Influencing and Being Influenced: Ron Huffstutter and Tunnel 13 Films
A filmmaker is always studying and learning from other filmmakers, drawing from long developed skills and enriching talent. Local filmmaker Ron Huffstutter has been learning from others for years, leading to founding his own film company.
“I’ve spent the last five years in Southern Oregon working in the independent film world currently down in LA working and making contacts for the next projects,” he says. Throughout those five years he met many local filmmakers in the Rogue Valley, especially at Southern Oregon University. One of those filmmakers he met was Mo Sultan, who is his co-founder for Tunnel 13 Films.
“We both met at Southern Oregon University and started to collaborate on ideas,” he explains, “which eventually evolved into Tunnel 13 Films. Along with Levi Anderson coming into the beginning and among many other things set up our website. Twannissa Cox has been a huge part of constructing Tunnel 13 early on as well as Michael Hoover moving back from Austin, Texas being a pivotal role in The Truth About Daisies conception.”
Joma Films, a production company in Ashland, has inspired Huffstutter and the others at Tunnel 13 Films since their inception. He’s learned most about taking advice from local filmmakers specifically in Ashland. He’s also a board member of Southern Oregon Media Group, which he is also inspired and encouraged by greatly. “From working on the smallest budget films to being on bigger sets and seeing how studios run things down in LA, I’m constantly learning something new,” he says.
The Truth About Daisies is a Tunnel 13 Films that came out last year, starring Southern Oregon local Mig Windows. The story is about an aspiring musician in a small coastal town suddenly discovered for her musical talent and the complications it causes in her relationships.
Huffstutter finds his roots in comedy, but hasn’t been afraid to branch out to other genres. He says, “Comedy has always been my passion but we’ve done suspense and drama since the beginning. Anything that evokes emotion from people is important. Otherwise we’re just making something to watch in the background. If we can get tears, laughter, rage, and keep eyes glued to the screen, then we’re doing our jobs.”
Tunnel 13 film Refuge was shown at the Ashland Film Festival this year, directed by Mohammad Alsultan. “The director Mohammed Alsultan, my college friend, was stuck back in Saudi Arabia and found some people interested in making a films with Muslim themes that fit into the modern day,” Huffstutter explains about the film. “Obviously the Syrian refugee crisis was a huge topic both of us had been following since the start. Hearing people from both sides of the argument, we decided to make something that was more of a human piece than a political one. We wanted to show this one woman’s experience from her eyes and let the audience feel the abandonment and loss of losing everything.”
Tunnel 13 Films plans to pursue feature length films and developing a quality in their work that’s unique to other film companies. “The goal now is to make some quality feature films that we can distribute,” he says. “The freedom to make the films we want to and still be able to have a message and entertain. We have the resources and the talent and we plan on sticking around.”
Huffstutter’s favorite part about the whole process is being present on set. Growing up, his biggest inspirations were Stan Lee, Stephen King, and Steven Spielberg. Today his list of inspirational filmmakers and writers has grown and strengthened his passion on set. “No matter if I’m just a Production Assistant or a Director there isn’t a place I feel more at home.”
He’s currently in Los Angeles gathering ideas for future films and creating more contacts. For anyone interested in producing or being involved in Tunnel 13 Films’ next process, he suggests sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Tunnel 13 Films, you can visit www.tunnel13films.com.