Director Ian Kessner Talks “Lost After Dark”

Director Ian Kessner delivered in his inaugural full-length feature, Lost After Dark (review), an 80’s throwback to the heyday of the slasher phenomenon, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us about the film, its conception, and what he’s got planned for the future, so settle in and enjoy!


DC: Can you just give us a brief outline of the story and how you came to direct the film?


IK: Sure. The film is set in 1984 and was written as an homage to the golden age of slasher films in the early 80’s. It revolves around a group of high school seniors who discover an old house that belongs to a cannibal killer from an urban legend. Things go downhill fast for them after that. I came to direct the film by first finding and optioning the first draft off my co-writer on the project, Bo Ransdell. Then we wrote a bunch of drafts together, after which I got the script to producer Eric Gozlan and his company, Goldrush Entertainment. Eric brought in a Northern Ontario film fund that helped subsidize the film. Together Eric and I then raised the private equity needed to complete the financing. Finally we got into production, and I was able to focus on being creative and get to directing, which for me is the most fulfilling part.


DC: What can fans of the great 80’s slasher films expect from this movie?


IK: They can expect to see an old wine packaged in a new bottle. Lost After Dark takes all the familiar genre tropes and then subverts them so it feels fresh. We tried to capture the look and spirit of slasher classics like Friday the 13th, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Halloween, Happy Birthday to Me, My Bloody Valentine, and so many others whose DNA populate this film. It’s really a love letter to them. And if past screenings are any indication, fans will laugh and scream and have a really fun time.


DC: You’ve written, produced, and directed – which do you feel is the most personally rewarding?


IK: Writing brings its own pleasure. You get to lose yourself in another world. Producing is a thankless job. I only do it because I have to. I’m still an indie filmmaker, and nobody is offering me director-for-hire gigs on fully financed features… yet. I also like being a producer so I know what toys I’ll have at my disposal on set and there’s no surprises. Directing is my true passion. I graduated with my Masters in directing from the American Film Institute, and I’ve been working toward directing my first feature ever since. So us discussing Lost After Dark, which is now available across North America, feels like a dream. Equal parts amazing and surreal, and I couldn’t be more grateful.


DC: After the release of Lost After Dark, what can we look forward to from you in the future?


IK: Bo and have a few projects percolating. One is a remake of the 80’s cult classic Waxwork, and we have the original writer/director Anthony Hickox on board to exec produce it. Now we have to get Lionsgate on board. There’s also a script for Lost After Dark 2, which is a sequel to this film, only set in the 90’s against the background of the grunge rock scene. If the first one does well enough, we can get that made, so go buy or rent it today! Then there’s a couple of other goodies, but I need to keep them under wraps until they are further along. I’d like to add that if people see the film and like it, they can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and please post and share the good buzz with their friends. Little films like ours need all the support from the fans they can get!


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The Sudbury Star “Lost After Dark” Review

Critic Sean Decker says in his 2014 Best Horror Movies Screamfest review that “Lost After Dark” is “The best 80’s slasher film that wasn’t filmed in the 80’s.”


That’s high praise.


But what may be most interesting about this movie to Nickel City residents is that Lost After Dark was filmed mostly in Sudbury in August 2013.
The movie was shot for 14 days in Sudbury, while the final two days of shooting was done in Parry Sound.


“We were originally going shoot in Parry Sound and we were going shoot in November, but we shot in August,” said Ian Kessner, writer and director of the film.


“(At that time of the year) Parry Sound turns into a tourist trap, everything goes up in price, so we regrouped and found Sudbury, but we went to Parry Sound just for the exterior shots.”


Kessner enjoyed his time in Sudbury.


“It was great,” Kessner said. “Sudbury is quiet and while I was up there I didn’t get much partying, but the location is beautiful. You’re not shooting in middle of city, you’re not distracted and I love going on location, and Sudbury was just so cool, has that landscape, and the people were great.”


Producer Eric Gozlan of Goldrush Entertainment applied and received a partial grant from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.


“I enjoyed the people and crew in Sudbury,” Gozlan said. “It was a wonderful experience. They have some up-and-coming talent down there.


“It’s never easy putting these things together, it’s always a challenge. Making a movie is like a moving bullet, it just goes, once it takes off there’s no stopping it, you gotta keep pace and finish the finish line.”


Lost After Dark is set in 1984 and is about Adrienne, a straight-A student, who joins her quarterback crush Sean and some friends in sneaking out of their high school dance for some unsupervised mayhem.


Vice-principal Mr. C sets off to track down the students. Meanwhile, the teens’ party plans hit a snag when they run out of gas on a deserted road.


They head out on foot and discover a rundown farmhouse where they hope to find help. Instead, they find themselves at the mercy of Junior Joad, a cannibal killer from an urban legend.


Joad relentlessly hunts them down.


Lost After Dark is now out on DVD, and is a homage told in retro style that takes audiences back to the 80s, when slasher films ruled the box office.


“I thought it was a very entertaining project and it was about Ian’s vision,” Gozlan said. “My beliefs in Ian as a director – he worked hard to write the script. He did a good job and I always loved movies from the 80s and thought it would be fun to do a throwback.”


This movie stars Eve Harlow (The 100), Stephan James (Selma), Jesse Camacho (Less Than Kind), Elise Gatien (Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days), Alexander Calvert (Lost Boys: The Tribe), Lanie McAuley (Scarecrow), and David Lipper (Dying Of The Light).


It also features cameos from Sarah Fisher (Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Rick Rosenthal (director of Halloween II and Halloween: Resurrection).

Lost After Dark is Kessner’s directing debut.


The film industry in Northern Ontario, especially in Sudbury, is growing, Kessner added.


“I realized there was a young, growing, fast film community there,” Kessner said. “I know the film industry in Sudbury is booming. I feel like the film industry is getting bigger by the month.”


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Rightscorp to Monitor Highly Anticipated Film Release of “Lost After Dark”

Rightscorp (OTCQB: RIHT), a leading provider of data and analytic services to support artists and owners of copyrighted property, announced today that it will be monitoring the film Lost After Dark for digital piracy and illegal downloads.  This marks the first time Rightscorp has monitored for piracy prior to the actual release of a film.  Lost After Dark is scheduled for a North American release on September 1, 2015 on Blu-Ray, DVD, and for VOD rentals.  Although the film was pre-released for Video On Demand (VOD) sales last weekend on iTunes, Amazon, Xbox Video, PSN and Vudu, Rightscorp has already identified thousands of illegal downloads from unauthorized websites streaming the film.


Lost After Dark, produced by Goldrush Entertainment, is a homage to the golden age of slasher films from the 80’s.  The story centers around a group of high-school teens that run out of gas on a deserted road and become pitted against a cannibal killer from an urban legend.  It is the perfect film for classic horror fans, as well as younger audiences looking for some scary fun.  Lost After Dark, directed by filmmaker Ian Kessner, has received terrific advance reviews, which would account for the large number of illegal downloads Rightscorp has identified.


“People who pirate films are passionate about seeing them, but they have to understand that on an indie production like Lost After Dark there are many hard sacrifices.  When someone pirates an indie film like ours they are actually hurting the people who made it.  In addition, if the film doesn’t make money, there won’t be an opportunity for a sequel.  At the end of the day I can only hope that whoever pirates this film will also buy a copy to support our hard work,” said Ian Kessner, Director, Co-Writer, and Co-Executive Producer of Lost After Dark.


“Most people think of illegally downloaded movies as only coming from major movie studios. The fact is, however, that all movies suffer from piracy, and the economic damage is even more detrimental for the smaller, independent producers,” said Christopher Sabec, CEO of Rightscorp. “Our goal is to make people aware how illegally downloading an independent film directly damages the talented team that made the movie and inhibits the growth of their future artistic endeavors.”


About Rightscorp, Inc.


Rightscorp (RIHT) is a leading provider of data and analytic services to support artists and owners of copyrighted Intellectual Property (IP). The Company’s patent pending digital loss prevention technology focuses on the infringement of rights to digital content such as music, movies, software, books and games and ensures that owners and creators are rightfully paid for their IP. Rightscorp implements existing laws to resolve copyright infringements by collecting payments from illegal file sharing activities via notifications sent through Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The Company’s technology identifies copyright infringers, who are offered a reasonable settlement option in comparison to the legal liability defined in the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act (DMCA). Based on the fact that 22% of all Internet traffic is used to distribute copyrighted content without permission or compensation to the creators, Rightscorp is pursuing an estimated $2.3 billion opportunity and has monetized major media titles through relationships with industry leaders.


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SOURCE Rightscorp, Inc.


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The Aisle Seat “Lost After Dark” Review

LOST AFTER DARK Blu-Ray (85 mins., 2015, Not Rated; Anchor Bay): Ian Kessner’s directorial debut is yet another homage to ‘80s slashers – but unlike other overhyped salutes to Carpenter and the like (“It Follows,” anyone?), “Lost After Dark” gets the job done in its throwback atmosphere and mood. Kendra Timmins stars as a smart girl whose crush on her school’s quarterback (Justin Kelly) lands her – and a group of their classmates – on a desert road leading to a lonely farmhouse belonging to your friendly neighborhood cannibal (Mark Wiebe). Fairly stylish for what it is, “Lost After Dark” should engage genre buffs when it streets on Blu-Ray September 1st. Anchor Bay’s 1080p (1.78) transfer and Dolby TrueHD soundtrack are both top-notch.