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Kent State grad transforms Stephen King short story into movie

The project was able to happen through King’s Dollar Baby Program
October Roses.jpg
Posted at 6:10 AM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 06:12:06-04

KENT, Ohio  — Horror icon and author Stephen King is showing some love to the Land.

With his blessing--local filmmakers have successfully optioned one of his short stories into a movie.

They were able to make this project a reality through King’s Dollar Baby Program.

It allows moviemakers to buy the rights to his short stories for just a dollar.

Production on the film starts later this summer, and some Kent State students and alumni are lending a hand.

"Horror for me had always been there for me when I had been growing up. For me, horror is an escape, a coping skill after a stressful day," said Brandon Lazenko, Director and producer of October Roses.

Lazenko, a Kent State graduate, has successfully turned a hobby of watching scary movies into a film production career.

From the pages of a book to the big screen, the Northeast Ohio native alongside Shelby Wyant is transforming one of beloved author Stephen King’s short stories into a 40-minute-long movie.

They've also managed to enlist the skills of critically acclaimed director, special effects makeup artist, producer, and Crestline, Ohio native Robert Kurtzman as executive producer alongside his wife Marcy King.

"Robert Kurtzman is a horror industry icon. He wrote and produced from Dusk Til Dawn, and he's done the special effects makeup for Quentin Tarantino, Sam Raimi, the Russo Brothers," said Lazenko.

The film is called “October Roses” and is based on King’s 1978 short story “Nona.”

The vast majority of the cast and crew are from the greater Cleveland area.

Kent State students are playing an integral part in the project by working in front of and behind the scenes-- including Giana Vigliotti a Senior, Electronic Media Production major who is thrilled to make up for lost time.

"With the pandemic, there was a lot of time wasted, I feel. So I feel like an experience like this will be really good for me cause getting on set and actually getting to be hands-on was a really good experience."

Huron and Richland counties will offer a backdrop for the story about a man who is caught in a repeat of his own life.

He meets Nona who is seeking vengeance and out for blood.

Lazenko says it’s a dream come true to be able to shoot and produce a film in Northeast Ohio.

He says it's even more rewarding to give back to Kent students who are looking to get their feet wet in the industry-- just like he did back in the day.

"This is a really great educational opportunity for these students to take what they learned in a classroom and bring it on to set and show these industry professionals--hey I got what it takes."

"A lot of us are Ohio natives. There's a growing community of filmmakers here. Not only in Ohio but from Kent State as well," said Connor Mutnansky, production assistant and associate producer of October Roses.

Lazenko says several people have reached out to participate in the project and many of them were actually extras in Shawshank Redemption which was shot in the same area.

The team is still actively securing funding for the project.

Because it's an educational project--it's set up as a non-profit.

Funds raised will help offset the cost of various expenses including housing.

You can donate to fund the project through the Seed and Spark campaign here: October Roses | Seed&Spark (seedandspark.com).

The non-profit is called "Refuge" and is located in Youngstown, Ohio.

October Roses | Seed&SparkWe're a team of horror super fans ready to bring a Stephen King gem to life. Our film will juxtapose modern SFX effects and film techniques with the essence of the America King wrote about. We're committed to pushing the envelope and providing quality scares for our viewers!seedandspark.com
October Roses | Seed&SparkWe're a team of horror super fans ready to bring a Stephen King gem to life. Our film will juxtapose modern SFX effects and film techniques with the essence of the America King wrote about. We're committed to pushing the envelope and providing quality scares for our viewers!seedandspark.com