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W.Va. native’s screenplay shown in Bridgeport

Exponent Telegram photo by Mark Romano Ronnie Blevins (left), and Josh Stewart play men who want to make an outdoors show in the woods of West Virginia and end up confronting the unexpected, in "The Hunted," which will be screened at Cinemark in Bridgeport at 7:30 p.m. today.
Exponent Telegram photo by Mark Romano
Ronnie Blevins (left), and Josh Stewart play men who want to make an outdoors show in the woods of West Virginia and end up confronting the unexpected, in “The Hunted,” which will be screened at Cinemark in Bridgeport at 7:30 p.m. today.

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Josh Stewart has experienced success as an actor, appearing in both in the film “The Dark Knight Rises” and as a cast member on the CBS police program “Criminal Minds.”

But the way the Webster County native approached acting lent itself to directing, he said. Plus, he had a story he wanted to tell.

So Stewart wrote the screenplay, acted in and directed a film — set in his native hometown of Diana — called “The Hunted,” which will be screened at 7:30 p.m. today at Cinemark at Meadowbrook Mall in Bridgeport.

“It’s very personal to me,” he said of the 90-minute film. “I set it in the world of hunting to give me an excuse to put two guys in the woods. They are out there trying to film a hunting show for the Outdoor Channel when they come across something they weren’t expecting.”

Stewart does not want to give too much of the plot away, but he will reveal that an incident that happened to him as a West Virginia University student living off campus when he consistently heard a woman screaming prompted the plot of “The Hunted.”

Coincidentally, two of the producers of the film, brothers Robert and Jeff Tinnell of Morgantown-based Allegheny Image Factory, went on to produce “Fly Rod Chronicles,” a TV show hosted by Bridgeport native Curtis Fleming for the Outdoor Channel.

“The crazy thing is, that came about after the fact,” Stewart said during a telephone interview during a break from filming a TV pilot in Austin, Texas, that also features actress Mena Suvari.

In spite of the fact that the Tinnells and Stewart all come from West Virginia, they actually met through the film’s other producers, Brett Forbes and Patrick Rizzotti of Fortress Features, who had done projects with Stewart and Robert Tinnell previously.

“Between their relationship and Bob’s, we all worked to bring this project to West Virginia and shoot it here,” Jeff Tinnell said.

“The Hunted,” classified as a thriller, was shot in Stewart’s hometown of Diana in Webster County in the fall of 2012, said Robert Tinnell. Post production was completed in 2013. The film has been shown in Los Angeles, to marketers in Toronto and in Sutton at the Elk Theatre, where it had its West Virginia premiere to a packed audience nearly two weeks ago.

“People loved it,” Robert Tinnell said. “People were screaming all the time. It was awesome. It really scared people…

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