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Courtesy Ryland Maserang

You can’t kill it.

Filmed at the Alexander Mansion in Dallas in February 2020, right before the world shut down, The Mystery Murder is a 15-minute horror/comedy short with a pretty wild and fun — and demented — twist at the end. Coffee Pot Films’ debut work premiered at the Flatland Film Festival in Lubbock last September and has traveled to nine festivals since then, racking up awards at every stop. All that’s left is an OK from the San Antonio International Film Festival in August, and then the company’s two chief creatives — Anthony Milton and Ian McKenyon — will release The Mystery Murder on Coffee Pot’s YouTube channel and move on to more wild and wacky work.

Coffee Pot Films has a fire to “keep going.”
Courtesy Ryland Maserang

“Considering this is our first short film, we were happy to simply get acceptance, but with nine accepted, so far, out of 31 submissions, along with nine awards, also so far, we feel energized and excited to keep going and push ourselves further,” McKenyon said.

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Milton and McKenyon started Coffee Pot Films in Fort Worth in 2010 as a “fun and interesting way,” Milton said, to brand their film company. With experience as production assistants and on various sets, Milton and McKenyon say their skill now comes partially from film school and partially from learning on the go. Coffee Pot now has grown to nearly 10 cinematographers and core members.

Courtesy Ryland Maserang

“We wanted to make fun videos together in the beginning,” Milton said, adding that he and his compatriots started off as a sketch comedy troupe “throwing things up on YouTube.”

Over the past few years, Coffee Pot Films has produced several local music videos for Mean Motor Scooter, Phantomelo, and Denver Williams & The Gas Money, and Siamese Hips. That work, along with some crowdsourcing online, helped fund The Mystery Murder.

Coffee Pot Films’ core and its “directors,” Milton and McKenyon, share ideas and look at themselves as a group of creatives sharing roles under the Coffee Pot Films umbrella.

“It shows the fun in our group, but we rely on people who want to make it fun on the set,” Milton said.

Courtesy Ryland Maserang

Coffee Pot Films just wrapped up another video for Mean Motor Scooter, while a vid for Phantomelo’s “Shark Attack” is in production and another for Uncle Toasty is in the works.

Coffee Pot’s ethos is based in dark comedy due to Milton and the crew having a deep and personal relationship to the horror and comedy genres. McKenyon said that it makes sense and that it’s something their group of creatives would want to watch.

“Ultimately,” McKenyon said, “we love to make each other laugh, and if we can make others laugh, that’s just icing on the cake.”

The film has screened at the Orlando Film Festival, the Central Florida Film Festival, and Rome International Film Festival, among others. These mirrored successes, McKenyon said, give Coffee Pot Films “that fire to keep going, to push ourselves, and we are grateful and humbled to get awards, but even getting into film festivals is huge for us. … When it stops being fun, that’s when we stop doing it, but we hope it never stops being fun. That’s our goal.”

Courtesy Ryland Maserang
Courtesy Ryland Maserang
Courtesy Ryland Maserang

1 COMMENT

  1. Coffee Pot’s local music videos have been outstanding – anxious to see “Mystery Murder”! Maybe Blu-ray copies for sale?

    Thanks for this article.

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