J.R. Bookwalter began his filmmaking career at the tender age of 11 years old in Akron, Ohio. Born August 16th, 1966, Bookwalter was raised on Dark Shadows (1966), the classic soap opera, which his mother used to watch religiously. After graduating high school in 1984, Bookwalter took photography classes at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. When his apartment was robbed a week into his second year there, the fledgling director took it as a sign to return home, and a mere month later he touched base with filmmaker Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead (1981)), who would wind up financing his first feature-length effort, The Dead Next Door (1989). That production dragged on for nearly four years, finally being completed in Los Angeles, where Bookwalter ran into David DeCoteau (Creepozoids (1987)), a producer who was in the early stages of starting a distribution company. From 1989 to 1992, Bookwalter wound up either writing, directing, producing, scoring or mixing the sound for nine features and four special interest videos for DeCoteau. In 1991, Bookwalter used what he learned from DeCoteau to start Tempe Entertainment and began self-distributing his features, such as the critically-acclaimed Ozone (1993). Bookwalter has taught himself the ins and outs of low-budget production; in addition to the duties above, he has also done a bit of acting, explosives work, makeup effects, lighting, cinematography...you name it, and J.R. Bookwalter has probably at least tried it. He feels that working with talents as varied as Raimi, DeCoteau, Night of the Living Dead (1990) co-creator John A. Russo and B-movie maven Charles Band has taught him when and where to cut corners in the name of a low-cost movie and when and where to work harder in the name of art.
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