A lifelong movie fan, Nathanael Molnár has long harbored a drive to tell his own stories on screen.
“I’d always wanted to be involved in film, so when I started looking around for colleges, the film program at Fitchburg State was the first one I found,” said Molnár, who grew up in Georgetown. “One of the things that was important to me was finding a place with a good film program but one that rounded that out with other things like liberal arts. Fitchburg State was the only school I applied to, and, fortunately, I got in.”
He began his collegiate studies in 2016, and immersed himself in all facets of storytelling on film and video. “I really liked having a mixture of the production classes and also film theory,” he said. “It was great to be in class and work on projects with other students to actually film things, but to also learn about foreign films.”
With several friends, he made a short horror film called “Sleep No More” that played at regional film festivals.
Molnár was plotting his next production when the pandemic hit. While the world was changing, Molnár was still looking to create a film that could help serve as a launchpad to the industry. Over the Fourth of July in 2021, he stayed at a friend’s lake house, and the setting proved an inspiration.
Cut to January 2022. Molnár and his crew - including other Fitchburg State graduates - were back at the lake house filming what became the spooky thriller “What Hides Within.” The story begins with a couple traveling for the holidays when a blizzard comes in and they take refuge in a lake house. They soon learn they are not alone in the house.
“There’s a lot more going on beneath the surface, both thematically and in the plot,” Molnár said. “I like genre-based things, but to me it’s all about story and character.”
Molnár and a small crew shot the film over two weekends, followed by extensive post-production. Several Fitchburg State alumni were in the cast and crew, including producer/editor Andrew Nunes ‘20, actor Rachael Miles ‘19, script supervisor Evan Garrone ‘21, score composer Johnny Gifford ‘20, sound designer Ben Bradford ‘20, graphic design and foley artist Connor Murphy ‘20, and color grade artist Alex O’Neil ‘20.
“What Hides Within” played to an audience at Cinema Salem this summer, where it got a warm reception. The film will be playing the circuit for several months, having been accepted to competitive film festivals and won several awards.
“It’s exciting to see everyone’s hard work pay off,” he said. “If our actor gets nominated for an award or our sound person gets an award or a win, it’s exciting, because I know how much time and effort they put into it.”
Molnár said he hopes to have a “making of” documentary about “What Hides Within” posted online by the end of the year, and his team is currently in pre-production on a new short film - “Alone in Here” - that will be filmed in April.