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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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The Shelter at the Sitges Film Festival! My thoughts….

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The SITGES FILM FESTIVAL screening of THE SHELTER has come and gone and here are my quick thoughts on how it went down. When I presented the film I said: “You know me for films with tits and gore” and the crowd went wild and then I said “Well, this isn’t one of those” and the crowd groaned. This was the first day of the Fest, the audience wanted to party and if there’s one thing THE SHELTER is NOT is a party movie. With that aside; the crowd didn’t boo (those trustee whistles) which I saw as a positive thing and they all clapped at a certain point which at least told me they were involved in the happenings.

PS: It was star Michael Pare’s B-Day on that day – thanks to the crowd for their well wishes 🙂

PPS: When the flick finally rolled, I did a double take. The image didn’t look too good with the colors being all over the place. Not sure if it was my DCP, the projector or a bit of both, but the film never looked this bad on a big screen. I am still in Spain now, but when I get home, I will get to the bottom of things as I NEVER want the movie to look like that on a big screen again.

Me and Dead Shadows co-star Rurik Salle finally finishing our fight!

Post screening, I corresponded in person with folks at the Fest and online with people who enjoyed the picture and on the flip side I read some negative things online but nothing that I would call too thought out i.e. no sweat off my bulldog balls. Hence overall my SITGES was a positive one , saw old amigos (too many to name, you know who you are), made new ones, saw one film that I LOVED (Julien Seri’s Night Fare – see it), dealt with one sucker-punch burst of negative energy in a surprisingly admirable fashion (I impressed myself… God bless this new maturity), appreciated all of the fans who came to see me (signed some Shelter and even Dead Shadows stuff) and that supported me and left Sitges to hit Barcelona with a smile on my face.

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With great men Rurik Salle, Pascal Sid and Julien Seri. Keep fighting gents!

I am now talking with varied distributors who are interested in putting out THE SHELTER, say prayers, knock on wood, do whatever you do – send that positive energy our way! In closing: big thank you to the Sitges Film Festival and specifically to the great Mike Hostench for having me and making my stay there yet another memorable one. See you with the next film!

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Blessed to know this man for 10 years! The Hostench!
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Dead Shadows and Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever Sitges dates/times!

Being that we are in pre production for BILLY TRIGGER it is very unlikely that I will make it to my favorite genre film Fest this year, THE SITGES FILM FESTIVAL (but if I see a window, I will take it)! With that I will be there in celluloid spirit. DAVID CHOLEWA’S DEAD SHADOWS, a film that I acted in, will be screening there (get info and tickets here) and so will CALUM WADDELL’S documentary SLICE AND DICE: THE SLASHER FILM FOREVER (get info and tickets here) in which I was interviewed for. To my fellow cast and crew members that are going, HAVE A BLAST! It’s the BEST Festival out there! Viva Sitges!

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