Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Ethridge.
Chris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My interest in making films began when I moved to Athens, GA after college. I made several early films while I was there and basically learned the art and craft of filmmaking through a series of shorts that my friends and I worked on. After I moved to Atlanta, I met Stacey Palmer, my long-time Producer and co-owner of Blue Dusk Productions. We started with an authorization adaptation of the Stephen King short story, “Survivor Type”, which premiered at the Buried Alive Film Festival here in Atlanta back in 2011, and was well-received on the festival circuit. We turned that success into our first feature film, “The Morningside Monster”, which was filmed mostly around Lawrenceville with the gracious support of the city. The film featured several Atlanta actors, including Robert Pralgo and Amber Chaney. The film was a success, but like many filmmakers will tell you, the distribution process is complicated and frustrating, and I was unhappy with how things turned out.
Around this time, I had lunch with a friend, Diego Kirsch, and we began brainstorming ways to better handle film distribution. He had a lot of experience with marketing and logistics, and I was knowledgeable about the film world (particularly independent horror) and had a software development background. Together we came up with HorrorPack, which is a DVD and Blu-ray subscription service that sends out physical discs each month to our subscribers. We license an independent film each month from a variety of independent filmmakers and we’re proud of the releases we’ve been able to put out, for films that might not have otherwise received a physical edition. We recently celebrated our fourth anniversary and we are still going strong.
At the end of 2018, I completed my second feature film with Stacey and our other producing-partner-in-crime, Michael H. Harper. “Haven’s End” was shot in Atlanta and in Appling, GA, outside of Augusta. It features Georgia natives Catherine Taber, Megan Hayes, and Hannah Fierman. We just finished up a successful festival circuit run, and the film is currently headed towards distribution in the next few months.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t know that smooth roads exist for indie films. I’ve certainly seen my share of challenges, including stolen props from film sets during a shoot, the learning curve that comes with growing into larger projects, and the inevitable difficulties of running multiple small businesses. But I try and approach every challenge as a learning opportunity, and my ultimate intent is to reach solutions that serve the story or the project, and that are fair and equitable to anyone involved. Independent film, specifically, has been the single greatest education of my entire life – one that continues to this day.
Please tell us about Blue Dusk Productions and HorrorPack. What should we know?
Blue Dusk Productions exists exclusively to support the narrative films of myself and Stacey Palmer. We only make the projects that we want to make and tell the stories that we want to tell. We generally make genre films, horror and thriller mostly, though our next project will be an action-drama. We’ve made two feature films, “The Morningside Monster” and “Haven’s End”, as well as several short films.
HorrorPack is a Blu-ray and DVD subscription service for horror fans, particularly fans of independent horror and the independent horror film festival community. Our subscription fee includes four discs sent to the subscriber each month – theirs to keep, it’s not a rental. One disc every month is a licensed independent film that we are able to offer to fans that often times they would be able to get anywhere else. Diego Kirsch and I started the company in 2015, and we continue to run it to this day. Our main warehouse is located outside of Athens, GA. Our website is horrorpack.com. I’m extremely proud of our unusual business model which has allowed us to flourish as a niche product in the physical media marketplace.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think there are two things that define my success to this point. 1) I believe strongly that the work is the important thing, and pretty much everything I do is in service of the story and the film being made. Accolades are nice, but I’ve seen way too many instances where the desire for awards or recognition becomes the driving priority, and that’s never good for the work or the individual. 2) I think it is extremely vital to be kind and practice some humility. Independent filmmakers often ask the people who work with them to do complex, skilled things for little or no money, to support the project vision, and the least I, or anyone in my position, can do in that position is treat those people with respect.
- HorrorPack Blu-ray Service – $24.99/month for four Blu-rays
- HorrorPack DVD Service – $19.99/month for four DVDs
- Website: horrorpack.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/chrisethridgefilm
- Facebook: facebook.com/thehorrorpack
- Twitter: twitter.com/horrorpack
- Other: bluedusk.com
The Teaser cast and crew picture was taken by Ed Selby. The picture of me on the set of Haven’s End was taken by Anthony Nguyen. I have permission to use both.
The picture with Vanessa Ionta Wright was taken at the Women in Horror Film Festival and I believe WIHFF has the rights to all of those images for promotion. The same image was used in the VoyageATL profile of Vanessa.
The other three images are mine from my cell phone, taken by friends.