BY: Felicia Naoum
“We want to put Macedonia, Ohio on the map for the whole world to see. To show what the town has to offer. And of course to hopefully entertain and “wow” you as an audience!” -Director, Russell Emanuel on “The Dollhouse”
MACEDONIA, Ohio – The 9.75 square miles that shine as Summit County’s Macedonia is about to shine a whole lot brighter. Macedonia has made it to the big leagues. If a town has never united before, then this is how to do it. Bring in a successful Hollywood director, and a local news outlet entrepreneur and boom! Magic is being made.
The Dollhouse – a horror film – is the first independent film to be cultivated in Macedonia, Ohio. “The Dollhouse” will begin filming in the summer of 2017 at the historical Longwood Manor (http://www.longwoodmanor.org/about.html) and Nordonia High School. Directed by successful Hollywood Director, Russell Emanuel, and produced by NordoniaHills.New’s own President, Julie D’Aloiso, the cultivation has begun.
If Russell’s track record is any indication of how captivating “The Dollhouse” will be, then let’s focus in on his current film that’s already collecting awards. Russell took home the Best Director award at the 2016 Super Geek Film Festival for “Occupants”. Here’s a description from “Occupants” Facebook page – “an award-winning sci-fi horror feature film with Robert Picardo, a young couple discovers a parallel version of themselves while editing their film.” Like “Occupants” on Facebook and find more information at https://www.facebook.com/occupantsthemovie/?fref=ts
For a quick preview of Russell’s work, you may view his demo reel here – https://vimeo.com/173995490/f337b6760e.
Keep in mind that it’s not every day you meet someone from out west who is excited about our ever-changing, sometimes frigid temperatures in Ohio. However, we found that “someone”. Russell Emanual truly appreciates Ohio. He believes in us, in Macedonia. And he his ready to bring his talents to us. Russell and Producer Julie D’Aloiso are making history in Macedonia. I have the interview, the story on how you too can be a part of that history.
Russell is based in L.A. but his genuine heart for sharing his craft spreads far beyond his roots. Now in Macedonia. Russell believes in community. He believes in sharing his talents with those who are far away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood.
And thankfully, our local Julie D’Aloiso dreams bigger than big. Julie is the previous owner of NEO Community Radio is where she met and interviewed Russell. Russell took Julie up on her idea to film a movie in her hometown and rest is history. History in the making that is.
Enjoy this sneak peek into “The Dollhouse” – my interview with Director, Russell Emanuel.
FN: Let’s begin by informing our viewers about what “The Dollhouse” is. Please touch lightly on the story/setting/premise.
RE: Hi Felicia, thank you for interviewing me, it’s very much appreciated! The story takes place in Macedonia, Ohio centering around a dollhouse found in a local high school, which is inadvertently used as a portal to a real house, but one that is lost in time. The events of the present day are explored along with the history of the house itself 100 years before, with unexpected and horrific results.
FN: Why is “The Dollhouse” coming to Macedonia, OH? What is your goal, as director, to offer by bringing a production to this part of OH?
RE: “The Dollhouse” is actually the brainchild of producer Julie D’Aloiso, a local resident of that area, along with filmmaking partner Gary Miller. They found the two main locations, one the Longwood Manor, a historical house built in 1924 Colonel William Frew Long, the first mayor of Macedonia. The other location is the local Nordonia High School, where we will make ample use of the interiors, as related to the story. Due to the fact that a “Hollywood” style film has never been shot in Macedonia and with Julie at the head of the production, I felt it was an opportunity of a lifetime. I happened to be in Ohio for the first time due to my current feature film “Occupants” which played at the Ratha Con in Athens, Ohio near Ohio University, and stars Robert Picardo of “Star Trek”. Through my “Occupants” voice actor Alan K. Courtright, I had been interviewed by Julie on her radio program NEO Community Radio last year and we kept in communication since then about a possible horror film project. When I was invited to the Ratha Con, I knew I had to meet Julie in person and see the locations, and instantly fell in love with the area. I also have filmmaking friends in Cleveland, Ohio and plan on collaborating with them to bring this film to life. And currently, my longtime filmmaking partner and “Occupants” director of photography / editor Emile Haris is taking the current 15 pages that had been written and expanding it into a full-length feature script.
FN: Speaking on demographics, who are the creators of “The Dollhouse” trying to reach? Is this film “for” anyone in particular (more metaphorically speaking)?
RE: This will be a horror film and we will most likely be targeting the teens to 20’s crowd. My current film “Occupants” also falls into the horror genre and has played well with this demographic group.
FN: You have a lengthy list of accomplishments. Is “The Dollhouse” going to be different than some of your past works? If yes, please explain how.
RE: Oh yes! First off, this will be my first film shot in Ohio. I have previously filmed in New York, California, and New Jersey, but as someone who has traveled the world, I love visiting new places. Ohio most definitely fits that bill and I am excited for the opportunity. Also, this will be my first pure horror film. “Occupants” was a psychological horror piece (along with elements of found footage and science fiction), but not to the extent that “The Dollhouse” will be. Also, this will be my first “historical” film. Although very short elements of my first feature film “P.J.” (starring John Heard, Vincent Pastore) took place in the 1970s and my second feature “Chasing the Green” (with Jeremy London, Ryan Hurst, William Devane) technically took place in the 1980s to 2000s, I’ve always wanted to go further back in time. “The Dollhouse” is a perfect opportunity to do so, exploring the time periods of the 1910s and 1920s, which is only doable in a place with historic value like Ohio. I want to take advantage of that and I enjoy the challenge.
FN: What do you and the other creators of “The Dollhouse” want viewers to get out of the film?
RE: We want to put Macedonia, Ohio on the map for the whole world to see. To show what the town has to offer. And of course to hopefully entertain and “wow” you as an audience!
FN: At Nordoniahills.news, there is a section for those interested in being a part of the film process. Currently, what help are you in most need of?
RE: Right now, we are aiming for a Summer 2017 shoot, so we are about to start a fundraising campaign in early October. Also, we will be doing an Indiegogo contribution campaign where we will have various perks including being a part of the film itself, whether as a cameo in the film itself or visiting the set and getting a credit in the film itself (i.e. “Special Thanks” or “Man Stabbed to Death”)! We want everyone to be a part of this process of making a film and to enjoy the perks that come along with it, including a World Premiere at the Longwood Manor for all those who decided to contribute to this project.
UPDATE: Filming is now planned for summer 2018. Fundraising will be starting back up soon.
So anyone who is interested in donating and becoming a part of our project, please sign up at:
You can also see more of my work at my production website:
FN: Please share with us why you decided to pursue the film industry. As well as any advice for those aiming to be in the same industry.
RE: I decided to pursue the film industry, because I love films, to put in a nutshell. There’s something about creating a whole new world from scratch which is an amazing experience – to be able to work with a diverse group of people to bring something to life.
More specifically, what really did it for me is film music from such composers as John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and James Horner. Something about music really makes me “feel” a scene, whether it’s the “Dad, let’s play ball” scene in “Field of Dreams” to the bombastic action music in “Total Recall” or the initial reaction of Dr. Alan Grant upon seeing dinosaurs for the first time in “Jurassic Park”. Music, most definitely calls to me and draws me to filmmaking.
Advice I would give to aspiring filmmakers is to just give it a go and pursue your dreams. Go work on a film and see how it is done. Make your own films, even if it’s with your smartphone. And learn from your mistakes, because it will only make you a better filmmaker, and because that’s what I did. *
We are taking Russell’s advice…as he stands by our side. We are chasing dreams here in Macedonia and you can, too.