As an executive with Epic Pictures, and founder and producer with Brothers
Kastenbaum, Zero Pictures and Visionbox Media Group, Michael Kastenbaum has
nurtured the development and production of over thirty feature films and is
a highly respected creative force in the independent film community.
During high school and while attending Northwestern University, Kastenbaum
worked professionally in film production and produced a music video nominated
for a student academy award. Fresh out of school, he produced a short film
selected to the Cannes Film Festival Critic's Week.
As an executive at Epic, Kastenbaum developed and supervised productions
including Bad Influence, directed by Curtis Hanson and starring James Spader,
Men at Work, starring Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen and Double Impact,
starring Jean Claude Van Damme.
With Brothers Kastenbaum, he developed and produced low budget genre features
with bold, distinct and visionary filmmakers such as Martin Donavan, James
Merindino, Jon Jacobs, Donald Cammel, P.J. Pesche, Beeaje Quick and Philippe Dib.
Cinefantastique named The Girl With The Hungry Eyes "The Best Horror Film
of 1995." Costing $225,000, the film has grossed over 2.5 million, still
commanding shelf space at Blockbuster today. Beyond the positive press, these
films, with a combined budget of only 2.5 million dollars, have grossed in
excess of 6 million dollars.
In 1996, with the help of dedicated friends, Kastenbaum launched Zero Pictures,
a Laboratory where filmmakers receive production funds and educational and
resource support, without creative interference. This reflected Kastenbaum's
ongoing vision of a filmmaking process involving stories with simple production
logistics, focusing on ideas and character, and, most importantly, working
with available resources.
Zero has developed a philosphical and practical "toolkit" for producing
high-quality, micro-budget films. Welcome Says The Angel ("A wonder for
$17,000 A winner!" L.A. Times) was the first in an ever-growing Zero
library of 16 features to date. At a shooting cost of $8,000, The Invisibles,
("A Jewel" Filmmaker) starring Portia di Rossi and Michael Goorjian, premiered
at Sundance and has played in over fifteen festivals, winning several Jury
and Audience Choice Awards and, along with Mic and the Claw ("funny several
cuts above" L.A. Times), is in Hollywood Video stores across the country.
Dogstar ("Amazing" Rave Magazine) and The Wooden Gun ("Impressive_a whole lotta
movie for $8,000" New Times) have both been honored by Laemmles as films of
great Independent Vision.
As Co-founder of Visionbox Media Group, Kastenbaum has brought his artistry to
a market savvy venture. Offering production services and consulting, this
innovative enterprise already has Falling Like This ("Stunning" Filmmaker Magazine)
and Teddy Bear's Picnic going out theatrically with other wonderful films and
television series underway.
Kastenbaum speaks on panels all over the world on low budget production and
alternative distribution. Kastenbaum is a performer - magician and puppeteer,
school teacher, rock-climber, world journeyman and is perpetually enchanted by
making and watching movies.