SNOWFORT PICTURES has been behind some of the latest and greatest—and most unique—genre releases. Starry Eyes (2014, Dark Sky Films), a personal favorite of mine, was a dark and devilish look at what some may sacrifice for the promise of Hollywood fame. Writers/Directors Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer made a bloody and unsettling, thoroughly well made horror flick, with one of the most beautiful and haunting soundracks (released on stunning vinyl by Waxwork Records). All the poster art for the film leaned toward the minimalist side but with obvious ominous and Satanic undertones. Everything about Starry Eyes was so complimentary to itself, and it was a refreshing and enjoyable addition to what Travis Stevens, the founder and CEO of SNOWFORT PICTURES, has come to consistently deliver — quality, engaging, horrific indie cinema.
It’s hard to imagine that, up until this last year, Travis Stevens was running SNOWFORT solo. He was singlehandedly responsible for bringing some of the best projects of recent years to light. A Horrible Way To Die (2011) was Stevens’ first extremely successful film backed by SNOWFORT. The movie, created by Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett, caught the attention of fans and critics alike, winning BEST ACTOR, BEST ACTRESS, and BEST SCREENPLAY at the 2011 Fantastic Fest Film Festival.
In 2013, the good cinematic vibes continued with the hard-to-forget Cheap Thrills (Drafthouse Films), winning The AUDIENCE AWARD at SXSW that year as well as BEST FEATURE at The Boston Underground Film Festival. Within this same year, one of the most phenomenal documentaries ever made, Jodorowsky’s Dune (Sony Classics) was also released to critical acclaim. At the 2013 Fantastic Fest Film Festival, Jodorowsky’s Dune snagged BEST DOCUMENTARY. At the Imagine and Stiges Film Festivals, it received the BEST FEATURE prize. The acknowledgments were many, and Travis Stevens was well on his way to solidifying what has been described as ” a boutique production company specializing in smarter than average (elevated) genre movies.
Most recently, it was the collaboration of SNOWFORT, Director Ted Geoghegan, and the mighty talented team behind the film We Are Still Here (2015, Dark Sky) which sent praise Stevens’ direction. The movie really is a marvel. I was honestly not expecting such a breathtaking film when I initially sat down to watch it. To merely deem it a standard ‘haunted house’ movie is severely limiting its potential audience and overall enjoyment. It’s unpredictable, creepy, well acted, and exquisitely filmed, earning the JURY AWARD at Fantaspoa International Fantastic Film Fest for BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS.
Aiming to repeat the magic which was achieved on We Are Still Here, Stevens and Geoghegan will be teaming up again on the upcoming production of Satanic Panic. The screenplay for Satanic Panic, written by Grady Hendrix, will supply audiences with what Ted Geoghegan described as, “a surprisingly badass female hero.” The story will follow the all-night foray of a young woman fighting a cultish group of wealthy preppie community leaders.
Travis’ times of riding solo are history. His uncanny knack for finding independent films that deserve to get made and seen has garnered him much well-deserved success. To support his company’s tremendous growth, he’s assembled his own ‘dream team’ to assist him. With over a decade of work within the genre film industry, Stephanie Trepanier was named Director of Development. David Lawson Jr., who has also found success producing such titles as Spring and VHS Viral, was named Head of Production. These talented industry veterans join Stevens (the man from Brattleboro, VT, who still skateboards regularly and is quite good at it), promising an even brighter future for Snowfort Pictures and a productive and fruitful year ahead in 2016.
As evidence of that, Snowfort has already announced a partnership with UK’s Alliance Media Partners (AMP). Three films have already been slated thus far, all to be developed and produced by Stevens and Bob Portal for AMP. Each company is eager to build a presence across the pond and seems to share in the goal of bringing unparalleled genre entertainment our way. The first film up will be 68 Kill from Trent Haaga of Cheap Thrills fame.
SNOWFORT has much more planned for production in the near future, including my most anticipated film, the all female horror anthology XX (Magnet Releasing). Hopefully Jennifer Lynch can take a break soon from directing Walking Dead episodes to focus on her submission for XX. Filmmaker and previous editor of Rue Morgue magazine, Jovanka Vuckovich, has already completed her contribution to the anthology, with Karyn Kusama (Jennifers Body, The Invitation) and Mary Harron (American Psycho) scheduled to complete their respectful projects for XX in early 2016.
With numerous appearances on various Film Juries and serving as guest panelist multiple times, Travis Stevens, to me, epitomizes a man who heard his calling in life, embracing it wholeheartedly. He has gone from acting as an extra in such films as Jingle All The Way and Starship Troopers, to co founding the Los Angeles Erotic Film Festival: Pink Bubblebath, to becoming a formidable force within the industry. He is aware of what works, and has a keen sense of what aspiring filmmakers are worth taking a chance on.
Since 2009, SNOWFORT has done nothing but excel at its duty of bringing worthwhile cinema to the masses. With the recent partnership with AMP, global genre domination may be in the cards for the hardworking and instinctive bunch at SNOWFORT, and I couldn’t be happier. This is a group of people who refuse to make, fund, or promote anything they don’t believe in, and they strive to bring unique and well-made additions to our beloved genre. Definitely keep on the look out for all of these impending releases and the up-and-coming filmmakers championed by SNOWFORT, because they will symbolize the elite in our brand of entertainment.