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Jessica Brillhart sixth finalist eliminated from Fox's 'On the Lot'


By Christopher Rocchio, 06/27/2007 

Jessica Brillhart, a 22-year-old computer specialist who resides in Brooklyn, NY, was revealed to be sixth finalist eliminated from On the Lot during last night's live broadcast of the Fox reality filmmaking competition series. 

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However, rather than learning of her fate during the live broadcast, On the Lot host Adrianna Costa and judge Garry Marshall told Brillhart of her fate last Wednesday -- less than a day after last Tuesday night's screening of The Orchard, her five-minute personal film submission that portrayed a horror movie shot from the perspective of a tree.  A video clip of Brillhart learning of her elimination then aired during last night's On the Lot broadcast.

"I feel a little bit let down.  I mean, that's just the way that it goes," said Brillhart after she learned that her film had received the lowest number of viewer votes and she'd been eliminated from the competition.  "I'm bummed.  I'm not gonna lie.  But I have a lot more work to do, so I'm ready to start doing it."

After the premiere of Brillhart's personal film submission last week, On the Lot judge Carrie Fisher hadn't been shy about telling the aspiring director what she'd thought of her horror attempt.

"Jessica, that was my least favorite thing next to adolescence and being left by a man for a man," said Fisher.  "The only thing really scary about it for me was that it could have gone on longer."

"It was an experimental piece," replied Brillhart.  "I took a risk by making it, but I'm proud of it and I'm happy that I did."  While it's one thing to have your horror film bashed by Princess Leia Organa, it's another to get the same type of feedback from horror-film legend Wes Craven, who served as last week's On the Lot guest judge.

"I enjoy your spirit, and I think this film will work for audiences of poplars and maples and things like that," said Craven, which brought a laugh from the live studio audience.  "If you're a person, I don't think you'll be afraid.  I think horror is about blood not sap."

After revealing Brillhart's elimination, On the Lot's live broadcast screened new individual short comedy films created by six of the show's Top 12 remaining finalists.  The original comedy shorts -- which were critiqued by Marshall, Fisher, and this week's guest judge, Mean Girls director Mark Waters -- were written, cast, directed and edited over a five-day span.

The six aspiring directors who premiered their comedies were Will Bigham, a 31-year-old film editor from Glendale, CA, whose film Nerve Endings followed an intern as he experiments with brain surgery on an unsuspecting patient;  Hilary Graham, a 37-year-old stay-at-home wife and mom from Francestown, NH, whose film Under the Gun was about a hold-up at a sperm bank;  Zach Lipovsky, a 23-year-old special effects editor from Vancouver, BC, Canada, whose film Die Hardly Working showed how two office workers fought boredom using their imagination; Adam Stein, a 29-year-old freelance film editor from Los Angeles, CA, whose film Discovering the Wheel put a new spin on a group of cavemen making a well-known discovery; David May, a 23-year-old admissions counselor from Santa Ana, CA, whose film How to Have a Girl followed a couple trying to ensure the gender of their child during conception; and Shalini Kantayya, a 30-year-old freelance director from Brooklyn, NY, whose film Dr. In-Law showed the antagonistic relationship of a son-in-law and father-in-law play itself out in a doctor's officer.

During next week's On the Lot broadcast, one of the six aspiring filmmakers will be eliminated based on viewer votes cast after last night's episode. 

In addition, the six other remaining Top 12 On the Lot finalists -- Mateen Kemet, a 41-year-old teacher from California; Jason Epperson, a 30-year-old film production company owner from Winchester, KY; Andrew Hunt, a 31-year-old promo producer from Minneapolis, MN; Shira-Lee Shalit, a 38-year-old acting teacher from Johannesburg, South Africa; Kenny Luby, a 28-year-old freelance director and painter from Owego, NY; and Sam Friedlander, a 27-year-old web producer from Santa Monica, CA -- will screen new individual horror films they also wrote, cast, directed and edited over the course of five days.  Hostel director Eli Roth will serve as the show's guest judge.

(Photo credit Fox)


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