In the vein of classic slashers like the “Evil Dead” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” series, award winning director Ralf Kemper presents “Possession”.
Deep in the woods, friends Damien (Gerrit Reineke), Jane (Corinna Hartmann), Quantal (Sonja Heer), Ivi (Eva Balkenhol), and Paul (Roman Nitz) discover a long-abandoned bunker with a dark secret and a strange man inside. Feeling uneasy, it dawns on the group that this trip has changed them forever, and not for the better. It is only after the group leaves that they realize that the bunker was home to a demon that is now hell-bent on possessing each one of them to find the perfect host.
As the group of friends are gruesomely picked off one by one, it becomes apparent that only the strongest will survive.
Ralf Kemper’s “Possession” is a clear homage to the campy, supernatural slasher genre that ruled the box office in the ‘80s. The usage of quintessential horror tropes like the spooky abandoned building, a vengeful paranormal entity, and ‘death by sex’. Clocking in at just under an hour and a half, this movie is full to the brim with blood and guts.
While “Possession” may feel like a familiar tale, writer and director Ralf Kemper adds his own twists and turns that make the movie feel fresh while still demonstrating a great love to the film’s slasher forefathers.
By Julienne Graebner │ August 27, 2020
I got the chance to interview Sage Buchanan, the multi-talented Missouri actor who plays Montgomery South in “Lost Treasure of Jesse James” and Bruno Moretti in the upcoming film, “Shakespeare’s Mummy”.
“When I was in first grade, I played Abe Lincoln in the school play. My teacher told me it was because I was so handsome and that I held myself like a president should. My mother later told me it was because I was a head taller than everyone else,” Buchanan reminisces, “Either way, I remember that play and I remember prompting others with lines while I was on stage.”
The acting bug bit Sage at a young age, and it bit him hard. He took every opportunity to perform, “Instead of doing oral reports,” he says, “my friends and I would borrow a video camera when we could find one and do our reports by acting them out.”
As a teenager, Buchanan’s time on stage began to wane and he became interested in sports. At the time, he also worked full time at a fireworks store, where he was tasked with doing radio interviews and advertisements, “This started me off at a young age doing voice over work for commercials and even being asked to be the voice of another high school football team in the area — but of course I couldn't do that, as I, too, was playing.”
In college, Sage found any way he could to be creative; singing in the choir, acting, local radio work, commercials, you name it.
“Just found any way I could to perform,” he says.
After college, life got in the way of Buchanan’s love of acting.
“I started work at the world’s oldest tech company and was really busy, but I missed acting. I hadn't done any voice work or acting for several years, and only a handful of commercials. I missed it. I knew I couldn't memorize an entire play with my hectic schedule, so I started looking for any auditions for local independent films.”
He eventually was cast as the villain Montgomery South in Adam Boster’s “Lost Treasure of Jesse James”. Sage was pleased as punch, “I had no clue that the production quality, professionalism, script, crew or director would be as amazing as it was . . . I'm hooked!”
Buchanan also appears in the upcoming film, “Shakespeare’s Mummy” which features many of the same major players as “Lost Treasure of Jesse James”. He speaks highly of his experience working on both movies:
“I have made some amazing lifelong friends on the sets of these movies. I call them my movie family and I really do mean it. When you spend that much time with people, it's easy to become annoyed but most in the group that I worked with on both films really did become amazing friends. We talk regularly, we visit each other when we can, and we have become family.”
“The best times were because of some of the hardest. Freezing in caves on “Lost Treasure” made us bond a LOT. The adults became very protective of the kids,” Sage says, referring to Jaidyn Franz, Qailen Chambers, Riley Sullivan, Noah Billington, and Megan Sims, “they could call any single one of us if they ever needed anything. The adults found ways to joke and laugh things off even though we couldn't feel our toes!”
It hasn’t been all sunshine and daisies, though. In addition to filming for “Shakespeare’s Mummy”, Buchanan was working a full time job. He would work until late in the day, take a quick nap, and film overnight. This went on every day, and on the final night of production, Sage left set and went straight to the airport to board a 36 hour flight to India.
However, for Sage, it’s all worth it.
“I love performing,” he reiterates, “I love the art of it. I love the atmosphere, the camaraderie, being able to assume the role of someone and actually become them. . . I really do just love being able to perform and hopefully, it's a good enough performance that it draws people in, makes them believe they are watching a story unfold — that I'm the person that I'm portraying, not just an actor.”
A staunch supporter of the arts, Sage urges the state government to do the same, saying, “The lack of tax credits in Missouri is causing the film industry to suffer, as well as costing Missourians a lot of money in tax revenue and hospitality losses.”
He goes on to say that this isn’t the only issue facing independent films today, “A huge issue is unique content, which we are finally starting to see again thanks to Netflix and other streaming services opening up and revolutionizing the industry. Hollywood became all about money and less about art, and thanks to indie breakout platforms like greenlitgo.com we are finally starting to see some great stories again.”
When asked who would be interested in watching “Shakespeare’s Mummy” and “Lost Treasure of Jesse James”, Buchanan couldn’t control his excitement, “Who wouldn't love seeing these movies?! They’re 80s style, family friendly, action-adventure movies so it appeals to kids, and parents of that era will enjoy it too.”
When Orson Welles debuted his radio show “The War of the Worlds”, an adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel by the same name, many listeners believed that an alien invasion was happening on American soil.
In Nathan Karimi’s short film “4AM”, radio jockey Paul Peterson (Skully Shemwell) pays tribute to Orson Welles’ legendary broadcast by staging his own UFO hoax for a small town in Southern Missouri.
One listener, a man named Bill (Ford Fanter), unfortunately tunes in too late to hear Peterson’s announcement that the following radio show is for entertainment purposes only. As actors in the studio give the performance of their lives portraying phoney doctors (Michael Scott Dunn) and victims of an alien attack (Stephanie Zhong), Bill is riveted by the terrifying notion that extraterrestrials have come to eradicate all human life.
As Bill begins to descend into madness, it becomes clear just how easy it is to fool someone who is willing to believe.
Julienne Graebner │ August 25, 2020
Your script is finally perfect. You scouted your locations. You picked your dream cast. You’re finally ready to make a movie! There’s just one problem — a problem that nearly all independent filmmakers face: you need funding. Without a big Hollywood budget, gathering enough money to make your dream a reality can be daunting. Here are a few ideas to help you raise funds for your indie film.
Pitch your idea to the masses. Websites like Indiegogo or Kickstarter offer filmmakers a way to speak directly to their potential audience without requiring a big budget. However, crowdsourcing websites often take a small percentage of the money you raise.
Here are more options for crowdfunding for your indie film.
2. apply for grants
Though the words “grant writing” strikes fear in the hearts of many, it doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of organizations out there willing to fund independent films. All you have to do is ask (well, write a grant). Be sure to look for funds offered in your market, however niche.
3. Get a job to fund your film
You may not be rich, but it could be worthwhile to get a day job in order to fund your hobby, especially if you’re working on a low budget film. This way, you won’t have any investors hounding you for profit (which you might not even make).
4. Get Creative
Throw a party at your house with a $5 cover charge. Have a barbeque contest fundraiser. Use freelancing sites to hone your craft for cash. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Although attempting to raise thousands of dollars for an indie film can be difficult, it can be done. Be aware of the risk that you will be taking on. Fundraising takes time and effort, so don’t be discouraged if you need to push your film back due to lack of funds.
By Julienne Graebner │ August 21, 2020
Few other activities bring together danger, sportsmanship, and hand-to-face combat like mixed martial arts (MMA). Despite the dramatic potential of such a high intensity, skillful sport, it doesn’t seem to have much of a presence in Hollywood. To create an MMA oasis in a barren land, directors Adam Boster and Kenneth Chamitoff present the 2012 film “Money Fight”.
“Money Fight” surrounds young MMA hopeful Johnny (Ernie Reyes Jr.) and his journey to get into the ring. He desperately begs his coach Gene (Ving Rhames) to take a chance and let him fight for a cash prize. Unfortunately, Johnny is told that he isn’t ready and that he should find a real job. Unable to face reality, Johnny agrees to take a seedy muscle job, ending with him serving a stint in prison.
After five long years of being top seed in the prison fighting ring, the warden Harbin Rask (John Savage) grants Johnny parole—as long as he’s willing to participate in a high stakes match against an undefeated fighter in order to settle an age old feud between the warden and his rival, the MMA mogul Krang (George Takei).
Though the chances of Johnny defeating Krang’s chosen fighter, the terrifying Torch (played by Gray Maynard, who is a successful MMA fighter in his own right) seem slim, Johnny is supported by a strong family unit, especially his mother Maria (Maria Conchita Alonso).
While “Money Fight” is based around an extremely specialized sport, you don’t need a great deal of MMA knowledge to enjoy the film. The fight scenes, choreographed by the legendary martial artist Ernie Reyes Sr. (who is both Ernie Reyes Jr.’s father in real life and in the film) are intricate, elaborate, and exciting. Be prepared for elbows to be thrown and chairs to be smashed.
“Money Fight” is first and foremost an MMA movie, but it’s also a tale of redemption and the importance of a family, whether it’s by blood or the family you create on your own. Though the film does have a PG-13 rating, it would be acceptable for families with older children — provided they won’t try out the MMA moves on each other after watching.
By Julienne Graebner │ August 20, 2020
One moment, everything is normal and the next, the world is completely unfamiliar. In Gabe Sheets’ 2018 short film “Fugue”, a man searches for his true identity deep in the seedy underbelly of a sprawling urban landscape.
After being hit by a car, a man (Scott Michael Dunn) wakes up to realize he remembers nothing about who he is—except that he’s on the run. The only person who can tell him who he is, a squirmy sidekick (Richard Louis Ulrich), is completely unhelpful. The only real clues are a briefcase full of cocaine and the multiple IDs with different names on them in the man’s wallet.
High intensity chases are cut with scenes of the man talking to a seemingly unhelpful therapist (Robert Lee Davis) that only serve to further the confusion the audience (and the man) are feeling.
Somehow, director Gabe Sheets managed to pack two hours worth of story into a short film with a runtime of only 30 minutes. The cinematography is impressive—echoing the styles used by directors of box office smash hits.
“Fugue” is a remarkably entertaining piece that leaves the audience dying to solve a puzzle—who really is this man?
By Julienne Graebner │ August 18, 2020
When the red carpet rolls out and the movie stars appears, the world becomes transfixed. For many executives and state officials, this means one thing: dollar signs.
As of last year, 31 states, along with Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington D.C. offered some form of television or movie production incentives (MPIs).
In the 90s, as the TV and film industry grew, so did worries about “runaway productions”—television shows and movies meant for an American audience but are filmed in other countries in order to cut production costs.
In 1997, Canada began the world’s first production incentives program which led to many U.S. productions moving North. Not to be outdone, Louisiana was the first state to implement MPIs in 2001.
What are MPIs?
Movie production incentives are any sort of bonus offered to filmmakers in order to encourage production in a certain state. MPIs can take many forms: tax credits, cash rebates, grants, sales tax exemption, lodging exemption, or fee-free locations.
The idea is that MPIs boost job creation, small business development, tax revenue, and increase tourism in the state.
However, there are some in opposition to the implementation of MPIs. A study published by the University of California analyzed the states with the five largest MPI programs: New York, Louisiana, Georgia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The study claims that for the most part, the incentives have had little effect on employment.
For states like Missouri, it can be difficult seeing productions like the Netflix series “Ozark” which despite being set in the Show Me State, is filmed in Georgia. Though bills have been proposed to bring film production back to Missouri, nothing has been passed.
Do you think Missouri should introduce an MPI program?
By Julienne Graebner │ August 17, 2020
Legend has it that the infamous outlaw Jesse James still has gold buried somewhere deep in a Midwest cave. Columbia filmmaker Adam Boster expands on this local lore with his movie, “Lost Treasure of Jesse James”, a tale full to the brim with action and mystery. Shot completely in mid-Missouri, this coming-of-age story takes inspiration from films like “Indiana Jones” and “The Goonies”.
Doniphan James (Riley Sullivan) is a middle school ne’er do well with something to prove. With the help of his best friends, Jackson (Qailen Chambers) and Hope (Megan Sims), tattletale little brother Cricket (Noah Billington), and the flatulent Pippin (Jaidyn Franz), Doniphan sets out deep in the Missouri cave system to unearth the fabled treasure of Jesse James in order to save himself and his friend’s families from an age-old curse. All the while, town despot (Sage Buchanan) and his group of less-than-bright henchmen are hot on the gang’s trail.
This movie has something for everyone in your family; horse (and car) chases, shootouts, bank robberies, cute dogs, and an ancient puzzle just waiting to be solved.
While “Lost Treasure of Jesse James” is family friendly, the film also serves as a poignant reminder of the issues that still plague rural Missouri, racism and classism. The kids, while young, are aware of their ancestor’s misdeeds. Jackson reminds his friend Doniphan that Jesse James was not a good man, despite his legendary status, saying, “You know, Jesse James did some pretty bad things. He fought for the South.”
Through the hardships the gang faces in attempt to clear their family names, the film’s message becomes abundantly clear: nothing is more important than the love you share with your friends and family—but a little bit of adventure sure doesn’t hurt.
Watch "Lost Treasure of Jesse James" on GreenLitGo
By Julienne Graebner │ August 14, 2020