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Filmmaker Friends to Screen First Feature Movie Locally Next Week

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A group of seven young filmmakers, including two from Westchester, used their time while unemployed during the pandemic shutdown to write, film and create their first feature-length film, “A Most Atrocious Thing.” It will be screened at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center on Friday, Jan. 13.

Matt Wassong and six close college friends didn’t feel sorry for themselves for too long after earning their college degrees from Chapman University in Orange County, Calif. in the spring of 2020.

Their introduction to the real world was a rude awakening, with a lot of the world shut down under the weight of the pandemic. Separated from the rest of society and with no job prospects, after a few months their ingenuity and creativity kicked in.

“We ended up losing every single opportunity under the sun, every single job. They were like, ‘Nope, sorry, next year,’” said Wassong, a Mamaroneck High School graduate and one of two Westchester residents in the cohort of friends. “We thought what better time to go out and make a movie, and we did.”

The group, all of whom majored in film or a related course of study, accomplished their seemingly crazy dream. They cobbled together a $5,000 “microbudget,” and after having scattered back home to various corners of the U.S., met up at a cabin in Colorado that belonged to the family of one of the members of the group to work on their first feature film, Wassong said.

In about four weeks, they wrote a script and filmed a 75-minute horror-comedy with some equipment they each had from their college days. Whatever they didn’t have – props, clothes, makeup, whatever – they bought at a local Walmart.

The result was “A Most Atrocious Thing.” The basic storyline is a group of friends visit each other for a weekend in a cabin in the woods and they all turn on each other. Wassong is the executive producer; his co-collaborators are Horace Greeley High School graduate Max Shepardson, Chris Hurley, Ben Oliphint, Will Ammann, Dylan DeVol and Elliot Thompson.

Wassong said they split up the many tasks that are involved in filmmaking – acting, filming, cinematography, sound mixing and editing.

“We wanted to do something that would involve all of us,” he said. “It would be something that really shows our friendship and allow us to do some really fun things.”

In November, the friends had the debut screening for “A Most Atrocious Thing” in Los Angeles, where most of them now live, while also holding down day jobs. About 350 people attended, to some very encouraging reviews, said Wassong, who is currently on a three-month contract for a production company in North Carolina and works as an executive producer.

The second screening will be at the Chappaqua Performing Arts Center on Friday, Jan. 13 (of course!) at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers moderated by Chappaqua resident Jon Klein, formerly the president of CNN/U.S.

Wassong said while he and his friends had a good time making the film, their goal was to create something that audiences would enjoy. Judging by the first screening, it seems that they’ve accomplished that task, he said.

“We just wanted to make something fun and entertaining,” Wassong said. “A lot of people want to forget about everything else going on in the world for an hour-and-a-half and enjoy themselves and try to laugh.”

Following the local screening, the filmmakers are lining up additional screening dates across the United States, including in some locations near where the film’s other creators grew up. They’re also in discussions with major distributors in hopes that the movie can be acquired.

Not resting on their laurels, the group is already working on ideas for their next project, Wassong said. They’re intent on proving that you don’t need to have a mega budget in order to present quality work.

“Film production doesn’t have to be tens of millions of dollars,” he said. “You can do it for less if you have the skills and the know-how. Unfortunately, none of us get paid for this, but hopefully for the next one we’ll be able to raise a little bit of money.”

Tickets for the screening are $15 for adults and $10 for students and can be bought at or at

To view the trailer, visit





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