blairwitchproject.jpgOn this day in 1999, the cult hit The Blair Witch Project premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; however, the movie’s buzz began long before its premiere, when the moviemakers disseminated a story to make everyone believe their fictional experiment was made from actual documentary footage. The three students who made the film? Lost in the woods while tracking down a local Maryland legend, with the footage of their journey the only thing that remained. The producers even went so far as to air a television special, Curse of the Blair Witch, in order to build hype around the “unsolved mystery.” The publicity worked well, as Blair Witch grossed nearly $250 million, making it the most successful independent film of its time.

Film Star Factoid: Production on The Blair Witch Project took only eight days, during which the three young actors involved were armed with camera equipment and little more than vague guidelines standing in for a screenplay. As such, the majority of the film was ad-libbed, and many of the most terrifying moments in the film were not revealed to the cast until cameras were rolling.