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Nick Kostelnak


9 Minutes





Two ghosts embark on a mission to scare out their apartment's new tenant, but as their plan unfolds, the table begins to turn.

Nick Kostelnak is a writer and director based in New York City. Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, Nick studied film at The University of Toledo before moving to New York to pursue his passion for filmmaking. In addition to his work as a writer and director, Nick is the Post Production Manager for IFC Films, RLJE Films and Shudder. When he's not working on films or talking about them, Nick enjoys exploring the city, screaming at the TV during football games, and spending time with his wife and partially blind dog.

Having moved from Ohio to New York City almost six years ago, I've lived in several neighborhoods and shared apartments with many roommates. I know all too well the honeymoon phase that comes with a new roommate. Things are great at the beginning and then the smallest things start to drive you crazy. New York is an expensive city so packing up your bags and getting your own place isn’t an option for all of us. Even if you find a new roommate, there's no guarantee that things will be better.

As a horror genre enthusiast, I knew that a haunting would be the perfect metaphor to explore the dynamics of shared living situations. And as someone who loves horror comedies, I realized that infusing humor into the story would be a fun and effective way to examine these ideas. I set out to create a unique horror comedy that uses the haunting as a playful metaphor for the challenges and tensions that arise in shared living spaces. Typically, a haunting is shown from the perspective of the person that lives in the house. They move in and then strange occurrences begin to occur. I wanted to subvert this horror cliche and show the haunting from the ghost’s perspective. Elle and Darius’ (the ghosts) new “roommate” Gabe is the one haunting them. As I began to think more about Elle and Darius’ backgrounds, a new narrative began to unfold. I realized that I had the opportunity to explore a broader narrative about the complexities of gentrification. Although the entire film takes place within the confines of the apartment, the forces of gentrification are constantly looming in the background, shaping the experiences of the characters.

Above all, Stay Awhile is my love letter to the horror genre. It's a film that embraces the absurdity of haunted house movies while using humor and horror to explore deeper themes. I hope audiences will enjoy the ride and perhaps even come away with a fresh perspective.


Director/Writer - Nick Kostelnak
Producer - Justin Grohowski
Producer - John Kostelnak
Producer - Gino Donatelli
Director of Photography - Christopher S. Lind
Editor - Tyler Lipman
Special Effects Makeup - Samantha Mileski
Sound Designer -Lukas Arbogast
Sound Recordist - Tim Perdoch
Gaffer - Mike DiLorenzo
Key Grip - Nate Pfingst
Matt I. Jones - Colorist
Production Assistant - Tim Walker

Erika Vetter - Elle
Anna Zapala - Alana
Jerry Hyppolite - Darius
Michael Galligan - Gabe