10 Years of Blumhouse Presents: THE EVOLUTION OF BLUMHOUSE Panel Discussion
November 8, 2019, 7:30 P.M.
The Frank Sinatra Hall at the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre Complex, 3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007
10 Years of Blumhouse Presents:
The Evolution of Blumhouse
A Panel Discussion with Blumhouse Filmmakers
Founder of Blumhouse Productions
Actress, Insidious Franchise, Ouija, Ouija: Original of Evil
Writer/Director, New Year New You, Black Christmas
Actor/Writer, Insidious Franchise
Director, Insidious: Chapter 3, Writer/Director, Upgrade
Co-President of Blumhouse Television
Moderated by SCA Faculty DR. REBEKAH MCKENDRY
Co-Host of Blumhouse's SHOCK WAVES Podcast
7:30 P.M. on Friday, November 8th, 2019
The Frank Sinatra Hall at the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre Complex
3507 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90007
FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. RSVPs REQUIRED.
About the Panelists
Blum is founder of Blumhouse Productions, is a three-time Academy Award®-nominated, two-time Primetime Emmy Award and a two-time Peabody Award-winning producer. His multimedia company is known for pioneering a new model of studio filmmaking: producing high-quality micro-budget films.
Blumhouse is widely regarded as a driving force in the current horror renaissance, and through the company, Blum’s feature film credits include: Ma, starring Octavia Spencer; the 2019 film Glass from M. Night Shyamalan; 2017 blockbusters Split from M. Night Shyamalan; Get Out from Jordan Peele; Halloween; BlacKkKlansman; The Gift; Unfriended; The Visit, among others; and the highly profitable franchises that include The Purge, Insidious, Sinister and Paranormal Activity.
The company's upcoming releases include Black Christmas from director Sophia Takal; Fantasy Island from director Jeff Wadlow; and The Invisible Man, starring Elisabeth Moss, from director Leigh Whannell.
Blum’s television company, run by Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold, successfully relaunched three years ago as a vibrant independent studio producing 11 series with over $100m in annual production revenue. Blumhouse Television currently has over 10 projects in production with different networks and streaming platforms, including but not limited to Sharp Objects, Sacred Lies and The Purge based on the successful film franchise. The company is currently in production on Into The Dark, a first-of-its-kind ongoing monthly horror anthology series, and also struck a deal for a series of eight straight to streaming films from underrepresented filmmakers. The indie studio has also earned critical acclaim, including a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for Sharp Objects and Emmy awards for its productions of The Normal Heart and The Jinx. The Good Lord Bird, a limited series for Showtime, starring Ethan Hawke, is currently in production. The division also produced feature-length documentaries, with projects that include: This Is Home, the 2018 Sundance Audience Award winner (World Documentaries) and recipient of the prestigious duPont/Columbia School of Journalism Award and Bathtubs Over Broadway, the lauded documentary.
Blum has appeared on Vanity Fair’s "New Establishment List" each year since 2015, received the 2016 Producer of the Year Award at CinemaCon and was named to the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people in 2017. He is a member of the Sundance Institute’s Director’s Advisory Group. He also serves on the Board of the Public Theater in New York and the Board of Trustees for Vassar College. Before founding Blumhouse, Blum served as co-head of the Acquisitions and Co-Productions department at Miramax Films in New York. He began his career as the producing director of the Malaparte Theater Company, which was founded by Ethan Hawke.
He is married to journalist and screenwriter Lauren Blum and they have a daughter, Roxy, and a son, Booker.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Lin Shaye loved "story telling" so much, even as a child and knew that she was destined to act. She performed in plays at the University of Michigan where she was an art history major, but missing the theater so much, was accepted into Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts program in acting, from which she graduated. While in NY she also studied with Uta Hagan, Stella Adler, and Lee Strasberg.
After graduation, she worked with the best and brightest in New York theater, including the infamous Joseph Papp. Some of the highlights include Tartuffe at the New York Shakespeare Festival, and The Taking of Miss Janie at Lincoln Center (which won the Drama Critics Award).
Shaye made her film debut in New York in Hester Street where she portrayed a Polish prostitute, to her mother’s chagrin. Shortly thereafter, she flew to Los Angeles after hearing that Jack Nicholson was interested in meeting her for the role. She was cast in his film Goin’ South.
Upon her move to Los Angeles, her love of theater inspired her and twelve other actors to put together a theater company called the Los Angeles Theater Unit which lasted for a decade and earned many awards. Her most memorable performance was in the original play Better Days which earned her a Drama-Logue Award for Best Actress.
Lin has become undoubtedly one of the industry’s greatest chameleons. The Farrelly Brothers cast her in a series of memorable characters beginning with their 1994 hit comedy Dumb and Dumber, on to the infamous landlady in Kingpin opposite Woody Harrelson, and then as ‘Magda,’ the sun-withered neighbor of Cameron Diaz in their hit There’s Something About Mary.
Shaye was also unforgettable as the KISS-hating mom in Detroit Rock City and as Sonia, the tough German/Swedish coach in Boat Trip with Cuba Gooding, Jr. In a dramatic change of pace, she received critical acclaim in The Hillside Strangler as the alcoholic mother opposite Nick Turturro and C. Thomas Howell.
The horror genre also found Lin, starting with a cult favorite, Critters and then onto Wes Craven’s Nightmare on Elm Street which paved the way for more in the genre. She worked on a trio of movies with director Tim Sullivan:, 2001 Maniacs, starring opposite Robert Englund, its sequel, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams and Sullivan’s Chillerama. Shaye also starred in the thriller Snakes on a Plane opposite Samuel L. Jackson, and the independent films The Signal starring Lawrence Fishburn, Jack Goes Home, Abattoir and Buster's Mal Heart.
In 2010 she found herself in the blockbuster hit Insidious directed by James Wan, which led to Insidious Chapter 2, Insidious: Chapter 3, and the blockbuster hit Insidious: The Last Key in which she now had become according to James Wan: "the name of the franchise."
Shaye most recently starred in The Midnight Man reuniting with Robert Englund. She currently is receiving rave reviews for her role of Joyce in Tommy Stovall's Room for Rent which she also serves as co-producer. She next stars in Sony's Grudge re-imagining directed by Nicolas Pesce.
Shaye has a solid resume in television as well with guest appearances which include American Gothic, and Still the King on CMT. She will next have a recurring role in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful series.
She resides in Los Angeles and is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio.
Sophia Takal directed the award-winning and critically-acclaimed film Always Shine starring Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald. The film played at the Venice Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival where it won the Best Actress Award for Davis. Takal’s debut film, Green, which she wrote, directed and starred in, premiered at SXSW where Takal won the SXSW Emerging Female Director Award. The film went on to receive a Gotham Award nomination. As an actor, Takal’s credits include John Slattery's God's Pocket; Joe Swanberg's All the Light in the Sky, Lawrence Michael Levine's Wild Canaries and Ti West's V/H/S. Takal co-wrote and directed New Year, New You, the January instalment of the Into the Dark Hulu horror anthology. Sophia is also currently in post-production on the Blumhouse / Universal feature Black Christmas, which she directed and co-wrote, that will be released on Friday December 13th, 2019.
Leigh Whannell has steadily gained recognition for his contributions to film through his writing, acting and now directing and was named one of Variety’s 10 Directors to Watch with his directorial debut INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 (film three in the highly successful franchise he co-created).
Whannell’s follow up film, original sci-fi thriller UPGRADE, which he wrote and directed for Blumhouse/Goalpost Pictures, premiered at SXSW, winning the Midnighters Audience Award, and was released by BH Tilt on June 1, 2018. Whannell is currently in post-production on his next feature film THE INVISIBLE MAN, which he wrote and directed for Universal Pictures/Blumhouse.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Whannell began his career as an actor. He was also a presenter on the cult hit TV series RECOVERY, which he later went on to host in its last two seasons. As a film critic on RECOVERY, Whannell interviewed names such as George Clooney, Jackie Chan and Tim Burton.
Whannell, the co-creator of SAW, studied film at the prestigious Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, where he met filmmaker James Wan and where they started developing ideas together, including the 2004 Lionsgate release SAW, which Whannell wrote and starred in. In addition to his work on the screenplay for SAW II, Whannell wrote and starred in SAW III and is an Executive Producer on the SAW Franchise. He is also a creative consultant on the SAW video game. The franchise is recognized as one of the Most Successful Horror Movie Series and named so by the Guinness World Records in 2010. The latest installment featuring Chris Rock will be released May 15, 2020, by Lionsgate.
Whannell’s other produced writing credits include the Universal release DEAD SILENCE and the Sony/Film District releases INSIDIOUS, which premiered at Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness and was named the most profitable film of 2011, and INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, in which he stars alongside Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey. INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3, which he wrote and directed, stars Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson and himself as “Specs”. The film was released by Focus Features/Gramercy Pictures and grossed over $112M worldwide. The latest chapter of the INSIDIOUS franchise, INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY starring Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson and Whannell, from a script he wrote, was released on January 5, 2018. Whannell is also a producer on the film.
Whannell co-wrote, executive produced, and starred in the Australian drama THE MULE, which premiered at SXSW 2014 followed by a release that same year, and COOTIES, a horror comedy which he co-wrote with Ian Brennan (GLEE). COOTIES, also starring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2014 as part of the popular Park City at Midnight section and was released by Lionsgate September 2015.
Whannell’s other acting credits include the Warner Bros. release MATRIX RELOADED, the Fox release DEATH SENTENCE, the independent feature THE PARDON starring Jaime King, the Australian feature DYING BREED, which premiered at Tribeca, a character voice in Warner Bros.’ LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE, and the thrillers CRUSH for Intrepid Pictures, HOME INVASION for Voltage Pictures and Zinc Entertainment, and THE BYE BYE MAN for STX Entertainment and Intrepid Pictures.
Whannell received The Overlook Film Festival Visionary Award in 2018 and in 2004 received the Greg Tepper Award, a prestigious award for outstanding achievement in Film.
Marci Wiseman is co-President of Blumhouse Television. Wiseman (along with co-President Jeremy Gold) is growing the footprint of Blumhouse’s independent television studio, managing its portfolio of scripted and unscripted TV series, supervising creative development and production and overseeing distribution strategies across all platforms. Wiseman and Gold are leading the expansion of the Blumhouse brand beyond horror content to explore not only genre material, but also dark, provocative subject matter with projects like “Loudest Voice in the Room, the Roger Ailes story,” a limited series for Showtime with Academy Award-winning writer/director Tom McCarthy and starring Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Russell Crowe in the title role, based on the book by acclaimed journalist, Gabe Sherman.
Since joining Blumhouse in 2016, Wiseman and Gold successfully concluded a capital raise of $40 million and currently have close to $100m in annual production revenue. During that time, the company has launched series including “Sharp Objects” for HBO (based on Gillian Flynn's novel from Marti Noxon and Jean-Marc Valle and starring Amy Adams); “Sacred Lies” for Facebook Watch (from Raelle Tucker and Scott Winant); “The Purge” for USA/Syfy based on the successful Purge film franchise; and is currently in production on “Into The Dark,” a first-of-its-kind 12 episode monthly horror anthology series for Hulu; “No One Saw a Thing” (w/t), a true crime documentary series for SundanceTV; another documentary series for f/x with acclaimed “Jinx” producer, Marc Smerling and featuring Errol Morris, and an unnamed real-time crime investigative series for Oxygen. Blumhouse Television has also earned critical acclaim and numerous honors for its dark, edgy fare including Emmy awards for its productions of HBO's “The Normal Heart” and “The Jinx,” as well as the prestigious Peabody award for “The Jinx” and the documentary “How to Dance in Ohio.”
Wiseman and Gold have also built a significant feature-length documentary division, with five projects currently in development and completed documentaries in the marketplace, including “This Is Home,” the 2018 Sundance Audience Award winner (World Documentaries), aired on EPIX in June of 2018 and “Bathtubs Over Broadway,” which was awarded the Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and won the Documentary Feature Audience Award at 23rd annual Nantucket Film Festival.
A significant majority of Wiseman’s TV career has been spent building and growing independent content play television companies. As a long-time executive at AMC, Wiseman launched AMC Studios, whose first series was the mega-hit “The Walking Dead” and for which Wiseman orchestrated the unprecedented day-and-date global release of the series. Wiseman was responsible for the growth of AMC’s library of owned content with series such as “Turn, Halt and Catch Fire,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “Into the Badlands” and “Rectify;” and for launching AMC’s foray into international co-production with “Night Manager.” As the sole executive responsible for building AMC’s highly successful distribution business, Wiseman brokered the cable group’s first exclusive SVOD deal with Netflix in 2011, its 2015 SVOD deal with Hulu, as well as long-term distribution deals with eOne and Anchor Bay.
Before joining Blumhouse, Wiseman was Executive Vice President, Global Production and Business Affairs at eOne Television and was instrumental in negotiating key deals with Amazon for global rights to series such as “Fear the Walking Dead” and “Into the Badlands” and oversaw international co-production in Canada, France, and the UK.
From 2000-2010, Wiseman was the owner of a boutique, specialized business development consulting firm developing, designing and managing new business models for various clients. Major highlights include: launching fox21 (the first major studio arm to specialize in cable TV series); working for FOX on dozens of pioneering, breakout reality series, including American Idol and Joe Millionaire; building the business model for Fremantle’s entrée into scripted drama in the U.S. Wiseman previously ran business affairs at Pressman Films and served as a VP, Business Affairs on the feature side at Columbia (Sony) Pictures. Wiseman also took a brief leave from the entertainment industry and served in the Riordan administration as Assistant Deputy Mayor, Economic Development for the city of Los Angeles.
Wiseman was named to 2012 Variety Women of Impact List and was a 2013 Honoree at the JDRF LA Gala.
Wiseman received her law degree from New York University and began her career at O’Melveny & Myers and earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University.
DR. REBEKAH MCKENDRY, PhD (Moderator)
Rebekah McKendry, PhD is an award-winning film and television director with a strong focus in the horror and science fiction genres. She is the co-host of the popular Blumhouse Production’s podcast Shock Waves, as well as a film professor at the University of Southern California. Rebekah previously has worked as the Editor-in-chief at Blumhouse Productions and as the Director of Marketing for Fangoria Entertainment. She has a doctorate focused in Media Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University focused in horror media.
About 10 Years of Blumhouse:
From Paranormal Activity to Get Out and Beyond
In 2009, Blumhouse Productions released Paranormal Activity, a micro-budget supernatural thriller that went on to achieve surprise success and spawn five sequels. Since then, Jason Blum’s multimedia company has scored hit after hit while balancing tightly controlled budgets with an unheard-of level of artistic freedom granted to their filmmakers. In addition to building major franchises out of Paranormal Activity, The Purge, and Insidious, Blumhouse has produced award-winning features such as Whiplash, Get Out, and BlacKkKlansman—all nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
To celebrate Blumhouse’s tenth anniversary, the USC School of Cinematic Arts is proud to exhibit a curated selection of props, costumes, photography, and artwork, from across dozens of Blumhouse productions, from Monday, August 26th - Sunday, December 8th, 2019 in the Hugh M. Hefner Exhibition Hall, located in the lobby of the George Lucas Building at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex.
Learn more about the Exhibit and calendar of screenings at http://cinema.usc.edu/Blumhouse
Check-In & Reservations
This event is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.
All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $14.00 at the USC Royal Street Entrance, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & Royal Street. We recommend the USC Royal Street Structure, at the far end of 34th Street. Limited street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.
This program is generously sponsored by
For more information about upcoming programming and events offered by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative, please visit their website.
Name: Alessandro Ago