All this month, 20th Digital Studio is premiering a wild selection of genre-bending short films for Halloween 2020. Ranging from horror comedy to psychological thrillers and everything in between, these films were created by a diverse group of 30 exciting new filmmakers from different countries, identities, and backgrounds. 20th Digital Studio’s continuing mission is to guide and finance the growth of these filmmakers’ careers beyond this program, and in this weekly series, we’re introduced to the artists behind these scaretacular shorts. Today we get to know Matt Bieler, whose film VISIBLE is now screening across digital and broadcast platforms, via Freeform, FX, and Hulu’s Huluween platform hub and YouTube channel.
What draws you to the horror genre?
Everything! On the surface, there’s nothing like the adrenaline rush of seeing a great horror film. For me personally, the genre elicits a visceral and emotional reaction like no other. As far as the storytelling goes…I find the genre is an interesting doorway in to dig around and explore the darker canals of humanity. Monsters, ghosts, masked killers, aliens… They’re all a metaphor for something within or outside of us, all of which asks some great questions. Who are we really? What is it that truly scares us and why?
Who or what are your biggest influences as a filmmaker?
The what influences is tough to articulate. Sometimes an idea comes and it’s tough to get out of your head…for me, that’s probably an idea worth investigating further. As far as the who…countless photographers, musicians, and the usual filmmaker legends: Carpenter, Cronenberg, Coppola, Tarkovsky, Kubrick, Spielberg, Tony & Ridley Scott, Fincher, etc.
What do you hope viewers take away from your film?
For VISIBLE, yes it’s a ghost story on the surface and every bit of craft from the lighting to the music is designed to wrap that warm familiar genre blanket around the viewer, but ultimately, in the end, it’s a commentary on grief and how teenagers/kids process loss. The great thing about horror is…yes it’s great if the humanity allegory is realized by the viewer, but for the ones that don’t totally wrap their heads around the “true meaning” of the story that’s fine too – as long as they had fun on the ride, maybe got a goosebumps or two, mission accomplished!
Stay tuned for more mini interviews with Bite Size Halloween filmmakers every week this month!