Jan. 28, 2013
Alumnus takes Northwest experiences to Hollywood
Northwest Missouri State University alumnus Justin Ross is making the Bearcat name known in Hollywood. The 2003 graduate is associate producer of “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” the latest iteration of the classic horror film.
Ross worked closely with producer Carl Mazzocone on the set of the movie, which carried a $20 million budget – a figure eclipsed by the film’s $22 million opening weekend.
But Ross is one Hollywood professional who hasn’t strayed from his roots. Instead, the Maryville native credits Northwest and the Maryville community with giving him opportunities to develop his skill.
“I still look back fondly on the films I made in Maryville and the surrounding area because of the unique culture of support that exists there,” Ross, who graduated with a broadcasting degree and organizational communications minor, said. “I needed a scene with a car wreck and a local junk yard was kind enough to tow one of their vehicles out to a remote road and flip it upside down. This is just one example of the amazing support I was given over the years in Maryville and is perhaps the greatest attribute Northwest and the surrounding community offers filmmakers.”
Looking at Ross’ accomplishments and student organization involvement as an undergraduate, his passion for film production and leadership is obvious. The Phi Sigma Kappa member and student ambassador spent three years as producer of KNWT and “Vinci,” a TV show that created short films for KNWT. He also worked with KXCV-KNRW and a long list of honors organizations. After Northwest, he earned a master of fine arts degree at Florida State University, where he wrote, directed and produced films that screened in film festivals across the country and around the world.
“Northwest has some of the best equipment, faculty and staff that you could hope for at any institution,” Ross said. “It not only provided me with the opportunity to create my own short films, but more importantly the support and guidance to actually make them watchable.”
“Watchable” is an understatement for “Texas Chainsaw 3D,” his latest collaboration, which was well received by critics and moviegoers alike. But Ross in no way considers himself famous. Rather, he acknowledges the talent and hard work of his cast and crew behind what he considers to be “one of the best horror films made in recent years.”
Ross is cryptic about his Hollywood future, but does acknowledge the existence of “some projects with the producer of ‘Texas Chainsaw,’” as well as a few projects of his own. With the training, experience and passion Ross has for film, he will likely be representing Northwest in Hollywood for years to come. Creating movies is something he enjoyed at a young age, and it has stuck.
“Working in the motion picture business isn’t all red carpets and martinis like most people think,” Ross said. “It’s actually a very high-stress environment, filled with hard work, long hours and little pay. But at the end of the day is making movies for a living fun? Absolutely. Is it easy? Heck no. But for me it’s worth it.”
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