I sat down with Gremlins Strike Back Film Podcast for a career retrospective (which was odd, cause I am just getting started), give it a listen below (starts at 2:48).
It’s definitely one of the more thorough talk I’ve ever had in terms of my career thus far. From Arrow in the Head to The Shelter to my next film Heretic. Thanks for the chat Maarten Melon – looking forward to them beers next time I’m in Belgium!
My directorial debut starring Michael Pare which the L.A. TIMES called “remarkably ambitious” and “a concise genre piece that doubles as a heavily metaphorical character sketch”, had previously been released on DVD and VOD in the United States, and was also sold in various countries around the world.
Since The Shelter’s domestic release, we’ve done all that we could in terms of the classic route of finding distribution internationally. And although we did have some success (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden South East Asia, Canada) we’ve come to the conclusion that the best move to make at this final stage is to end on this different avenue.
I’m happy that everybody will finally be able to watch this unique, odd and very personal film. And for me, this marks the end of my 4 years journey with this picture. So there’s something to celebrate and be proud of right there! Thanks to all who have supported me and the film over the years!
It has been a very rewarding experience, one that changed who I am and that re-sparked and enriched by spirituality. I’m a better man and filmmaker for it and will bring all of that into my next film HERETIC. Peace and God bless! John
Former talent agent turned international film Producer Asko Akopyan of Oscar Gold Productions, has just joined the HERETIC team as lead producer. The film is now slated to shoot entirely in Armenia come early 2019. It’s set to star Paul Sloan (Nation’s Fire, Vigilante Diaries) and Mark Lawson (One Life to Live).
Asko had this to say about the joining the project: “After speaking with the director John Fallon and hearing the passion and enthusiasm he had for Heretic, I read the script and realized that this is the perfect project for me to once again take back to my home country of Armenia and film it there in its entirety. I’m excited to help produce this thought provoking and powerful story.”
Man I’m happy! When it feel right, it feels right. Asko is a smart and driven Producer, a problem solver and I’m beyond elated to have somebody with his know-how with us. And it should be said that shooting in Armenia is a dream come true for this film. I was floored when I was shown all that the country has to offer in terms of locations. Let me put it this way: we won’t have to build any sets. All that we need is there – and authentic to boot.”
Logline: When two Templars are sent home after losing the second Crusade, they are forced to battle a slew of varied enemies, the pity-less elements and their own inner demons while trying to elude a mysterious assassin who is hunting them down.
HERETIC was written by Karim Cheriguene (Horsehead) and yours truly (American Muscle, The Shelter). Marc Natoli of Natoli Productions (The Proposal) is co producing alongside my company Bruise Productions and JoBlo Movie Productions.
The action driven THE PROPOSAL, a short film that I wrote and that I’m co producing is presently in pre production set to roll under the camera this coming July, 2018!
I thought I was done with short films, but when Marc Natoli, a fighter with superior skills to the norm came to me with a story idea for an action short, I was intrigued. And then when I learned what his team’s intent was technically – to basically “out-Crank” CRANK – I was sold in coming onboard to write the script. The Proposal can be perceived as many things, a short film on its own, a proof of concept for an impending feature (the potential is there IMO) or a show- off piece for all involved –but one thing is for certain – it will kick that ass like ass hasn’t been kicked since The Raid in 2011!
Here are the details!
Synopsis: When gun for hire and all around tough customer Mason Stone (Marc Natoli) takes his long time girlfriend Emma (Kahli Williams) out on the town with the intent of popping the big question, he finds his proposal plans rudely interrupted by a group of highly skilled assassins who want him dead. What’s a man to do in this kind of situation? Only one thing: kick butt
The film stars newcomer actor/martial arts expert Marc Natoli (The Siege of Robin Hood) and Kahli Williams (Neighbors). It is written by John Fallon (American Muscle, The Shelter) is Directed by Ben Whimpey (producer of Quanta and Arrowhead), Edited by Elizna van der Walt while the DP is Juzzy Kane. The Music will be by Dmitri Golovko.
Star and Producer Marc Natoli had this to say about his approach to the action: “As far as the fighting and choreography goes, what we’re aiming for is to be
different than what’s been done before. The 25 years of combat sports and Martial Arts I have under my belt has made my fighting style quite unique. Everything will be as realistic as possible. I’m going to bring together the speed and flow of Jeet Kun Do, Kali escrima, silat movement and the aggressiveness of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and Thai styles. They will be defined and as technical as possible while staying true to realistic kick ass movements. I want people to see every move and be like f*ck that’s how it’s done!”
And here’s Producer Antonio Raiola’s take on aesthetics:
“Our aim is to fill the film with bold and unique camera moves and we have all the toys to do so! Free Fly Alta 8, 16 feet Techno Crane and more! In some of the fighting sequences, the camera will be choreographed to go in tandem with the action and it will look like it was all filmed in one take. We’ll even have a gimbal operator on roller blades at some point. Yes, we’re going above and beyond!”
Marc Natoli and Antonio Raiola also act as Executive Producers on the picture. Natoli Productions, ARR Productions, Indimax Productions and Bruise Productions are behind the film. You can follow the production via the Official Instagram page here.
Although my main focus is on writing, directing and producing, I still enjoy nabbing an #acting role now and again and relishing in the simplicity of the process. You learn your lines, show up, do your thing and you’re done. Which brings me to Broken Trust.
You can catch me playing a lovable lug (sarcasm – not really lovable) in Episode 9. I really enjoyed my time on set, specially since a couple of faces from my local filmmaking past were there (I’ve been mostly working abroad for the last 7 years or so).
The show premieres on Investigation Discovery on June 13, 2018 at 9/8 c. Thanks to director Adrian Wills and cast and crew for having me. Here’s the teaser for the show!
I recently got to sit down with FilmQuirk to discuss my past and present projects! I even talked the problematic Billy Trigger, the first and last time that I’ll ever address what happened to that film in the media. You can read an excerpt below and the entire interview HERE!
John Fallon: The Siege is a medieval action/martial arts film shot in Victoria, Australia. It took the Hong Kong structure in terms of its directing duties. Stu Stanton directed the drama and Jackie Chan stunt team veteran Paul Andreovski streamlined the action sequences. So expect lots of eye-popping fights, colourful characters, some humour, a sprinkle of gore, high production values (we shot the bulk of the action in a castle) and a tad of a mean streak brought forward by my character of The Sergeant. Yeah, I act in it too.
2017 was a challenging yet rewarding year in the sense that although things didn’t go the way I wanted them to go film biz wise, by the time the year was over, I had some solid foundations laid out, I connected with talented/hungry people and am pumped to build on top of that come 2018.
This year, I’ve also re-dipped my toe in the Montreal Film Industry. I had left it behind after my last local production left a bitter taste in my mouth in terms of the avalanche of BS that fell upon me. And it was groovy to partner up on a film prod with locals again. I did a lots of traveling too (as usual) which expanded my horizons culturally and spiritually and also gave me the “breaks” from the battle that I needed to keep coming back to it with replenished vigor. And my film The Shelter locked further territories (still have some key ones to nail down) and opened up new doors for me.
On the negative side, I spent more time at the doctors this year than I like (bum knee, messed up foot, ear problems) which interfered with my training. Moreover the Boxing Gym I used to train at burned down (arson) and I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but I loved that f-ing place, the vibe was right and I enjoyed the people I trained with. It kept me sane and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. So it was a huge bummer for me. So for now, am just weightlifting and hitting the bag at home. But I so miss sparring and the camaraderie I had at that Gym.
Moreover, I lost 4 of my cats this year (they went outside and never came back), which broke my heart, specially Jon Snow (below) whom I loved the most .
Now the first 8 months of the year were trying. I believe in the old adage: you pose actions – you get reactions. But in the film biz it’s you pose actions, you get strung along, and it can take years to get the proper reaction. But the tail end of the year spun that around for me out of the blue and just kept on giving. Am starting 2018 with lots of options and that’s a good place to be. Nothing is done, but I am just happy that my my hard work and constant pushing got me on the playing field. You can’t win a fight if you’re not in the ring.
I walked through bigger doors within the film industry this year, made more prominent contacts and things fell in my lap out of nowhere (which never happens to me). I made new friends in the biz as well, with many that I now consider to be brothers and educated myself further in terms of editing, film sales and the art of crowdfunding/social media know-how (my last, last resort – good to have in your back pocket).
As an aside, one thing that I recently realized that I’ve been doing unconsciously is teaming up with peeps that are cut from the same cloth as me. Folks with strength, a sense of honor, loyalty, biz smarts and that are driven to succeed and achieve like motherf*ckers. Am starting to have a very strong circle around me. People that I’m stoked to work with next year and I’m mucho happy about that. You’re only as good as the folks that surround you. And one thing that I have been doing consciously this year – is leaping out of my comfort zone to try things that I normally wouldn’t for the better of the whole.
So yeah, I’m feeling good right now. Stronger, wiser with more knowledge under my belt. I’m on the right path… so lets go 2018! I’m ready for ya! On that, here are my top favorite moments of 2017! In no particular order…
So all in all, although not as evened as I hoped it would have been – 2017 was a solid year for this guy. Trying for the first two thirds, which went down smoother by all the traveling that I did, and the last third made it all worthwhile with all of the opportunities that arose. So am riding on that last third, going into 2018.
I’ll leave you with a little video that I like to listen to at the end of every year. Give it a try! May pump you up! Happy New Year everybody! Wishing you all health, success, serenity and happiness. God Bless! JF
“Can almost be labeled as a faith-based thriller. But with the subjects of infidelity, alcoholism, suicide coupled with open sex scenes, violence, and touches of horror, this unusual mix with its strength in faith delivers a taboo of sorts to a non-secular audience. ” – The Movie Guys
With Christmas upon us, and this being most likely my last The Shelter related piece on this Blog (locking some outstanding territories aside, the adventure is pretty much done), I figured this was an ideal time to address the Christianity inspired elements of the picture.
Much of the self-loathing, anger and selfishness that I had in my 20’s tagged with my Catholic upbringing and my rocky relationship with it back then went into the writing of The Shelter. That is why it is such a personal film for me. Although I have since conquered those demons and I am now in a place of peace, I re-visited that time frame to pen the film.
Now the movie was marketed to the horror crowd for the most part upon its release, with good reasons. It’s a bleak ride and the genre elements are there, and yes, many have gotten something out of it no matter their beliefs (except for the random person who felt preached to – you do a film about demons, all good, you explore the flip side – you’re preaching – go figure).
But I do think that people of Faith should see it too, even those who don’t normally like genre films (it’s now free on Amazon Prime) hence the main reason that I am writing this blog entry. Granted the movie is rough in places and it’s definitely not a “family movie” (don’t show the kids), but I think if you’re Christian, you should give it a try as its themes and its message should resonate with you. To give you an idea The Shelter is akin to Book of Job from the Old Testament. That was one parallel that I was going for (you can learn more background on the ins and outs of the film via the Audio Commentary on the DVD).
In closing, I’ve recently come the realization that The Shelter was basically my “message in a bottle” to the world. My intent was to move, stimulate and make the viewer think and I was so blessed to have Michael Pare in the lead to help me convey that. To be honest, the most rewarding reaction that came out of making the film has been the people that reached out to me after seeing it in person or online to let me know how it moved them or urged them to look at themselves, look at their Faith or at their past mistakes. It touched me that the film touched others. All I needed.
Here are some quotes from some of The Shelter reviews that tapped into the Christianity laced meat of the film. Click the links to read the reviews! And if you do wind up seeing it because of this Blog entry, I truly hope that it stirs you one way or another. And if you hate it, that is okay too. Merry Christmas!
“Like Book of Job from the bible, Thomas is tested through supernatural signs that lead him to an emotional place in his heart he’s learnt to hide from. It’s an uncomfortable watch as real become unreal, but because it’s what Thomas desires he goes with the flow. And then the faucet of all that he wanted is turned off. ” – Britflick
“The Shelter swirls Christianity and Silent Hill-levels of guilt to torment its protagonist, and Fallon’s strong visual style combines with a very strong turn from Pare to good effect.” – Sci Fi Now
“The neon lights become the power of Christ and his need to beg forgiveness jostles with memories that aren’t allowed to fade.” – Starbust Magazine
“The film’s religious undertones remain apparent but they never feel overly preachy and, surprisingly and cleverly, draw out whatever spirituality we believe in, making Fallon’s intentions feel relevant to us in our own particular way.” – Scream Horror Mag
“There are a lot of religious references, as well as dreamy sequences bathed in light, where we are not quite sure whether to believe what we are seeing, or if it is merely a product of Thomas’ mind.” – Movieramblings
“The beauty of Fallon’s cinematic Lament Configuration is that through extensive use of religious iconography and flashbacks that offer suggestions as to how Thomas found himself in this predicament, there are multiple conclusions that the viewer may come to, and with Fallon wisely refusing to offer his own explanation of the film’s meaning it enables the viewer to take their own unique experience with them.” – This is Horror
“Filled to the rafters with religious iconography; statues of Jesus Christ, copies of the Bible and crucifixes of ever schism, are littered everywhere you care to look. The talismans represent Thomas’ need forgiveness, but he’s a stubborn man.” – The Hollywood News
“Blending elements of spirituality, horror and redemption within the faith based storytelling, you see a very complete film in THE SHELTER.” – Tom Holland Terror Time.
“God’s not explicitly mentioned, but even a lapsed Catholic or staunch atheist will get the feeling going into the final act and after the credits roll that someone, not of this world, can and will put you out of your misery… if you’ve given up.” – Britflick
“The Shelter is Bad Lieutenant meets The Last Temptation of Christ” – Julien Dunand (Producer/We Blew It)
Hey all, I’m happy to report that my company Bruise Productions Inc. just re-optioned the screenplay for Eric Red’s No Man’s Ridge and we’re going back on the attack. It’s a brilliant script that does what so many have failed at doing: making Bigfoot scary again.
Of course Eric Red is the iconic writer/director behind horror classics such as THE HITCHER, BODY PARTS, BAD MOON and 100 FEET.
We also have Robert Kurtzman, co-founder of Award Winning Effects house KNB (From Dusk Till Dawn, Texas Chainsaw 3D) attached to execute the SFX. See the design of our Big Boy below.
No Man’s Ridge is about:
A helicopter soars over the forests in the remote Wyoming wilderness of No Man’s Ridge area. Inside are five heavily armed and formidable hunters all dressed in militarized camouflage fatigues and face paint. They have state of the art high-powered rifles, heavy caliber handguns, crossbows and hunting gear. The extreme hunters are there to bag a Bigfoot— the ultimate hunt for the ultimate trophy. The hunters wear hat cams with compact high-resolution HD cameras to record the hunt. They also have gun cams for their rifle barrels, bow cams and portable trail cameras to put on trees. In the far reaches of the wilds, the people are dropped from the hovering chopper by cable into deep forest, fifty miles from civilization. When the five hunters see an actual giant BIGFOOT walking through the woods a half-mile away, it seems like the creature doesn’t have a chance—but it’s the other way around.
The last two years of my life have been fairly simple in their complexity. Do all that I can for my directorial debut THE SHELTER to be successful, train hard, be in nature and spent countless hours in meetings, on the phone and online in the name of getting two films off the ground and getting on set. I love being on set, the battle, the challenge of overcoming obstacles, having to anticipate/think ahead and I adore the social/teamwork nature of it all. I feel alive on a set. The harder the shoot, the better. Hence, when fate (i.e. great man Paul Allica) gave me an opportunity to jump on board a medieval action/martial arts film in Australia called THE SIEGE (as Producer and Actor), I couldn’t pass it up.
It was a tough shoot and I relished every second of it. Shooting at Kryal Castle was a delight, living in a camper trailer for 3 weeks in the country a trip (even though I often froze my ass off at nights) and the people were for the most part wonderful. That’s one of the perks of my job – I get to travel the world and meet new folks and usually, I wind up coming back home with new friendships locked and that survive the test of time. Some of my best friends live in France, Spain, Los Angeles, Australia and I truly felt that I left Melbourne with a handful of new brothers on my side. Warriors that I genuinely want to work with again with. Blessed!
Moreover, it was a blast for me to watch legendary stunt coordinator, Jackie Chan stunt team member, and now action director Paul Andreovski (Rush Hour 2) direct the wam-bam with his talented stunt team. When I had the time, I would just stand on the sidelines and clock the man do his thing. I was soaking it all in, knowing damn well that it will serve me on HERETIC and EVA. And it should be said that being directed by the man in terms of a fight scene for 15 hours in full armor and with a bum knee (long story, who cares) was quite the honor. I couldn’t get enough! Again, Blessed!
Finally, somebody asked me after the shoot if I had learned something new. I thought about it, and other than now understanding why big Hollywood stars who act and produce on the same film wind up getting a CG makeover in Post (hard to look fresh for the camera when you’re hustling 24/7 on everything else with little sleep under your belt), I can’t say that I did. What I did get though was: this shoot acted as firm reminder of how much I do know about this biz at this stage in my life, how good I am at it and how much fucking punishment I can take and keep on trucking full steam ahead with a big smile on my face.
Just like any shoot, I built lots of good memories. Top of my head I’ll always remember getting back to my trailer at 6AM after a night shoot, sitting down, having a glass of whiskey, watching the stars and waiting for the sun to rise (a kangaroo came and said wassup on one of them mornings). Then there was the push-up challenges and eat carbs and get punched in the gut deal I had with actor/stuntman Marc Natoli. My best Ozzie mate Bryant making the trip from Sidney to Melbourne to come back me up was also a treat. Existential and spiritual discussions with Collin Allica. The arm wrestling matches (you know me guys, love that shit). Nailing down strategies and having no BS talks with Paul Allica. Stunt guys Sean Craig and John Et Le aka Little Nasty being initiated to Canadian Whiskey shots and paying the price. Man, Myth Siros Niaros (Assistant Stunt Coordinator) being a class act throughout the shoot and always having my back no matter what. Seeing Jousting live. Rolling on the ground with Dave Beamish in full armor for countless hours. Stimulating convos with Paul Andreovski… so many memories.
In closing, I would like to send out a big THANK YOU to star and producer PAUL ALLICA for seeking me out and including me in his adventure. He put his balls on the line and gave it all he had – I know how that is – much respect. And a big thank you to his family (Collin, Kathy and Julie) for welcoming me into their home with open arms. Finally, THANK YOU to everybody involved in this shoot (cast/crew) for being such great fucking people and staying driven and professional even when wthe going got real tough. It was rewarding to be in your company and be proud! You’ve all conquered one hell of a rough battle.
Find below, the synopsis, cast/crew info on THE SIEGE and some BTS pics of the experience. Expect to hear more about the flick soon. Having seen lots of the footage, am very excited about it! We got some great stuff in the can. I’ll keep you guys and dolls in the loop as always.
THE SIEGE takes the legend of Robin Hood in a new exciting direction; mixing adventure, high impact stunts, action, gore, comedy and even a touch of romance. It’s directed by Legendary stunt coordinator, Jackie Chan stunt team member, and now action director Paul Andreovski (Rush Hour 2) who is handling the insane action sequences with his talented stunt team. While Stu Stanton (Charlie Bonnet) is streamlining the dramatic scenes.
The film stars Paul Allica (Journey to China 3D, Tapado: Fight for Justice), myself as a baddie, Dave Beamish (Charlie’s Farm), Kahli Williams (Blood Hunt), David Macrae (A Night of Horror Volume 1), Peter Roordink (Elimination Game), Tom McCathie (Mutt) and dancer Keanu Gonzalez (Cats the Musical) in his first lead role.
Produced by Paul Allica at Alpha Rush Productions, Shaun McFadyen and John Fallon via Bruise Productions, THE SIEGE will wrap production early next year.
“It’s a time of chaos and tyranny. The once great country of England is splintering as its people struggle to pay for the Crusades. With the King away, the country is on the verge of revolution. The people need a hero. And one shall rise and fight to restore honor to his people. When his mother and sister are brutally murdered by the Sheriff of Nottingham, a young man named Robin Hood vows bloody revenge on the men responsible. But this is not a war he can win alone. Robin gathers a team of outcasts and mavericks, each of whom brings a unique & extreme fighting skill to the table. Together, they gradually tear down the Sheriff’s corrupt organization, with their most daring assault being a siege on his fortified castle.”
Check out some press we got HERE and HERE. And scroll down for more behind the scenes pics.