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Professor Writes and Directs Horror Film

By Destiny Diggs
Contributing Writer

She’s a LIU Post alumna, professor, filmmaker, writer, director, and scholar of film. Her name? Jean Carlomusto, professor of broadcasting in the department of communications & film. Carlomusto is now the writer and director of “MT Sojourn,” a horror film that is expected to be out for Halloween 2019.

Photo by Destiny Diggs
Professor Carlomusto teaching her class.

“MT Sojourn” is about a series of unsolved and mysterious murders in a monastery. Carlomusto puts her words into action by not only teaching students broadcasting, but by actively working in the trenches, showing her students how to be successful. “I grew up with classic horror films from the 20th century,” she said. “As a filmmaker, I always wanted to make one. So, I sat down and wrote the script.”

Halloween was not a factor in Carlomusto’s decision to create a horror film. Instead, she was inspired by the underlying issues like racism in society; she used the horror genre as her platform to inform audiences in a suspenseful, thrilling, action-filled film. “Often times you can use horror to talk about more complex issues that are hard to get at in drama or in a documentary. Case in point is the terrific recent horror film, ‘Get Out,’” Carlomusto said.

Directed and written by Jordan Peele, “Get Out” is about an interracial couple that visits the girlfriend’s parents, and while at her parent’s home the boyfriend discovers older white people manipulating young black adults. The socially conscious film made an estimated $30.5 million in its opening weekend, and was number one in ticket sales in the U.S. and Canada.

Even though Carlomusto wears many hats, her first priority is her students. The professor not only ensures that her students can edit, create a script, or tape a production, but she takes it upon herself to ensure that their outlook on the broadcasting industry is realistic. “First I tell them that this field requires commitment and time. It’s not a 9 to 5 banking job. You’ve got to love what you do and devote your time to it,” Carlomusto said.

The professor has had a positive impact on current students and graduates. “Professor Carlomusto is a game changer because she encourages students to find out what they are passionate about within production, and work on honing their skills. She has played a huge role in shaping how I approach production from a technical and creative standpoint,” Brittany Mitchell, a 2016 broadcasting graduate who is now a project manager for Splash Worldwide, said.

Carlomusto has “always loved films” and has been a student of film for years, first as a little girl watching horror films, then “making films as a young teenager,” to being an undergraduate film student at Post, to studying for her master’s degree at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is constantly learning, challenging herself, and testing her limits beyond the classroom.

When producing a film, the feeling that comes to Carlomusto’s mind is “excitement and determination,” she said. Carlomusto not only takes chances, but also creates opportunities for herself by expressing her love for the art of film through writing and directing.

“MT Sojourn” is in pre-production and will be available on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon in approximately two years. As the film gets closer to production, Carlomusto said that she will “be looking to get students involved.”

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