Paul Schattel

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Paul Schattel is an American film director and screenwriter based in North Carolina. Known for his two feature films, Sinkhole (2005) and Alison (2010), Schattel is currently in development with a horror film, The Mourning Portrait.

Sinkhole, a rural noir about an ex-high school teacher who becomes embroiled in a small town methamphetamine ring, won 'Best Narrative Feature' at the 2004 Indie Memphis Film Festival.


Critical reception to Sinkhole was mostly positive. Film Threat Magazine said that it was "... a welcome addition to that most agreeable and fascinating of genres: The paranoid thriller … Sinkhole gets under the skin in a big way."[1]

The LA Times called Sinkhole '... a highlight,' while Philip Martin of The Arkansas Democrat Gazette said “Sinkhole is a minor miracle of a film.”

The Arkansas Arts Council said “... Winner of Best Narrative Feature at the 2004 Indie Memphis Film Festival, Sinkhole is the first film to grapple with the personal devastation wrought by the methamphetamine trade. Filmmaker Paul Schattel presents the rural South as it is, not as Hollywood imagines it.”

The trade magazine Variety, however, was not so enthusiastic, saying “Sinkhole has the elements of a potentially nifty noir: evocative cinematography, a seedy criminal underworld and vivid, well-drawn lowlife characters. But utterly languorous pacing saps the film of its vitality; it's like a trip without a destination."[2]

In 2005, Sinkhole was picked up for international distribution by Morris Ruskin's Shoreline Entertainment.

Schattel's next film, Alison, about a pregnant woman who leaves her husband, is a minimalist, almost experimental film, in which the actors often use improvisational techniques. Schattel reportedly claimed the movie's long single takes, verbal mistakes and elementary framing were suggested by the European filmmakers Chantal Akerman and Bela Tarr.

In 2010, Alison won the Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Narrative Feature awards at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. The Mountain Xpress alternative weekly called it '"... a thoughtful and darkly compelling portrait of a woman in crisis — beautifully photographed, bravely acted, and told with a raw, unerring honesty."

Schattel recently directed the short film Men of Persuasion.


  1. ^ Sinkhole Film Threat Magazine Review:
  2. ^ Sinkhole Variety Review:

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