Toronto: Wes Craven Mentored ‘Girl in the Photographs’ Director

“The Girl in the Photographs” director Nick Simon fell in love with horror films at a young age. He watched “Nightmare on Elm Street” in elementary school and later became obsessed with Wes Craven’s other work, growing up loving ’80s horror films.

Years later, Craven was the executive producer of Simon’s second film “The Girl in the Photographs,” a low-budget horror film debuting Sept. 14 at the Toronto Film Festival.

The film follows Colleen (Claudia Lee), a young woman who receives photographs of brutally murdered women in the mail, and celebrity photographer Peter Hemmings (Kal Penn), who travels to Colleen’s small town to investigate the matter.

Simon met Craven in 2011 through a WGA mentor program. For a year Simon, alongside four other horror film lovers, went to monthly dinners at Craven’s house.

“I remember my hands were literally shaking as I went up to knock on the door,” Simon said. “Honestly by the end of that first dinner I felt like I knew him for a long time.”

Toward the end of the mentor program, Simon mentioned that he had a script he’d been working on for a while. Craven read the script, loved it and 10 days later asked Simon how they could make it into a movie.

Up until his death Aug. 30, Craven was heavily involved with everything, including the script, casting and editing.

“Wes was always present and always overseeing the project. It was great to see the fact that Wes was so hands on with the film,” said Dean Cundey, who was the film’s cinematographer.

Before he died, Craven praised Simon. “Sometimes you read a script and you just know. From first draft to final cut, Nick has told a unique story that will leave you wondering: is it always good to be noticed? It has been a pleasure to work with Nick from his days in my WGA mentor group to picture lock. You’ll be hearing from him again,” Craven said in a statement.

Simon is thankful he made “The Girl in the Photographs” with the help of two legends, Craven and Cundey. Looking forward, Simon has a few projects he’s working on. “If I never make another film again, I can rest knowing that I worked with two of the greatest filmmakers ever.” Simon said.

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