LaunchPad alum wins $10,000 independent film grant from the New York State Council on the Arts

headshot of a young man outdoors in winter

LaunchPad alum and founder of Fantasma House Films, Peter Jack Hartsock, VPA ’19, is the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).  The award is for a short film to be produced in the region this winter working with a crew of other SU LaunchPad alumni who met as film and animation students.

The film touches upon the mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and studies ways isolation can cause and sometimes exacerbate emotional trauma and toxic relationships.

The NYSCA grant program’s goal is to support the recovery of the nonprofit arts and culture sector. “The arts have long been a critical sector in our economy, and as we continue to rebuild a stronger New York, it’s essential we do all we can help this industry thrive once again,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “These awardees represent the best of what New York’s vibrant communities have to offer and with this funding in hand, they will be able to not only continue their creative and inspiring work but help spur revitalization in their own backyard as well.”

“NYSCA applauds Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature for their responsive investment of $105 million for the nonprofit arts and culture sector. 2022 will continue to bring change, and Center for the Arts of Homer will play a vital role in the renewal of our state’s economy and creative ecosystem,” said Mara Manus, Executive Director of NYSCA. “Peter, on behalf of the entire NYSCA Team, we wish to extend our sincere congratulations on your award.”

Hartsock’s production company Fantasma House Films has won genre festival awards including: Sydney Australia Underground Film Festival, Syracuse International Film Festival, IndieX Film Festival, Los Angeles (Best Student Film and Best Student Director), Atlanta Horror Film Festival, San Diego and Vancouver Horror Show, Chattanooga Film Festival, Hollywood Horror Fest, and more.  He is a bi-coastal filmmaker based in the Los Angeles and Syracuse communities.

He will be engaging a crew of Syracuse University and LaunchPad alumni to work on the film.  They are currently based in Boston, New York City and California and will be re-convening in Syracuse for the shoot.

The grant is being awarded through the Center for the Arts, an historic 1893 complex which is well known for hosting national music concerts that also features film screenings, a community theater program, artwork by regional, national, and international visual artists in the art gallery, and other programs. The Center was restored through a citizen’s grassroots effort with the assistance of funding from the New York State Historic Preservation Office.

Ty Marshal, executive director of the Center for the Arts, is a LaunchPad mentor for entrepreneurs working in the creative sectors.