We’re happy to announce that after it’s successful premiere at the SITGES Film Festival late last year, our retro action short The Proposal (film that I wrote and co produced) will be screening at the Landshut Short Film Festival on March 22nd in Munich, Germany! Congrats to all involved!
The film is Directed by Ben Whimpey (producer of Quanta and Arrowhead), Produced by Antonio Raiola, Edited by Elizna van der Walt while the Juzzy Kane was the DP. The Music is by Dmitri Golovko. It also stars Kahli Williams (Neighbors), action star Paul Allica (Trigonal) and actor/stuntman Lincoln Barros (The Wheel).
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 are after him. What’s a man to do in this kind of situation? Only one thing: kick butt.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised.” James 1:12
Ahhh 2018… good f-ing riddance. I had an inkling that the year was gonna be a tough one when it started out with a knock on the door from the police after New Years Eve, telling me that a family member was found near death in a snow bank, and if she would have been there 20 minutes longer, she would have died due to hypothermia. Thankfully she was saved but I was sadly right – 2018 was gonna be an endurance test of epic proportions.
What followed was pretty much a relentless beat down. Sickness in the family, health ailments of my own (knee, arm, foot problems) hence keeping me out of the gym and stopping me from hiking/climbing (which are the ways that I stay sane), then there was a cancer scare (which wound up being a false diagnosis but the stress it brought to my life was silly), then a family member was arrested by the cops and taken away, then my grandma died… the fun (sarcasm) just wouldn’t stop.
The cherry on top was that I got swindled real good business wise and lost out on a considerable amount of coin and I’m still dealing with it (lawyers, police and such). I knew the risk going in, but when it fell through, it hurt my pockets and acted as a domino affect in terms of affecting the purchase of my new house. Looking back at that biz misstep, I’m not sure what’s worse – being ripped off or my ego taking a hit – but what can you do except learn from your mistakes and not repeat them.
On the upside, the year wasn’t a total loss. I wound beating my injuries just in time for winter and got back out there. And although I didn’t travel as much as I usually do, I did wind up taking a couple of a key trips. And after much struggling, I did get my house and that was for me a huge win. I come from a low-income family, was raised in apartments the bulk of my life and was always told that we were born to live with very little and to accept it. I never did. So for me to get this house – which is everything I’ve always wanted (in the wildness, big, with a spa, a pool and close to the mountains) was a huge accomplishment and the fact that it was not made easy, an even bigger one.
Moreover two films that I’m attached to moved forward. The horror film Woodland Grey wrapped filming (am a producer on it) and the short film The Proposal (am a producer on it and wrote it) got to premiere at the Sitges FIlm Festival and got rave reviews. This was also the year of Marc Natoli (whom I had met on The Siege set last year). I traveled to the UK, Barcelona and Sitges with the lad and he then came down to stay at my home to hustle (that prick is still here) and now we got great things lined up. It’s a blessing to meet a guy that works as hard as I do, that can keep up with me on every front, that I can learn from fighting wise and that’s also as easy going as I am. A new brother!
Finally my passion project HERETIC made some major headway over the course of the year. I couldn’t be happier with the people I have onboard (love working with Producer Asko Akopyan) and I’m beyond excited to see how it all unfolds in 2019. The ducks are lined up. Lets bring her home! With that, here are my Top 6 fav moments of 2018.
So all in all, although 2018 just kept bombarding me with vicious sucker punches, I take pride in the fact that I not only took the hits and never quit, but I also managed to pull off of some wins throughout the beat down. I have a lot set up for 2019, am excited for the year as I am wiser, more hardened (who knew that was possible) and as persistent as ever. My gut tells me that 2019 will be the year of winning. So here we go again! Happy New Year! One more more round! Go get it!
Writer/Director/Producer Eric Red and I have been working on our no-holds-barred action/horror movie NO MAN’S RIDGE for a while now and 2019 will be the year!
We’ve managed to raise some financing and we now aim to launch a crowdfunding campaign in mid 2019 to gap the missing funds and make the ultimate Bigfoot movie!
Here’s our crew so far! Producer and Special Makeup Effects Supervisor: Robert Kurtzman (The Haunting of Hill House and From Dusk Till Dawn). – Producer and Special Makeup Effects Designer: Steve Johnson (Ghostbusters, Bad Moon). John Fallon (The Shelter, Heretic) and Meredith Red also Produce while Berge Garabedian is Executive Producer on the picture.
And the cast at this stage is: Actor/Stuntman Nick Principe (Laid to Rest series) Actor and Martial Arts expert Marc Natoli (The Proposal) as Jack and John Fallon (SAW II) as Ray.
The Synopsis: 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.
If there’s one thing that I learned via making The Shelter is that a film stays with you for a long time when you’re the director and head producer on it. The flick was released at the end of 2016 and here I am still talking about it!
Our ode to 80’s action The Proposal now has a trailer! Check it out below!
On a side note, although I had written off doing a feature length version of the short – the solid reception it got via its Sitges premiere and the critics, got interest from some big players – and when money talks – you know the rest – so we’re exploring all avenues at the moment. Lets see what the Movie Gods have in store for us. Who knows?
And for everybody that’s asking me where they can see the short; I hope to have an answer for you sooner than late. The Proposal stars Marc Natoli and Kahli Williams. it was Directed by Ben Whimpey, Produced by Antonio Raiola and Written By and Co Produced by yours truly.
Hey all, we are presently actively searching for a FINISHED “fight themed” (can be Boxing which would be ideal, but can also be MMA, Kickboxing etc.) screenplay for development. We need something that is character driven and with a male lead. Something with heart and grit – a drama with fight scenes – not the other way around. Think more Rocky and less Bloodsport. If you’re a screenwriter and you have something of the sort, send us your logline/synopsis HERE. Thank you and God bless!
Marc Natoli and I were at the Sitges Film Festival to premiere the retro action short film The Proposal (beautifully Directed by Ben Whimpey and Produced by Antonio Raiola). Marc was producer, fight choreographer and lead actor on it while and I wrote and co produced the thing.
The main reason I got onboard The Proposal was to introduce newcomer Marc Natoli to an international film audience/industry. The man can act, has 25 years of martial arts experience under his belt, has the right mindset and is a certified 3rd Degree Bruce Lee instructor. And what better place to break Natoli in the biz on a high level than the Sitges Film Festival!
I am happy to report that The Proposal was well received and it achieved what I wanted it to achieve. Now to build off it! In fact, Natoli and I presently have an action feature in development, so stay tuned on that! A huge thank you to the Sitges Film festival for their support. Still the best festival in the world. Here are some of the Proposal reviews that surfaced after Sitges!
THE ACTION ELITE “Once Natoli is on screen you know he will be capable of bringing the pain to all comers… and he doesn’t disappoint.”
“I’ve always been a fan of John Fallon’s writing as he hearkens back to the Grindhouse/Exploitation days in his movies like Deaden or American Muscle however, The Proposal almost feels more accessible for the casual viewer and fans of old-school action fare.”
“The Proposal left me hungry for more and I would love to see it with a bigger budget and longer runtime but as it stands Marc Natoli is one to watch.”
ACTION FLIX.COM: “Marc Natoli takes center stage for the first time and with it, he announces himself as the new contender in on screen martial arts action.”
“Ben Whimpey, keeps everything moving at a brisk pace and never lets anything lag from beginning to end. If he can do this with 12 minutes then he should definitely be allowed to helm a bigger action spectacle. “
“Producer and writer John Fallon’s script is chock full of awesome action one liners.”
FILMESETAL.COM “The Proposal’s production values feel very high budget. All the great qualities are there. The action scenes are top notch (better than a bunch of movies and Netflix shows – cough Iron Fist cough.), the comedy is there. All around great writing.
Fallon was able to pack a lot into so little. That takes a lot of mastery. This script could easily be turned into a game, a full-length movie (I could see a franchise being born from that), or a kick-ass series. The director, Ben Whimpey was able to get what Fallon crafted and shot it beautifully. “
“Natoli is poised for greatness, an action star in the making!”
ARROW IN THE HEAD “The film is all about sporting an 80’s action vibe and I dug the hell out of all the details. THE PROPOSAL knows (for the most part) just why those films were as badass, charming, and enduring as they were. This quick flick doesn’t forget to sport a sense of humor, and the subgenre-required after-kill punchlines and puns are right on for this kind of film.”
“Marc Natoli as our main hero, Mason Stone, is just right for the part; brimming with muscle for days, the man handles the action with ease. But being that this is equal parts 80’s action throw-down and light romantic comedy, Natoli also handles the charm, and comedic touches, with just the right amount of pizzazz. Kahli Williams is beyond gorgeous and possesses more than her fair share of acting skills to boot”
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.