PopHorror Interviews ‘Amazon Filmmaker of the Year’ Justin Doescher

Life can be pretty crazy sometimes. One minute you are an extra in a show or film and next thing you know, you are attending The Sundance Film Festival and getting the award for Amazon Filmmaker of the Year. Well, that’s how it was for Justin Doescher anyways! We recently got the chance to chat with him about how he got into film and what is up next for this talented director.


Justin Doescher and fiancee Maggie Binkley, stars of The Break-In

PopHorror: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview! How did you get into making films?

Justin DoescherI joined the SAG union in 2007 and I have been acting and filmmaking full-time ever since. I started making shorts around that time, too, and decided to make my first feature in 2015 called The Break-In.

PopHorror: That is really cool! I am going to be checking out The Break-In on Amazon very soon! What was it like winning The Amazon Video Director award?

Justin Doescher: Truly a life changing experience. They brought me out to The Sundance Film Festival in January of 2017. I was a part of a panel discussion that was hosted by the amazing director and filmmaker Kevin Smith. I met so many great people and incredible actors and filmmakers and then, to top it all off, they gave me the 2017 Filmmaker of the Year Award. It was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life.

Justin Doescher with Kevin Smith at The Sundance Awards 2017

PopHorror: That is amazing! I see that you like to act as well as direct. Do you prefer being in front of the camera or behind it?

Justin Doescher: I definitely prefer making my own films. I love the acting as well, but there is something very cool about putting all of your own thoughts into a film and having a platform like Amazon to present it to a huge, worldwide audience.

PopHorror: Your story is really inspiring! What has been your favorite role so far?

Justin Doescher with Jerome Bettis for a Dick’s Sporting Goods Commercial

Justin Doescher: I had an absolute blast starring in my own feature film The Break-In as I also was able to act along side my future fiancée, Maggie Binkley. It was a very comfortable and an incredibly fun experience creating this together. As far as small roles, I love working on the show House of Cards. It has been such an amazing learning experience for the past 4 years in filmmaking. I have made some great friends who are immensely talented on the crew and I have learned so much from them.

Another weird but fun gig that I have been lucky to have been a part of is body doubling for famous athletes. I have had a pretty steady gig over the past 8 years doubling for Michael Phelps, Eli Manning, and others. What is body doubling, you may ask? Anytime you don’t see the athlete’s face in a commercial, maybe an arm or shoulder or back of their head, that body part is usually a double. So I’ve been able to do that. I have met some amazing athletes and absolutely love being a part of these projects.

PopHorror: I have never heard of body doubling until now, but that is very very cool and I love House of Cards. Who is your favorite director?

Justin DoescherGrowing up, I always loved and watched the old Alfred Hitchcock movies and always loved his trick endings. M. Night Shyamalan has quickly become one of my favorites of late. And Quentin Tarantino will always be a top of that list for me as well. And finally, everything associated with John Hughes.

 PopHorror: You can kind of have your own Shyamalan vibe in your latest feature, The Midnight Matinee. It was so fun. How did you come up with the 5 clever stories?

Justin Doescher: Thank you so much; I’m so happy you enjoyed it. I had already directed and edited a couple shorts that were just sitting on my computer. And I know people don’t tend to watch short films on the internet, so I decided to come up with a way to make a feature out of them and to shoot new shorts to include in the feature as well. I always loved the old Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow movies. So I decided to make an anthology much like them and came up with a central theme.

Once I came up with the title The Midnight Matinee, everything else kind of fell into place. Thinking of an old school matinee, I decided to create a silent film technique for everything in between the short stories and have sarcastic quotes detailing all of the bad things that happened in each story. I also used the creepy clown from story #5, as the host in the poster for the film. I added a tuxedo and top hat to make the clown classy like a host may be, but still creepy enough to draw in the horror audience.

PopHorror: I love hearing back stories on how films come together. It was very well done! Is it possible that you would turn any of the stories into a full-length feature?

Justin Doescher: I thought about that about a year ago for a couple of them. But I think I would really like to make a sequel to The Midnight Matinee with all new stories. I feel that they work a little better in the quick pace of an anthology.

PopHorror: Well, let me know when you do, because I want to watch! What made you chose the stylistic approach for The Midnight Matinee?

Justin DoescherWhen I started thinking about an old school matinee film, with the graininess and the 8mm film effect, I started thinking about how I could make this anthology and incorporate this into it. I always liked the look of those old silent films, so I figured it would be a pretty different and cool concept to make the feature include some of these techniques. Not to mention, I think it adds to the creepiness of the whole film.

PopHorror: You pulled it off beautifully. What upcoming projects do you have?

Justin Doescher: I am going to start writing new stories and hopefully create a sequel to The Midnight Matinee in the next year or so. I’d like to see if people are having a good reaction to this one first, but either way, I love making these films, so I will continue to do so regardless. Hopefully, I can come up with another 5 or 6 cool short stories for the sequel.

PopHorror: I’m excited for it! As I mentioned before, I think your story is so inspiring. Do you have advice for future filmmakers wanting to get into the industry?

Justin DoescherThe best advice I can give anyone is to just do it. If you have a film idea, go out and shoot it. You literally have all of the technology in your pocket, AKA a cell phone with a 1080 resolution camera. An editing program for your laptop is not expensive. If you want to get fancy, buy a cheap rig to use with your phone that includes a mic and some lenses. But don’t wait for someone to come along and finance your idea. Be proactive and just shoot it. You can always find talented actors that are eager to work for you.

If the movie comes out terrible, who cares, at least you got the experience of making a film and know what you would do differently for the next one. Also, if your film comes out pretty decent, you may get an invite from Amazon to come out to Sundance! I promise you, I didn’t make The Break-In thinking that was ever possible. I made it because I love the process of filmmaking. Everything else that may come along is just the sprinkles on top.

Be sure to check out award winning director Justin Doescher’s films on Amazon Prime: The Midnight Matinee and The Break-In!

About Lacylou1122

Lacy Lou has had a love for horror movies pretty much since birth! If you ever need a horror trivia question answered she's your girl!!! She is obsessed with the movie Scream and even has a Ghostface tattoo to prove it! She loves to write and make new friends that share the same interest.

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