Posts Tagged ‘Films’

By: Nicki Legge

Isla-Isabel2As a filmmaker, the process of making a film can mean a number of different things to different people. Some people consider film a form of art, some think of it as a business, and some of us think of it as a way of life. Despite what it means to us, all true filmmakers have one thing in common, our passion. Making films is something we do because we want to and because we love it. It is obvious when watching the mini documentary, “Los Amigos in Baja California,” that Cat3 Productions is passionate about their work. This is why, for the first time in Jump Ship history, we are bringing you two filmmakers of the week, Brice LeCarre and Ivan Nevares, both owners of Cat3 Productions.

Brice and Ivan began their film journey with a deep love for still photography. Due to their “intense desire to create,” they decided to make the transition to moving pictures and formed Cat3 Productions in fall of 2012. They attribute the easy transition into the film world to the wonderful advances in technology over the past decade. They became absolutely addicted to the “challenge of blending a million parts, seemingly unrelated to one another, to appear to belong together seamlessly. Don’t forget the rich experience of like-minded people working tightly together to achieve a goal.” They came up with a simple, yet important slogan that perfectly describes their approach to filmmaking “Explore, Discover, Capture;” these words are the guidelines that they live by.

With their newfound love of film, Brice and Ivan decided to do a film challenge. They participated in the 2013 IFP Breakout Challenge and submitted their film, “The Recipe.” They say, “It was our first film and it showed, but we will never forget the experience.” Brice and Ivan work so closely during the process of making a film that it is hard to give a firm definition to who takes what roles, but they say that Ivan would be considered the Director of Photography and Brice would be the Director. When I asked what they loved the most about film, they said “From an intellectual perspective, it is the process itself, from the original idea throughout its developmental period, its evolution, to finally seeing the film come alive in the edit bay… It is exhilarating. From a technical perspective, it is the camera work, whether in the field on a documentary or in a controlled environment on a narrative project. The complexity of the camera and lens is a fascination for us.”

Despite how much they fell in love with the craft of filmmaking, Brice and Ivan did not call themselves filmmakers until they began working on their documentary about the Sea of Cortez. They say, “First, this documentary is by far our biggest endeavor and requires us to cast aside any doubt on our abilities to produce a great film… Then, we realized the hundreds of little moments, captured in the present with our cameras, are exhilarating. During those moments there is no doubt in our minds that we are filmmakers.” They didn’t initially intend for the project to be so large. The conversation was simple.

IVAN: Brice, you know I own a sailboat in the Sea of Cortez. Wanna shoot some video down there?
BRICE: Sure, let’s do it.

CoPro0078-0195Once they were at the Sea of Cortez, the idea of making a documentary began to blossom with every new thing they learned about this magical place. They say “We want to show the beauty of the Sea of Cortez but also how that beauty is revealed against some social issues that are at odds in the region. Most of these issues revolve around the local and commercial fishing industry, to be sure. There is also the tourism impact, the ecological push, the corruption and so on.” They plan to show all sides equally with an unbiased eye so viewers can come to their own conclusions. The more digging they do on each of these subjects, the more they learn about the sea. This discovery of things they had not previously thought of has become their absolute favorite part of filming this documentary, on top of getting to spend so much time in such a beautiful place.

Ensenada-ChicaLast year, Brice and Ivan estimated that they were about 80% done with the project, but as they uncover more secrets of the sea, they realized that they have a lot more to discover. They now believe that the project is about 30-40% complete. They say, “Our latest trip in April turned over several stones sending us bouncing in different directions. As an example, in august, we are taking our cameras for an interview at Biosphere 2 in Tucson. Someone is recreating a controlled ecological representation of the Sea of Cortez, inside a laboratory environment. This interview could shed some eye-opening light on the interactions we have already captured on film and take us in yet another direction.”

It’s difficult to imagine that there could be so much hard work involved in spending their days at such a serene place, but maintenance on the sailboat alone is taxing enough without the added tasks of shooting a documentary on top of that. They say “A sailboat needs care and maintenance and becomes the priority. Once the boat has been taken care of then filming becomes the priority. Sometimes we have set up interviews and those timelines have to be respected.” But despite all the hard work, they still manage to find a day or night here and there to relax and take in the sea. They say “Spending time in the Sea of Cortez definitely had an effect on our souls. It is extraordinary to spend the night at anchor in a deserted island under the Milky Way. No internet. No TV. No phones or other distraction of the ‘civilized’ world. It is rejuvenating in every aspect when your world is the sailboat and your backyard is three-quarters the size of Arizona.”

Cat3 is planning to have the Sea of Cortez documentary completed in the next one to two years depending on how far down the rabbit hole they go. They also have several other projects in their infancy that you can keep your eye out for. They say “Beyond that, we are always open to helping other filmmakers with our camera work. Every project we do is a challenge to be conquered and we learn something new and amazing about our cameras, our abilities and the world of filmmaking.” If you would like to get in touch with Cat3 Productions you ca reach Brice at 602-751-6291 and Ivan at 480-381-8236. You can also email them HERE and visit their website HERE.

Los Amigos In Baja California from Cat3 Productions on Vimeo.

By: Nicki LeggeMike FOTW

With such an amazing film community here in Arizona, it is so easy to accumulate incredibly talented friends. These are people you know you can always rely on to tackle any project by your side, regardless of how crazy the idea may be. One of the people that I am proud to call my friend and fellow crew mate is Mike Daiz, a man who was on the very first Jump Ship set and has grown with us over the years. Jump Ship recently went through a large transition, one of the main changes being the move away from film challenges toward other ventures. As we’ve been gearing up to take on the biggest project we have ever set our eyes on, we’ve also been working on a strange little short film involving a devious Banana. We knew that we could rely on Mike to help us bring our vision to life, and boy did he rock our socks off. We are proud to name Mike Diaz as our Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week.

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Every filmmaker has an origin story that they hold close to their heart. For Mike, his story begins five years ago with fantasy football and his best friend, Jonathan Levi Mauiri. One day they decided to film a video making fun of their fantasy football league, and they had so much fun that they kept making more. Mike says, “Back then we were using this humongous old school camera; It looked like we had a RPG on our shoulders! The camera had no functioning battery pack so we had to use extension cords to lug it around on our shoots. The quality was horrible, but we made up for it with a hilarious story to tell! We were naturals!”

Mike has always had an affinity for telling stories, using his words to captivate his family and friends by painting a picture with his famous Mike Diaz charisma. He says “Comedy was my medicine, and I loved making people laugh!” The film community was a perfect way for him to exercise his talents. He is absolutely in love with writing, although he says he feels like he has been acting all his life. Mike believes “nothing is more fulfilling than immersing yourself in a role, and shooting the video in your mind of this character’s life!” With that much love for the craft, Mike and Jon decided to build their own production company, A Mexican and a Jew Productions.

With such an amazing name, I had to know just how they got the idea for A Mexican and a Jew Productions. Mike says, “I remember the day it came to Jon, and I. We were trying to think of a name that stands out, and conveys the kind of personalities you were dealing with. Our good friend Chrissy Jensen was on the phone in a meeting at her work, and somehow the phrase ‘Well you are a Mexican and a Jew, right? Why not A Mexican and a Jew Productions?’ We immediately started laughing, and apparently the people in her meeting did too. And so it began!”

A Mexican and a Jew Productions is a company with a lot of talent and even more heart. Mike says Jon is my brother, the best man I know, and I love him very much. He’s the one that has encouraged me, even when I don’t believe in myself. It’s because of him I believe we can do this!” His favorite part of filmmaking is all of the wonderful people that he gets to share his creativity with. Being surrounded by hard working passionate people who grow to become your friends and family is what he lives for.

Because of his absolute love for film, Mike is an invaluable asset to have on set. He is willing to do any job, no matter how big or small. When we asked him to be a part of our project “Who is the Mannequin?,” he “didn’t hesitate to climb aboard!” Our tight knit crew has grown into a pretty amazing family. As Mike puts it, “This is a crew filed with hardworking people that know how to have fun! It’s in between takes, that’s where you really get to know people!” But aside from having fun and bonding, Mike really stepped up to the plate during this shoot. Not only did he make a darn good dolly grip, but when our boom mic operator had to leave early, Mike took the reins and dominated a position that he had never done before. He says “I’ve never run sound before, so when I was asked I was a bit reluctant. I stepped up to the challenge, learned as much as possible, and believe I did a good job!”

You can see the fruits of all the hard work that went into “Who is the Mannequin?” at the Filmbar Phoenix on July 31st. A Mexican and a Jew Productions also just finished working on a Promo video with the local band, No Gimmick! You can go to the CD release party tomorrow at Pub Rock Live. Not only is Mike a permanent member of the Jump Ship family who also runs his own production company, but he is very interested in working with anyone and everyone in the film community. He says “In Arizona there is strong art culture, where local artist from all walks of life band together to help create, and promote each other’s work. Working with other production companies is not only something I would love to do, it’s also a duty in my opinion. One such production company that has always stepped up to plate and helped us out is Lucky 20 Pictures. Talented, hard working, and lovable group!”

You can find A Mexican and a Jew Productions on facebook, or you can contact Mike via email Here  or phone at 480-444-9649. He says “I’m a shake hands, and kiss babies kind of guy; give me a call! Do it!”

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By: Nicki Legge Conundrum Still - Bill WetherillI am a firm believer that every person on a film set ought to understand how a story should unfold or they have no business being there. Although you cannot have a good story without exceptional writing, since film is a visual medium and we cannot rely on to tell our story, actors take a big part in conveying our message to the audience. I have recently noticed several of our talented Arizona actors have not only been branching out to roles that are more involved behind the camera, but also succeeding more than I saw coming. I think that it is the understanding of what it takes to tell a story without words that gives these creative connoisseurs their ability to transition so flawlessly. Bill Wetherill is a key example of the successful actor gone brilliantly rogue, which is why we chose him as Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week. At the young age of seven, Bill was told that he would have to go to summer school because he was behind in reading. While most children would consider this an unfair burden, Bill made the best of the situation. He says somehow those wonderful teachers taught me how words made stories and ignited my imagination. I would devour books after that.” Bill’s family didn’t have a television until he was about 12, so he spent most of his time reading book after book, often one a day. It wasn’t until he turned 14 that his love of stories turned to film. A new video rental place opened down the street from his house, so he and his friends would rent every film they could carry and spend the whole weekend watching them. Although Bill grew to love movies, he never quite built up the courage to pursue filmmaking as a passion until about three years ago when a friend convinced him to join Rebel Filmmakers Meetup (now known as Filmstock Social). Once Bill got his feet wet at the social, he spotted an audition notice and decided that it was time just go for it. He was cast in the first role he ever auditioned for. Through this project, he began to get to know the AZ film community. Then as he sat in the audience during the Phoenix Film Festival just a few months later, he became inspired by the short films. He decided that he wanted no regrets in life, and a filmmaker was born. Bill went on to graduate from Kevin Phipps’s Meisner course. He says “I felt that it was important for me to work on learning some solid acting skills and not solely depend on ‘natural ability’ because I didn’t want to be the weak link in someone’s passion project.” Originally, Bill thought his talents would best be served as a writer or director, but acting became his portal into the film world. Although acting will always be his first love, Bill decided to create Resonant Films “to build on the idea of making films that resonate with people.” As of now, Resonant is a “concept company” and is solely comprised of Bill, however he says, “I look to connect with like minded people to produce quality films that connect with the audience.” He launched the company last year when he shot his film A Day on Bleaker Street for the IFP Breakout Challenge in 2013. This was Bill’s first time writing and directing a film. It received 3rd place and Best actor, and went on to be accepted into the Jerome Film Festival, the Phoenix Film Festival, and the Logan Film Festival. Bill decided to take part in the Breakout Challenge again this year with his second film as Resonant Films. He likes this challenge in particular because, unlike 48 hour challenges, it allows filmmakers the time to really make a quality film with a well thought out story behind it. The idea for “Conundrum” struck Bill about a year ago, and has been lingering there ever since. Bill and his collaborator, Kristin LaVanway decided that they wanted to pursue this story if the challenge requirements allowed. The film came about as a social commentary, highlighting the struggles of a man who is trying to live a normal life after getting in trouble with the law. Bill Wrote, Produced, and Starred in “Conundrum”. He says that writing the film helped him tremendously as an actor because “I already had a vision of the character so I had already done much of my character prep in the writing process.” Bill appreciates the importance of quality cinematography and audio. (which can be a rarity in these challenges). Although his team did run into some technical issues, he says that having thorough pre-production and an amazing team made the wrinkles easy to iron out. The only difficulty they encountered was running a little long one night of the shoot. Bill says “we just kept going ‘til we got what we needed and not too soon as the roosters literally crowed and the sun began to rise.”Conundrum” went on to win 2nd Place, Best Actor (Bill Wetherill), Best Cinematography (Jason Ryan) and Best Sound Design (Christian Ruckdaschel & Jonathan Grove). Bill is currently in preproduction on a feature film called “Brazilian Wood that he is co-producing with Kristin LaVanway and will also be acting in. He is also taking part in a few short films throughout the valley. Bill is most definitely interested in collaborating with everyone and anyone. He says “I am an actor after all!” If you are interested in getting in touch with Bill, you can reach him through facebook, or email him HERE.

Conundrum – Trailer from Kristin LaVanway on Vimeo.

By: Nicki Legge

Ian Freemanified

Ian Freemanified

Over the past decade, nerd culture has been on the rise to the point that it is no longer considered “uncool” to enjoy a good comic book or to be overly enthusiastic about a game. One of the things that have come out of this newfound acceptance of all things geek is a large amount of fan films based on some of our favorite characters. We can now not only openly enjoy the stories and characters in a comic, game, book, etc. but we can see them come to life before our eyes, sometimes better translated than others. I recently had the pleasure of beating Portal and Portal 2 for the first time and got my first exposure to Half-Life, which takes place in the same universe (I know, I’m a little late to the game). I absolutely fell in love with the universe, so when I saw that Ian James Duncan was hosting a Kickstarter to do a Half-Life series, I was insanely excited. Then when I watched their Kickstarter video and saw the level of professionalism and just plain talent that they were bringing to the table, I knew I had found Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week!

Often times we filmmakers are born when we see a movie (or movies) that really touches us. For Ian, his inspiration came in the form of The Game, The Shawshank Redemption, and American History X. He says that these films had “a profound effect” on him. On top of that, the game Half-Life was “a game changing piece of entertainment and certainly influenced (his) decision to get into film.” Although his interest in the industry was growing, to Ian, the world of film seemed fascinating and captivating, but impractical as a career path; Hollywood was thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet.” This all changed while Ian was vacationing in Florida and he happened to stumble onto a film school campus. Suddenly the world of film seemed like something that was actually attainable. He went to film school in 2001 at Full Sail University, but his film career didn’t fully take off until he moved to LA in 2006.

Ian has always been a big fan of PC gaming, his favorite games being First Person Shooters like Wolfenstien 3D, Doom, Quake, and Unreal, but he says Half-Life… was it for me. The story was so compelling and tied to a video game genre I loved… The game changed my life.  I now work in the video game industry because of that game. I have fantasized about working at Valve, read their handbook….  Basically cyber stalked the company.” Ian decided to turn this obsession into something of his own. He started playing around with the idea of doing a fan film, so he created the company Chariotdrive to give his new project a home. He did a few shorts, including “Enter the Freeman,” which displays an amazing attention to detail and some insanely realistic effects. Ian says “the plan was to grow the channel. But then nature intervened… This time around the films will probably live on Infectious Designers site and YouTube channel.”

Ian launched an Indiegogo campaign on February 2, 2013 for The Freeman Chronicals, which is a Half-Life series with Enter the Freeman as the first Episode. Brian Curtin with Infectious Designer reached out to see if there was any way he could help the campaign. Infectious Designer also produced a Half-Life fan film of their own called “Beyond Black Mesa” that displays an amazing use of visual effects on a small budget, so Ian simply said “let’s team up!” Ian says “We bring the pre-production and production on this one, and Brian will work mostly in post. The writing, props, production, casting, campaign has mostly been done on our side and I think the reverse will be true in post…  But we are essentially one production for this.  We will all be traveling to the locations for production and all be working on the post.  Brian is a very talented filmmaker, editor and VFX artist so he will be involved as much as he can be.”

The number of episodes in the Freeman Chronicals relies entirely on how much money they can raise. The indiegogo campaign back in 2013 raised $22,265 of their $75000 goal, and now they are back at it again with a Kickstarter campaign that has already breached their $12,000 goal by far. Ian says “Originally we wrote a detailed treatment for five, ten minute episodes but when the indiegogo campaign failed we realized that it was just not possible.  The idea was to get economies of scale and add things here and there but with the primary photography done.  The plan now is to do one episode and then put all into that one.” They have a total of six episodes currently written and ready to go if they can obtain the funding for each one.

The Freeman Chronicals take place “Early in the first game after Gordon reaches the surface and starts to face off against the marines,” but the series will not be playing out any of the scenes from the game itself. Ian says “playing out scenes from the game would be dull and predicable.  There is also no real antagonist in the game that we could use at this budget.  We put a nice one together for the series and have kept it for this single episode. This sort of fits in in there somewhere as a lost episode for people who know the game well.” They plan to use some of the effects that made “Enter the Freeman” so impressive in their upcoming episodes, including the all too real headcrabs, designed by Steve Wang, who worked on big budget films like Predator, Underworld, and Hellboy. Ian says Steve made the first headcrab for his son for a Halloween costume.  That’s how we were able to get something so amazing on no budget…  It’s only that he is a big gamer and Half-Life fan himself that he agreed to let us use the mold that he sculpted the first time around.” 

The Freeman Chronicals will be shot in the San Francisco Bay area, and possibly some areas of Los Angeles. Ian and his crew are pouring all of their free time into bringing their vision to life, putting all of their efforts into this project. As it says in their Kickstarter video, they value quality over quantity. If you would like to check out their Kickstarter, or watch the original short, “Enter the Freeman,” and Infectious Design’s short “Beyond Black Mesa” you can find them HERE. If you would like to reach out to Ian, you can either contact him through the Kickstarter page, or email them HERE.

By: JP Frydrych

249042_10200227483724665_1713961734_nWe started to run these articles with intent to highlight filmmakers on a weekly basis, but it turns out that with only two people running the articles, Nicki Legge and myself. It can become a difficult juggling act between productions, work, personal endeavors, etc. I think it also has a lot to do with the fact that we take every aspect of Jump Ship very seriously, including the articles. We want to give each person that we write about the justice they deserve because we pick people that we feel take this stuff as seriously as we do.

I met Charles Peterson last year at Phoenix Comicon; he had a few films playing and I had the pleasure of seeing two of them. From the few words we exchanged at Comicon, I can tell you that Charles is very passionate about his work, and although his work is extremely edgy, he’s probably one of the most grounded people I’ve met. Comicon has a block of films that screen really late at night. I am referring to the 18+ category. I found it interesting that I met Charles at the Con in the middle of the afternoon, considering there are tens of thousands of people that attend Comicon and the 18 + section usually screens at around midnight. The other reason I find this intriguing is because in 2012 one of my films was part of the 18+ films at the Phoenix Comicon. When Charles told me his film was playing in that category, I felt compelled to make my way back to the screening hall later that night. Let me tell you, Charles’s film blew my submission out of the water! The film I saw was Sex and Violence, and it rocked my world. Without giving too much away, the title hits the nail on the head. We didn’t pick Charles as Jump Ship Productions Filmmaker of the Week because we met him a year ago though. We picked him because he is working on a new short film that sounds really good.

Typically we write an article style piece about the Filmmaker of the Week, but Charles’s attention to detail and his wonderful grammar has inspired us to share his comments as raw as the essence of all of Charles’s films (Interview Style).

Nicki: How long have you been involved in filmmaking?

Wow, since I was a kid and made home videos. I took it seriously back in 2000 with a short film I made in black and white called “CD-ROM”. The film was heavily inspired by David Cronenberg’seXistenZ. There was a contest online that I wanted to do and the idea was to film, shoot, and edit a short entirely by yourself. When I looked at the deadline it had already passed. The idea of shooting a short like that inspired me to still do it as a personal challenge. This is one of my favorite “old school” films and one that I’m still proud of considering the time it was made. In 2004 I wrote and directed an unfinished film called “The Slick White Rabbit” starring Patti Tindall, Shannon Power, and Mark Ray. The story was about Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick finding her inspiration through drugs to write the song “White Rabbit”. In 2009, I had the pleasure of working with seasoned actor Corbin Bernsen for the movie “Closets” produced by Old World Producers Group. While the film was a complete disaster from the beginning, it was an honor to work with such a professional actor. I would not trade the experience for anything.


Nicki: What sparked your interest in film?

HBO and Showtime. When I was a kid my mom had cable and subscribed to HBO and Showtime and I would watch a lot of movies on there. A lot of the films may have been too mature for my age range. “Ghostbusters” is so much better watching it as an adult. I must say the year that really pushed my interest in film was the summer of 1996. In my opinion, the best summer movies came out that year – “Twister”, “Mission: Impossible”, “Independence Day”, etc. It was around that time that I really decided to make movies professionally, or try to. DVDs had started to surface and I loved that technology so much that I would buy every movie that came out. I purchased this one flick that was rated NC-17 because up until that time I had never seen a film so rated.  That movie was “CRASH” (the David Cronenberg version). I watched the movie and hated it. I didn’t get it and it really disturbed me. It was a movie that I could not get out of my head. Why did I keep thinking about a motion picture that didn’t arouse me, or even make sense?  I actually had to buy the book and read it to better understand the movie! To keep this short, I read the book and it was actually very close to the film. You just have to accept what these characters are doing. I have a deep love for that film, it took me on a journey that I have never seen or experienced before. Now going back and watching it today, it is a beautifully presented dark film that I think is done very tastefully, and that is why I love film. Take me on a journey that isn’t everyday normal life.

Nicki: I see that you do a lot of writing, directing, and producing. Are there any other roles that you enjoy behind and in front of the camera?

Actually, I hate the writing part. I do not consider myself a good writer at all. I would rather collaborate on the writing process with someone else. That being said, I really love the editing aspect of film making. I think it’s where the movie comes together as a whole. I love operating the camera, too. I love bringing other film makers on board as producer under the Cool Wave Pictures banner to build our team of talent. Kenneth Miller and Cody Everett are prime examples of that. They are very talented people and I am honored they allowed me to produce their films. In front of the camera? Yes, I confess I have done it, but try to avoid so at all costs. Haha.

Nicki: All of the films of yours that I have seen have a very dark and cynical feel. Even “Clint,” which is an all-around fun film, still had a bit of a sinister element to it. What is it that draws you to this type of film?

I think what draws me to the dark material is a fascination for the human mind. I want to take my audience on a journey they would never take in real life. I’m not a dark person at all.  I’m actually nervous, shy, and maybe a little neurotic at times. I don’t try to be dark and cynical on purpose, but it’s those types of films that get me excited and for whatever reason I latch on to. Maybe it’s my love and fascination for David Cronenberg’s work. I don’t know. “Clint” was actually a fluke. I just got into DSLR cinema and was really anxious to film a movie on the new camera. At the same time Cameron Cooper sent me a crappy cell phone video of him doing a Clint Eastwood impersonation and he wanted me to put it on YouTube. I told him it looked like crap and that we should entirely improvise a short. We came up with an outline and filmed it the next day. We needed actors so I called up Patrick Adam and Carrie Fee. They agreed to do it and the finished product is something more than we expected.  With “Sex and Violence” I wanted to explore sexuality in a married couple’s life, so it was obvious we had to make a dark film. Having Javier Gomez as my DP really made that happen visually. What excited me about the films that I collaborated with Jose Rosete on (“Win, Lose, or Draw”, “Schism”, and “Sex and Violence”) was that he writes his screenplays with a lot of reality in them, and sometimes real life is dark and sinister. Happy films, or films with happy endings, just don’t interest me. “Clint” wouldn’t be as fun with a happy ending. I love the way that film ends.


Nicki: I’ve noticed a lot of familiar faces between your films (Carrie Fee, Patrick Adam, Jose Rosete, etc.). How did you meet your key actors and what makes you bring them back on set?

I met Jose Rosete on another film set while casting for my short “Laws of Deception” in 2006. He was eager to do the film and the rest is history. Not only is he a brilliant actor, but a brilliant writer as well.  We would end up collaborating on several other projects over the years. He is a joy to work with. Patrick I met on a casting session for “The 11th Aggression“.  I initially cast him in a small role, but when the lead actor dropped out he took over. After that, I cast him in “Win, Lose, or Draw“, “Sex and Violence”, “Clint”, “Closets”, and “Schism”. I consider him a good friend and would cast him in future projects.

Carrie Fee I actually met through Patrick Adam. She came from the world of theater and “Sex and Violence” was her first film role. I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for her the movie would never have come out the way I envisioned it. She portrayed the role of Cassandra so perfectly and beautifully, which was not an easy thing to do – not just for the nudity, but for the craziness that Cassandra projected. I cannot think of another actress that could own that role like Carrie Fee did. I owe a lot to her for the incredible performance and her professional attitude regarding the film.

Nicki: How long has Cool Wave Pictures been around?

Cool Wave Pictures started back in 1993 as a potential software production company. When I was in high school I took a computer programming course and created a game. I wanted to come up with a company name, but had a hard time settling on one. I do a lot of thinking while in the shower, and when I was putting on deodorant the scent I was using was called Cool Wave. So I called my pseudo company Cool Wave Software. When I started film I carried the name over. First it was Cool Wave Studios, then it changed to Cool Wave Pictures in 2002. Wild Rain Pictures, also part of the Cool Wave label for internet productions, came from a deodorant scent as well.  So I suppose I owe a lot to Gillette. To this day I still use Cool Wave deodorant.

Nicki: When did you create Cool Wave Post?

Cool Wave Post & Digital Media was created in 2012 to assist companies with their video production needs. We have worked with several clients including Sweet Corn Organic Nursery, The Village Health Club & Spas, British Automotive Repair, and others to name a few. Our goal is to create high quality video productions for anyone’s budgetary needs.

Nicki: What is the basic premise for 3 cars?

The story of “3 Cars” follows politician Hugo Parker, who’s likely to win an election to become state senator. He is running against his father’s principles to spite the former politico. The movie is basically a political thriller where everyone, it doesn’t matter what side you are on, is shady, dirty. I don’t really follow politics because there are always dirty games being played behind the scenes. It’s basically a fuck you to politics, but first and foremost a family drama.


Nicki: How did you come up with the concept?

The idea of “3 Cars” came while I was pondering how cool it would be to start with one car parked in a neighborhood and travel to another car parked elsewhere. I always wanted to do a political thriller, again an FU to politics. After I wrote a draft of the script, I enlisted Michael Sallustio to do re-writes. Our final shooting script is labeled draft 9, but I think we must’ve done 12-15 drafts over time.

Nicki: How long do you anticipate the finished product will be?

I think the finished product will be anywhere from 12-15 minutes. When doing a short film, not only do I direct, but also edit. I think it’s very important for me to cut my own films. While engaged in the editing process you are still directing your film, plus I love working with Avid. To be honest, I really don’t know how long the film will be. I usually don’t worry about that unless the film drags. Pacing is everything! I don’t think a lot of film makers know pacing. You can set yourself a goal, but the story can’t be too slow or too fast. I’m sure I’ll have to make sacrifices to make it work, but it’ll be well worth it.

Nicki: When do you anticipate the film will premiere?

Since this is an early 2014 production, along with my other film “Homecoming”, we may have to do a screening/premiere separately – hopefully getting into the Phoenix Film Festival next year. If we can get them done sooner, maybe Jerome this year. I would recommend checking our website for the latest screening information at www.coolwavepictures.com.

Nicki: Do you plan to take the film to any festivals?

Submitting to film festivals is a given with all of Cool Wave Pictures’ shorts. I always try to have their world premieres at Phoenix. “Laws of Deception” was the first short film that was an official selection and we had a great time at the festival. Chris Lamont and Jason Carney run an incredible festival and we are so lucky that it’s in our hometown. I have had my shares of rejections and I know it’s a difficult process to select everyone’s film. To me, Phoenix is the big dog in Arizona.

Nicki: What do you hope the audience will take away from the film?

You can want the audience to feel a certain way, but sometimes you are surprised by what people tell you after the film. With “Sex and Violence” I wanted the audience to feel disturbed, depressed, and even horrified at what they just saw. I got exactly that. That was the first film I’ve made where people – strangers even – came up to me and told be how disturbing the film was. I wasn’t insulted, I was proud! “Homecoming” is starting to take form as an intense drama, while “3 Cars” will be an intriguing thriller/drama. You can rarely predict how an audience will feel.

Nicki: What other projects are you working on right now?

I am working on “3 Cars” and “Homecoming” back-to-back, which I will never do again, but it’s been fun. I am also doing pre-pro on a feature film tentatively titled “DARK”. A film that follows the investigation of a sex club (think “Eyes Wide Shut” merged with “The Ninth Gate”). I really want to push some boundaries with that film – no holding back! I want it real and gritty. Everyone tells me that I need to turn “Sex and Violence” into a feature, but I won’t unless Jose Rosete is on board – which is a long shot. I am certain I will be working again with Kenneth Miller and Cody Everett on their future projects, and hope to build my team up even more! I just want to make films, because I love the art form!

By: Nicki Legge

A state film office provides many resources to filmmakers, assists in finding locations for productions, and often consults productions on financial aspects of filming within the state, including any incentives that the state may have. A film office is crucial for any state that hopes to have a successful film industry. Without one, the state is essentially closed for business to large productions that are looking for a place to shoot. Arizona used to be home to many various film productions including Casablanca, The Kingdom, and Wayne’s World (one of my personal favorites) among many others. The AZ film office, however, closed in 2009 due to budgetary reasons, forcing many productions to look elsewhere for locations to shoot. On Thursday, January 16th, Sen. Carlyle Begay sponsored the bill, SB 1098, to bring back the film office, and with him at the state capitol buzzed a flurry of filmmakers rallying for a cause that they believe in with all their hearts. At the head of that rally was a man named Randy Murray, Jump Ship Production’s pick for Filmmaker of the Week.

Back in 1978, Randy began his studies in production at Arizona State University while worked at channel 8 as a set builder. He instantly fell in love. He says, “When you are expressing yourself creatively, your day flies by, your mind whirls and you feel empowered and proud.  I loved building sets, then I moved up to lighting and found such magic in sculpting with light and shadows.  I soon got the chance to do camera work and was taken by the art of composition, then editing and the art of pacing.  By the time I graduated I was head and tails in love with the work we do including directing, writing and producing.  I had the good fortune to work as a grip on large commercial shoots and found out what the word ‘teamwork’ means.” At the finale of his college years, Randy sold his senior project to Channel 5, jumpstarting his career in broadcasting. He worked for a large production company for eleven years, and then decided that he was ready to branch out and start up his own film production company, Randy Murray Productions.

Randy met his wife, Theresa while she was still in high school. As their relationship blossomed, so did their careers. Randy decided to go the production rout, while Theresa climbed ladders in the business world. When Randy decided to create his production company, he knew just who to turn to for a partner. He says Theresa “had climbed the latter at large accounting and legal firms and was a top notch manager and strategic thinker who would put up with my crazy ways.” Randy and Theresa took much pride in the quality of work they put out, and over time they realized that there was even more to it than just creating top notch content. Randy says, “Later in my career I discovered that the stories I was telling, the images I was creating, and the words I was writing had power to persuade and change the way people looked at the world.  It was this realization that sparked my interest the most.  I now know that I could do what I love to do and do it for the good of our community.”

On top of running their film production company, Randy and Theresa also decided to start their own post-production studio. Randy says “I had a favorite editor, Kevin Ruest, who had a falling out with his boss at a local post facility.  Kevin was thinking about getting out of the editing game, so Theresa and I offered to buy the equipment if Kevin and his wife Susie would run the business.  They accepted and Postal was born. The name came from Kevin’s temperament in the suite; he was crazy good, wildly creative and scared the hell out of clients, the perfect partner.  Unfortunately he passed tragically and Postal lives in his honor striving to be crazy good, wildly creative, and we have matured to be nice to clients.” Although Randy has an amazing life with his wife and their two companies, he will always be a dreamer striving for goals that are growing to bigger and better things. He says, “I set my goals while in college, I set them way high, unachievably high… But my failures are key wisdoms I brought to our business when Theresa and I started out.  While we worked hard, bled long and gave much to be here, I know my success is a gift of our community.”  

Before Sen. Begay made his way up to the state capitol on January 16h, he called Randy on the phone to schedule a meeting. Randy of course agreed, and sat down with the senator to talk about gathering the troops for a rally in support of the bill he was about to sponsor. Randy jumped on the chance to be a part of something so important for the film community.  He called upon his experiences from college, where he organized a rally for “John Anderson for President,” and quickly got to work.  Randy puts the head count for the rally at about 30-40 politicians, at least that many key staffers, and over 100 filmmakers. When I asked Randy if he felt that they made an impact, he replied, “Actually I am sure we did.  I personally talked to a couple representatives who had very strong objections and tough questions, then I saw that they had decided to jump on board and cosponsored the bill.  Senator Begay wanted at least four sponsors, a Democrat and Republican from each house. He ended up getting 12 Representatives and 14 Senators.”

Although it is looking like the bill will pass both houses, Randy says “The process is just beginning… the real danger of failure is when it is in committees.The Appropriations Committee should be one of the toughest to get through.  The bill give the film office a budget of $612,000 a year, that is not a lot for a state film office or a lot compared to the numbers that are tossed around in budget meetings.  However, if the committee chair does not feel our industry is something he supports he can single handedly kill it by simply not bringing it up for discussion.”  Randy is more than willing to get his hands dirty again if the Senator asks for more help, and the rest of us can also do our part. Randy believes that it is important that we filmmakers “know who our three representatives are, and we need to reach out to them and let them know that we are film makers, we live in their district, that we vote, that we are active, and most importantly, that we ask for their support of Bill SB 1098.”  You can find your legislators HERE!

Aside from his work with the rally, Randy Murray Productions is beginning production this Sunday on a film for the National Geographic Channel. They also “just landed a six episode series for Discovery ID,” and are in talks with Discovery ID on a show of their own. Randy Murray Productions also recently created a documentary called The Joe Show, about our very own Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which is going to the Sedona International Film Festival. Randy says, “When I need hire someone new, the first place I go to is the APA website.  I strongly suggest any serious production person be a member of APA.  Over the years, this organization has been the one place that we could come together to get jobs and get things done.  There are so many people in our community who are working so hard to stay in our industry or get a break in it. The best chance of working on one of our projects is through personal contact with one of the keys on that project.” You can follow Randy Murray Productions on Facebook.

By: Nicki Legge

!cid_ii_1438eb8a34efd39cBeing able to think outside the box is a trait that all great filmmakers must have; anyone who has been on a film set knows that nothing ever goes 100% according to plan, and you have to be able to roll with the punches. On top of being prepared for anything on set, thinking outside the box is also important during the pre-production phases. Most of us young aspiring filmmakers have huge ideas and little to no budget. We have to get creative with finding the right props, obtaining appealing locations, and pulling together wardrobes to transform our actors. But even when you get all your props from Goodwill and all your locations are free, some kind of budget is often necessary. Luca Patruno has decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary to raise funds for his project, Choices.” Because of his out of the box thinking, we have decided to make him our pick for Jump Ship Productions’ Filmmaker of the Week.

Luca began writing scripts when he was in the eighth grade. He was always fascinated with movies growing up, but he didn’t get actively involved in the community until he began going to film school at Scottsdale Community College. Luca has gotten his hands wet in every area of filmmaking, although he has concentrated the most on writing and directing. He says, “I’ve had crazy and odd life experiences that I feel the stories should be shared with people.” Although he loves writing and directing, Luca also wishes to learn lighting. He says “it’s my weakest point, and I feel knowing that aspect will help me be a better all-around filmmaker.” During his time at SCC, Luca has won two first place awards for his scripts, and this past fall, one of two of the scripts chosen to be part of the Capstone films at SCC were his.

Luca’s latest film, Choices is about “an alcoholic woman. Her husband… asks what she is going to do if something terrible happens and she’s too drunk to protect herself and her children. When an intruder breaks into their home and threatens not only her life, but also her kids’ lives, she must decide whether the bottle of wine or her own children are more important.” Luca feels very strongly about alcoholism among adults “particularly those with children.” His main character gets placed in a very extreme situation, however he believes that it is “realistic and shows what alcohol abuse can do to the mind.” He anticipates that Choices will be about ten minutes long once it has been completed. Although the subject matter is very dark, Luca hopes to use the shock factor to send a strong message. He hopes that it will make the audience “think twice about how they treat alcohol abuse, and… learn that there’s a point where you need to grow up and know what your priorities are.”

In order to raise funds to produce his film, Luca decided to do something that I haven’t seen any other filmmaker do in the valley. He partnered with a local restaurant, Pomo Pizzeria, to hold a fundraiser, where he brings in extra business, and the pizzeria gives him a portion of the night’s profits. Luca says, “I think doing something like this makes people feel like they’re not just giving me money and seeing what happens without anything in return… they’re going out and having a nice meal… but also supporting you and your film.” Luca worked at Pomo Pizzeria for over a year, and “became very close with the owners and other workers.” He chose to do his fundraiser there because the idea worked for his last film and he is convinced that anyone who walks through the door will want to keep coming back. Luca plans to begin shooting toward the end of March, with an anticipated premiere of the beginning of the summer 2014. Most of the films he has done in the past have made their way onto YouTube, however Luca feels that this one is special. He says “I believe this film can be a big one for my career/future, so I will definitely submit it to festivals. I think it will do well in them.”

Aside from working on his film “Choices,” Luca also has a feature film in the works! The film is called “Far Away,” and is “based on a true story about a young boy whose online girlfriend turns out to be a psychopathic pedophile.” He hopes to show the script around to find an investor who wants to see it made. On top of that, Luca is planning a move to California, where he hopes to find bigger and better opportunities. Luca says “I am always interested in collaborating with other production groups. I love the people that I’ve met thus far, and I’ve seen that there’s so much talent out here, and I hope to meet and work with more people.” If you are interested in working with Luca, you can reach him HERE.

977431_10202070055625568_542492901_oBy: Nicki Legge

It is no secret that we love film challenges at Jump Ship Productions. Just about every film we have ever produced has been for a challenge with the IFP Phoenix or Almost Famous Film Festival (A3F). Challenges are a great way to get your name out there and meet tons of amazing and talented people, but they are also good for winning prizes! Every year Doritos hosts the Crash the Super Bowl Ad contest where people all over the world can submit their own 30 second spot to compete for a slot during THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL! And if that wasn’t enough, the winner of the contest this year will also receive a prize of $1,000,000 and will be invited to join the crew on the set of Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Our Filmmaker of the Week, Ryan Andersen, not only submitted a funny and well made ad to the contest, but he has made it amazingly far in the contest, top five to be exact! Now it’s up to the public to vote for which one will be the winner.

Ryan has loved going to the movies with his parents since he was about four years old. He has always loved the magic of the cinema, but when he saw the film “Requiem for a Dream” for the first time, he knew that he just had to be a part of this wonderful art form. He has now been happily engaged in the film community for ten years! Like many of our great independent locals, Ryan takes on the tasks of writing, casting, shooting, directing, editing, sound design, and coloring. Every day brings a new learning experience, and that’s just the way he likes it. Ryan says “My main passion is Directing but I think learning all other aspects help me become a better director!” Throughout the years, he has won numerous awards with the A3F and IFP Phoenix “The last short film (he) did was ‘The Fall.’ It won best story, best director, best actor, and best film.  Then it went on to the Phoenix Film Festival and it won best film of the year for IFP’s shorts!”

Like many of us film fanatics, Ryan’s dream is to get noticed and make movies for a living, and what better way to get noticed than to air during the Super Bowl? He entered into the challenge, but had absolutely no idea that he would actually make it to the top five! Out of all of the Grand Prize Winner awards for the contest, Ryan is “most stoked about airing during the Super Bowl!” He is also incredibly excited for the opportunity to work on the set of The Avengers. And who wouldn’t be? This is an insanely larger than life production, with an ‘A list’ cast, and so many opportunities to learn and grow with a large professional crew. Money is also a perk. If Ryan wins the million, he plans to buy a home for his son and use the money that is left over to produce a film that is all ready to go. Ryan does not have to be a grand prize winner to walk away from this experience with something to show for it. His ad has already gotten great exposure on the Doritos Crash the Super Bowl website, and just by making it into the top five, Ryan will already be eligible to receive a “Finalist Prize” consisting of $25,000 USD!

The concept for Ryan’s ad, “Doritos Time Machine” came to him while he was watching “Back to the Future” with his son. Ryan says “he wanted a time machine so I said I would build him one. I thought of a refrigerator box, and started to decorate it!  As I did this, I just started to think how cute it would play as a commercial. I thought of a scenario around it and VOILA!” Once he had his concept, Ryan jumped into Pre-production. It took him one week to pull together everything he needed, including his cast and crew, consisting of old friends and new faces. Ryan says, “I have worked with Tommy Schaeffer on many spots, and Raj Suri, my producer has worked with me on all of our past Dorito submissions! I had never worked with Daved Wilkins (Mr. Smith) or Jim Coates (Old Man) ever before, and yes, I will bring back my team to work in the future! 100%.” The shoot went well. It only took about seven hours, and the only difficulty they ran into was working with an untrained dog. Ryan says “it was difficult to get him to stay still… but once we did, I was ready to shoot it and move on!” After the shoot, Ryan spent over 80 hours in the editing room, making sure everything from the sound to the coloring was perfect.

Ryan says “I would love to do another spot next year!  However I feel like it should be left to ‘another me’ to have their chance and moment to experience what I am feeling right now!” Aside from pumping his ad, which you can vote for HERE, after the contest is over, Ryan is determined to produce his first feature film.  He is always more than willing to collaborate with other filmmakers, because nothing makes a good film like a great crew. If you are interested in working with Ryan, you can reach him HERE. I highly suggest vising doritos.com to vote for your favorite (and by favorite, I mean Doritos Time Machine, first because it is awesome, and second because we should all work together to bring this amazing exposure to Arizona).

Vote for Time Machine here!

By: JP Frydrych

At Jump Ship Productions, we love to hear about how individual filmmakers found their way to the community, which is where the idea for our Filmmaker of the Week articles came from. Everyone has a story to tell about how they got into this thing called filmmaking, and that, in my opinion, is by far the most interesting part of their story. Comic books refer to this as the “origin story”. My favorite origin story comes from Mike Rea. On the set of “The Face of Innocence” Mike told me he got into filmmaking because he saw the films that were being produced in Hollywood and didn’t like them, so he felt he must to do something about it. I found this to be the simplest yet the most compelling because I am a firm believer that if you don’t like something it’s not going to fix itself.

I find myself roaming the hallways of a lot of different theaters, because when I am not making movies, I study them. Last year I saw about 50+ films in the theater, about 20 of which were Hollywood Blockbusters. At the end of 2012, I started using the Flixster app on my phone, and I started writing reviews. The reviews started off simple and escalated into rants about how good or bad something was. Nicki Legge and I were thinking of new ideas for the website, and she came up with idea of taking the reviews I was posting on Flixster and creating a new article. This first post will highlight my top 5 picks of 2013, the Dud’s of 2013, and My Netflix favorite. I saw all these movies in the theater with the exception of the Netflix favorite. In 2014 I am going to post my picks for best and worst each quarter. Hope you enjoy!

Top 5 in 2013.
the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-poster3#1. The Secret Life of Water Mitty

Reviewed via Flixster on December 29, 2013

All I have to say about this movie is… WOW! If you are a dreamer like me, this is right up your alley. The cinematography was amazing; the characters were the right amount of humorous and believable. Not only are the characters a good blend, but the story has something to offer just about anyone. BTW the story followed the paradigm to a tee. If there is one more movie you see in 2013, see this one. If you can’t see it until next year, make it the first movie you see in 2014. It will kick off your new year in a good way. Usually I write a lot about films, but this is my favorite of 2013, and it is as close to perfect as any film could hope to be in my opinion.

My Rating:Stars - Walter Mitty

iron_man_three_ver11_xlg#2. Iron Man 3

Reviewed via Flixster on May 3, 2013

I was very worried about this film because of what Christopher Nolan did with the third Batman. I am happy to report that this is far from how awful the Dark Knight Rises was. I really enjoyed this film, and why wouldn’t I? Shane Black directed it! So, this is like a buddy cop super hero movie, which is really cool. I feel like Black did a good Job of expressing that it’s not about the Iron Man suit, it’s about the man who pilots the Iron Man suit. The only thing that was super cheesy was Guy Pierce’s fire breathing, but as we saw from his performance in Prometheus, it could have been worse. I can’t wait to see it again!

My Rating:Stars - Iron Man 3 and This is the end

star-trek-into-darkness-poster#3. Star Trek Into Darkness

Reviewed via Flixster on May 17, 2013

This was amazing! The story telling and the visuals were equally matched in this one. I highly recommend seeing this in the IMAX. KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!

My Rating:Stars - Star Trek and Hobbit

the-hobbit-the-desolation-of-smaug-poster#4. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

Reviewed via Flixster on December 19, 2013

This is the first time I am reviewing a sequel of a movie that I previously rated. Unfortunately I didn’t actually review the first one; I just gave it a rating of 3 and half stars. Looking back at that rating and having seen the first one just hours before walking into the second one, I think the rating was a bit low. This film is a visual masterpiece from the beginning to the end (although there really is no end). I’ve seen all of Peter Jackson renditions of the J.R.R. Tolkien’s books in the theater. While it was clear that each film was an installment in a much bigger adventure, I always felt like each film had a good solid ending. This one does not; it just ends. With the exception of a “To be continued” I felt like it was a really long episode of Game of Thrones, shot in 48 frames per second, with no boobs, and the budget that Peter Jackson requires to get things done.

However unlike Game of Thrones, Peter Jackson promised a Dragon and a Dragon is what you get. Not puny dragons, but a monster dragon that is under the curse. This dragon doesn’t just breathe fire, he talks, and he doesn’t talk. He has a sense of wisdom about him that most characters like him do not possess. I feel like the dragon has so many more layers then just being a big fire breathing death machine. He took over the dwarf kingdom because he wanted to. Then he kept it for his own for many years just to become obsessed with the fact that he did such a thing. He’s jaded though, because the gold is under a curse, and he sleeps in the gold. It’s an interesting ongoing theme in this universe. It doesn’t matter how big or powerful you are, there is always something smaller or material that can damage even the most pure of heart.

The story in this film takes a step back in the beginning, but provides a nice segue to where we left off in the first one. Fanboys will appreciate the location in the very beginning. WATCH THE FIRST ONE BEFORE YOU STEP FOOT IN THE THEATRE, unless you have the first one committed to memory. Orlando Bloom is back, but he isn’t the same Legolas from the LOTR trilogy. He seems a lot colder, like he has a chip on his shoulder and without giving too much away it becomes apparent why as the story unfolds. No Liv Tyler in this one, instead we get Lost’s Evangeline Lilly which was a good choice; especially when she has to perform a spot of magic. The acting even from Bloom was phenomenal. Even though the story is way over the top, all of the characters seemed to fit well with each other.

I saw the 48 frame version because that’s how Jackson wanted the audience to experience it. I still want to see the IMAX version, but a true IMAX screen doesn’t support his vision. This film isn’t a must see unless you are into this franchise; however, it is one of the most visually stunning movies I’ve seen all year, and the only way to truly appreciate it isn’t on a 60 inch flat screen it’s at the Megaplex. I am bumping my rating for this film to 4 stars, not because it was better than the first, but because I cannot fathom the amount of work each scene took just so I could feel immersed for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Also, a side note: The last Hollywood movie I saw at the theatre didn’t have an ending… and neither did this one, they sure aren’t expecting much out of screenwriters these days.

My Rating:Stars - Star Trek and Hobbit

this_is_the_end_xlg#5. This Is the End

Reviewed via Flixster on June 28, 2013

Talk about a sleeper! I went into this film with low expectations and was pleasantly surprised. The mash up of genres was well done, and I found myself not knowing what was going to happen next. This film delivers all the way up to the explosive ending when the Backstreet Boys lead the audience to the credits. When I first found out that the actors were playing themselves, I was let down, but after seeing the film that element only makes the movie funnier.

My Rating:Stars - Iron Man 3 and This is the end

The Dud’s of 2013

When a movie is bad I don’t hold back. These are in no particular order because they are all just bad.

Die Hard posterA Good Day to Die Hard

Reviewed via Flixster on February 14, 2013

Would have been an ok movie… But the cinematography was awful! Someone needs to shoot the DP in the face.

My Rating:Stars - Die Hard and Elysium

the-great-gatsby-article-poThe Great Gatsby

Reviewed via Flixster on May 12, 2013

This film was awful! Do not waste your money. I walked out after the first 30 minutes because I knew Scorsese wouldn’t give me my money back. Everything was forced and the acting was terrible. The cinematography was good, but the coloring and effects that were added in post made everything look fake. Jay-Z’s raping + this period piece = WTF?!

My Rating:Stars - Gatsby

gravity-posterGravity

Reviewed via Flixster October 10, 2013

James Cameron said Gravity is the best space film ever made. But I personally believe that James Cameron lost his mind when he signed up do three more Avatar movies. This movie grabbed my attention because of how real everything looked from the trailer. Not just the space scenes, but the plot seemed believable. However when I sat down to watch the film, I found it to be rather boring and completely unrealistic, plot and cinematography. Although I think the academy would like the cinematography, because if they gave best cinematography to Life of Pi in 2013, this film is bound to win it in 2014.

Everyone who saw this film or heard about it claimed you felt like you were actually in space, although real astronauts claim they didn’t come close to what it feels like in space. I felt dizzy through the film which caused me to become bored, and then I passed out about half way through. When I woke up I asked Nicki to fill me in, and I didn’t miss much; it ends how I would expect.

It’s completely unbelievable from the beginning. Why are 50 year olds floating around in space? Especially Sandra Bullock’s character who claims she shut down emotionally after a tragic incident. Last time I checked, NASA puts people through many different tests including psyche tests before putting them into space. Also, why cast these two actors? I understand it from a business prospective, you need stars to sell a movie, but these stars didn’t even look like they were in astronaut suits, it looked like they were added in after the fact. None of the objects that were floating in space looked real because none of them were. They could have filmed this movie without a camera. If I wanted to see an unbelievable 3D animation movie, I would have gone to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 because I bet I wouldn’t have fallen asleep.

Since I don’t like to end things on a negative note, I will say I liked two things. I thought the story telling was so simple that I could easily watch this film and place it in a paradigm. Is that a good thing? Not really, I like to get caught up in the film before I dissect it. But! George Clooney is the man, he can’t do wrong in my book as far as his performance goes. Happy note!

My Rating:Stars - Gravity and Hangover

elysium_ver2_xlgElysium

Reviewed via Flixster on August 13, 2013

Can’t imagine why this film has a 66% on Rotten Tomatoes. The acting was bad, especially Jodie Foster! Just because you did Contact doesn’t qualify you to be Sigourney Weaver’s stand in. The story was even worse. I felt like the writer focused too much on the small Scifi clichés and not enough of the big picture stuff. Not to mention the plot holes! The only two saving graces: 1. There were some interesting visuals of Elysium and 2. (***SPOILER***) Jodie Foster dies in the end, so you don’t have to struggle through the last 15 minutes to keep up with whatever accent she was trying to do. Don’t waste your time or money. If you’re really interested, this is one you should wait to see until it’s available to stream on Netflix or even Crackle. But I’d be willing to wager you’ll enjoy the commercials Crackle plays every ten minutes more so then this $100 million flop.

My Rating:Stars - Die Hard and Elysium

Hangover posterThe Hangover Part III

Reviewed via Flixster on June 2, 2013

I’ve learned to forget everything I know about film when I walk into one of these. This one wasn’t as good as the first one but better then the second. I don’t know how much that’s saying but it had its moments. And part of it was shot in AZ!

My Rating: Stars - Gravity and Hangover

Netflix Favorite
Movie-43_510x756Movie 43

I didn’t write a review for this film because I didn’t feel that it was necessary. It’s a series of shorts that were done by a slew of comedic directors. I couldn’t stop laughing through the entire thing. After I watched this film, I felt compelled to at least rate it, which is why it’s my Netflix Favorite.  That, and because you can stream it right now… so do it! Click HERE to stream!

My Rating:Stars - Movie 43

By: Nicki Legge

A few weeks ago, Jump Ship Productions attended the screening for the IFP Mystery Box Challenge at Harkins Theatre Scottsdale 101. While I always enjoy watching all of the films, normally at these screenings there are usually only a few that stand out above the rest. At this particular screening, I was blown away by the quality of films that were played. It seems that local AZ filmmakers are really stepping up their game, so when Kyle Gerkin heard the name of his film, “After the Beep” called as the Best Overall Film, he was caught delightfully by surprise.

Like many of us film enthusiasts, Kyle’s love of the craft began as a child when he watched two of the greats, E.T. and Return of the Jedi, in theaters. He says “I felt like there was a kind of magic at work when the lights went down and I was transported to another world.” That feeling stuck with him and turned into a fascination that only grew stronger when he held a camera for the first time. During his childhood, Kyle loved to borrow whatever camera he could get his hands on, round up all of his friends, and shoot anything and everything he could come up with. He always had some sort of script pulled together, but being a child, he didn’t have any kind of budget to bring his stories to life. He says “those films were uniformly terrible in every way… but I did learn how to be creative within low budget constraints, since our budget was always zero.”

Kyle’s interest in film continued on into college. He enrolled in Scottsdale Community College as a Film Production major, however his time there was cut short when he became a father. Kyle left school to work full time in Corporate IT. While he says that IT work was “financially rewarding,” Kyle also says that he was “starving creatively.” A little more than a year ago, his very loving and supportive wife convinced him to leave his stable job behind to take one with more flexibility so he could explore his creativity. He says I’m forever grateful for that, because I know I couldn’t have done it without her support and encouragement.” He immediately joined Kevin Phipps’s Meisner acting studio, which introduced him to all sorts of talented individuals within the AZ Film Community, and he’s been making films ever since.

Among the wonderful people that Kyle met was Michael Hanelin, who has been doing a lot of casting for Running Wild Films. Naturally, Running Wild asked Kyle to act in a couple of their shorts for their anthology, 52 Shorts in 52 Weeks. Aside from pumping out short films like it’s going out of style, Travis Mills has also been teaching locals his style of filmmaking. Kyle decided to “try his hand behind the camera.” He took Travis’s class and created his first film”Foster, You’re Dead.” Kyle says that Foster is still his favorite project to date “because (he) was so closely involved with every step of the process, and (he) had to overcome some significant challenges… so it was a tremendous learning experience, and all the more satisfying when it was completed.”

Kyle took part in the IFP Beat the Clock Challenge earlier this year as a producer, writer, and actor for the film “The Neighbors.” His whole team enjoyed it so tremendously that, once it was over, they decided that they would sign up for the Mystery Box Challenge as well. In this particular challenge, Kyle really liked that the genre was open, and that every team had different props and lines of dialogue. He believes that it allowed for more creativity among the teams. At the kickoff, Kyle’s team was given an old “1980’s era answering machine, with faux wood paneling and full cassette tapes” as their prop. Unfortunately October was a very busy month for all of the members of the team, some even had to drop out of the challenge, so they needed to come up with an idea that would be exceedingly simple.

When actor, Shellie Ulrich suggested that they focus the whole film on the answering machine, they knew that they had their concept! It was simple and would not require a whole lot of time to shoot, and it had the potential to be really interesting. Kyle played around with the idea of telling the story of one full day through messages on an answering machine, but then decided that it would be more impactful to tell a story of a woman’s entire adult life. This film was beautifully executed with amazing voice acting and convincing set design. This team managed to tell an entire story with an inanimate object and a pair of hands. After the Beep took home Best Overall Film and the Best Use of Prop, but more importantly, you could really hear and feel the emotional reactions of the audience throughout the film, and in my opinion that is the best prize of all.

Kyle will be participating in the Filmstock iFest Competition as the director for Running Wild Films. He is “also working on a screenplay for a film that will hopefully be produced by Running Wild.” He will also be acting in several upcoming films. Kyle says “Every time I attend screening events, I meet more talented Arizona filmmakers that I would love to work with. I love the collaborative nature of filmmaking. I love that it truly takes a disparate group of people coming together and working as a team to produce a good film.” If you are interested in collaborating on a project with Kyle, you can email him HERE.