Local MPI Grad Makes It Big! 

Steve Horn

Steve Horn is a 2016 Motion Picture Institute (MPI) alum who started his own film company called Steve No Sleep Films. He has completed three independent films and has negotiated three distribution deals, all while winning several awards for his work. Steve has always been creative and business minded, as described by his friend turned producer and colleague Curtis D. Smith. At MPI, Steve learned how to harness his natural talents and apply them on set. The best thing about his time in our one year program is the fact that he was on set from day one, and that gave him more practical knowledge than he had received anywhere else. He spared no time in taking what he had learned and turning those skills into films like 9 Stacks (2021), The Route (2006) and Behind The Shallow Mind (2020).

Curtis D. Smith

When asked about a day in his life on set, Steve says, “For self financed independent filmmaking, a day on set is well planned out in advance. There is excitement and energy coupled with a sense of urgency because there are specific tasks that must be completed due to limited availability of the shooting location, most of the film crew have limited time available due to their outside employment and we always want to take advantage of good weather.”

Steve also talked about how he enjoys the “creative energy, excitement, relationships and hard work” associated with bringing a film to fruition. This shows in his work and what producers on his team, like Curtis, have to say about the work experience, which is described as “organized and engaging, with lots of momentum and real-time action.” Creating a positive work experience on set is important and so is relationship building with cast and crew members, many of whom have returned to work with Steve over time. His advice to anyone who is new and looking to break into the industry is: “Surround yourself with positive action oriented people. Continue to learn the craft of filmmaking and the business. Complete a project. Learn from your experiences.”

Steve goes on to tell us that he is always learning and has overcome several barriers by keeping an open mind, learning from others in the industry plus trial and error. He says, “The challenges I have had are raising funds to make a movie and learning about distribution to monetize the finished film. I overcame the fund raising for our movies by getting a part time job. I have learned about film distribution by talking with people in the distribution business.”

We couldn’t be more proud of Steve and his team for all that they have accomplished. You can watch their latest film, 9 Stacks, on Tubi. To meet and learn from other movers and shakers, attend an upcoming Open House and set out on your own path to filmmaking.