Screen scene: Local film news

FEAR FACTOR: Matt Burke films a night scene on location for "Possession," the pilot episode of Asheville director Ben Carland's new series, "Monster of the Week." Photo by Eric Anderson

• The Asheville-set satirical Web comedy “Transplanting” holds a free holiday party Wednesday, Dec. 9, at The Mothlight. The evening begins at 8 p.m. and includes a screening of each episode up to the series’ never-before-seen holiday installments, stand-up comedy by event emcee Chase McNeill, performances by local troupe Blacklist Improv (several of whose members are in the “Transplanting” cast), an affordable raffle for desirable prizes and more.

The series is co-created by Lea McLellan and Andrew Vasco and chronicles the adventures of millennial Maeve (Hayley Heninger) as she discovers the many quirks that make Asheville equal parts wonderful and ridiculous.

• In the tradition of “The X-Files,” the original “Twilight Zone” and “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” Asheville director Ben Carland has launched a new short film project called “Monster of the Week.” Each episode in the series is a standalone horror, sci-fi, thriller or hybrid story running approximately 30 minutes. The pilot “Possession” was filmed in Flat Rock in mid-October and follows the struggles of recently divorced father Bart (Matt Burke) to keep custody of his young son Miles (Reid Meadows) and the changes that occur once something crashes in the woods behind their house.

Carland is aiming for 10 total episodes in the first season — a self-professed moderate number so that each story may receive maximum attention on the production and editing fronts — and will soon be accepting pitches from area writers. Interested parties are invited to register on Carland’s Pixel Pictures website and will be notified via email once the submission process opens. Writers whose scripts are green-lighted will be financially compensated.

Much of the team that made “Possession” will be involved in the subsequent episodes, adjusting the crew size depending on the needs of each story with casting done independently each time. “I hope to accrue some familiar faces throughout the show, but that will boil down to the best fits for the selected episodes,” Carland says. “One of my favorite elements of the show is the local-grown approach to every aspect of its creation. Almost all of the cast and crew are local to the region, and we’re planning to do the same with each episode.”

Carland predicts that “Monster of the Week” will likely be released through video-on-demand platforms but is open to other possibilities. “There’s an exciting range of content networks sprouting up seemingly overnight these days, so there are lots of options and combinations to consider,” he says. Whatever form the release takes, Carland hopes to have a public screening at a local movie theater, either just of “Possession” or a marathon of multiple episodes.

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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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