CRESTLINE, Ohio — Nine years ago, Hollywood special effects legend, producer, director and screenwriter Robert Kurtzman, moved his studios, Creature Corps and Precinct 13 Entertainment, to rural Crestline, Ohio.
And now he is starting a new venture in the quiet, cozy community tucked in the middle of the Buckeye State, the Kurtzman Institute of Art.
Kurtzman grew up in Crestline and wanted to raise his children in the same place.
He converted an old bowling alley, where he bowled his first strike into a state of the art studio.
“Everyone said, ‘You’re nuts. You’ll never work outside of Hollywood,’ blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah,” said Kurtzma.
As co-founder of the Oscar and Emmy award-winning K.N.B. Effects group, Kurtzman contributed to some of the most memorable movies of all time.
He’s been part of over 400 films like “Misery,” “Scream,” “Dances with Wolves,” “Spy Kids,” “Evil Dead 2” and “Reservoir Dogs.”
Since moving to Crestline, he has continued cranking out high-octane hits, music videos and an extensive haunted attractions line for some of the largest amusement parks in the world.
Not bad for kid who grew up watching late night horror host shows and always tried to figure out how they created all of the scary visual effects.
Kurtzman says he loved Fox 8’s own, “Big Chuck & Little John: The Ghoul and Ghoulardi.”
As a young adult he moved to Los Angeles and learned on the job while working with all of his movie idols.
Kurtzman once gave an up-and-coming director and actor named Quentin Tarantino his first paying gig writing the vampire cult classic “From Dusk Til’ Dawn.”
Now he is searching for more talent to attend his art institute, also known as “scary school.”
“We’re looking for artists,” said Kurtzman. “And I don’t care if they weld, if they draw, if they paint or they sculpt, but they do have to show some sort of talent and put some sort of portfolio together.”
The Kurtzman Institute of Art is approved by the Ohio Board of Career Colleges and Schools, but it is so much more than that.
It is a real working movie studio with world-renowned artists as instructors.
Lakewood native, Alan Tuskes, is vice president of the school and Kurtzman’s long-time colleague.
“I’m excited! We have the opportunity to teach people how to do things the right way,” said Tuskes.
Students will learn skills like zombi sculpting, makeup and set design, and CGI, knowledge that could transfer over into numerous fields.
“From medical prosthesis to toy sculptors to doll makers to taxidermy,” said Kurtzman.
Plus, working studio students will graduate with an impressive resume.
Ten to 15 applicants will be accepted each semester, and Kurtzman himself will review the portfolios and make the selections.
The diploma program will cost about $12,000 a semester.
There are 3 semesters a year at 16 weeks each. The course will be $30,000 a year, because students will need a lot of materials for their projects.
Kurtzman tells Fox 8 News he hopes to have an accredited associates degree program in the future, but his school must be open for a year before they qualify.
He also hopes to expand the course load to include film making, directing and screenwriting courses.
The accreditation would also help with getting financial aid for students.
“Ohio is a great place to be right now,” says Kurtzman, “Last year, we did three movies; big movies: “Funsize,” “I, Alex Cross” and “Bootrax.”
Kurtzman says if you build a movie industry in Ohio, more films will come … and when they do, we’ll be ready.
“Creating the talent here instead of having to bring people in from other places to actually work on these movies,” Kurtzman said.
For more information on the Kurtzman Institute of Art, click HERE.