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Inside Job

Neal Edelstein Changes Films With Hooked Digital Media

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Neal Edelstein Changes Films With Hooked Digital Media

Neal Edelstein is the man behind “Haunting Melissa,” a horror film available exclusively via an iPhone app that creates an individual screening schedule courtesy of push notifications.

Were you surprised people haven’t done this before?
It’s always hard to find a great story. It’s even harder to get financing. And then it’s really hard to marry the technology and the story. You have to get it there [yourself] in many ways. In Hollywood a lot of people are really successful and doing really well—why waste your time trying to innovate when you get XYZ script made and collect a massive paycheck? I’m not motivated by money; I’m motivated by innovating.

How else is “Haunting Melissa” innovative?
If you go back and watch something, it changes because I went back and shot things. The app gives you the ability to edit in real time. I’m able to create these other layers that change how the story is told. It’s basically a living, breathing object. It just gives you an unbelievable malleability that no storytelling device has ever.

What was the casting process like?
I was really wanting to shoot in this specific area in Alberta, Canada, and I wanted to hire local people. I wanted to create that kind of hermetically sealed film experience. There’s a pocket of people who are super gifted, and I was fortunate to tap into that. I ended up working exactly where I wanted to be.

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