Cuyle Carvin Brings Hollywood Home

Director cues the action

Cuyle Carvin ‘03 knows that, as the old saying goes, there’s no place like home.

“Oneonta is such a beautiful place to film,” said the writer, actor and director. “We have so many different locations, so we can really broaden the scope of our scripts, and that adds a lot of production value, which is invaluable for low-budget filmmaking.”

Carvin’s latest film, Ouija Witch, starring Sean Young, builds on the horror bonafides he established with short films like the Dark Corners Horror Anthology and “Amused” – also filmed in Oneonta – as well as his feature film directorial debut, Dolls (2019), starring Dee Wallace – all of which can be viewed on his website,

Ouija Witch follows Sarah Byrne (Miley Rose), who, along with shopkeeper Lilith (Young), uses a Ouija board to summon the spirit of Mary Blackwood (Cheyenne Phillips) after a brutal attack to enact a bloody, violent revenge.

Director Cuyle Carvin ‘03 cues the action

Carvin wrote the screenplay with collaborators John Doolan and Robert Michael Ryan. “One of our producing partners, Jeff Miller, had a successful run with a movie he produced called Ouija House, and said that film distribution companies were considering witch and ouija content,” he said. “I’ve always loved witch history and Salem, so we were ready to write this story.”

Using a few local actors and familiar downtown locales – including the First Presbyterian Church, the back alley behind the Greater Oneonta Historical Society, Red’s Ale House and the Underground Attic – Carvin was able to replicate Salem, Massachusetts, where the film takes place.

But Ouija Witch isn’t just a testament to his commitment to the city he grew up in – it’s a continuation of the do-it-yourself aesthetic that began at Hartwick.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I found the theatre courses more interesting than other classes,” he said. “I did a lot of tech and design work, but whatever was available, I took it.”

In addition to performing with the Cardboard Alley Players and with the Orchesis Dance Club, he honed his passion for film and the art of filmmaking. He designed a film major through the College’s Individual Student Program (ISP), filling his course load with additional theater classes and film studies.

“It wasn’t a traditional film degree,” he said. “But then again, I’ve never been the traditional type.”

Carvin has been featured in the films The 24th and American Made. He recently just wrapped a small supporting role in Netflix’s largest budget film ever, The Electric State, with Chris Pratt and Millie Bobbie Brown, as well as an extensive list of TV shows and mini-series, including several of the NCIS spin-offs, Cobra Kai, The Thing About Pam and The Walking Dead.

In 2020, he returned to Oneonta to star in Asteroid, which re-kindled his relationship with Otsego Media. “Korey Rowe, Dylan Avery, Alysa Blasetti Sprague, and the Otsego media team are such great people,” he said. “And we had a wonderful working and friendly relationship already, so filming Ouija Witch in Oneonta was a no-brainer. They were able to help us figure out everything we needed to make a great film in Oneonta. ”

Following a test screening at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, Ouija Witch was released on Amazon and Apple+ in July.

Carvin is currently working on his plans to shoot another horror movie in Oneonta as early as this winter. In fact, there’s an entire slate of films that he intends on producing back home in Oneonta. 

And he’s not the only one who wants to come back to Oneonta. “Sean Young absolutely loved it here,” he said. “She told me she’d come back to shoot again.”

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