school – all that jive.  But my problem with organized religion has always been the evil that men did in its name (and in terms of Christianity, totally negating what Christ was all about in the process, but that’s another convo). Hence, none of it is black and white for me – it’s grey. THE SHELTER sent me on a new route though. Being that the film does sport Biblical inspired elements; I did lots of research on the subject matter. Through that, I became fascinated with the history behind it all; hence I started devouring books outside of the usual tomes, like the Hebrew Bible for example or the writings I could find by the “Church Fathers” (ancient Christian writers also known as the Apostolic Fathers). Today, when I travel (specially in Europe), I visit old churches and am completely fascinated as to the beauty before me and the history behind said locations. The many texts that I have since been introduced to coupled with the countless left field happenings that befell me throughout the writing and post production process has guided me a in a direction i.e. what works for me spiritually – my own path if you will. And it’s a trip to walk it!  At the same time, I now have a new kind of hobby and I am having lots of fun researching and discovering.

And that’s pretty much it, what I have gained from all of this thus far. It’s been a rock and roll two years that’s for sure! Thanks for reading! John

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