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.
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
I will be at the FRONTIERES MARKET, under my Bruise Productions banner from July 20 to July 24 trying to find the missing pieces for three of my upcoming film projects. To book a meeting with me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Scroll down for the 3 synopsis. Screenplay, mood boards and presentations (with first money and varied attachments listed) available upon requests.
Apocalypse Now by way of Vikings!
Synopsis: 1149. William and Roland, two Templars, are on their way back home after losing the second Crusade. Both men are dealing with the weight of the war and of having failed God quite differently. Roland is repentant, attempting to correct his wrongs via good deeds and kindness, while William justifies his harshness by claiming that every hardship is a test and part of “God’s will”. As if the increasing divide between the two men wasn’t enough, they also have to face a slew of deadly obstacles on their journey through a civil war torn England while being chased by a mysterious assassin with an agenda of his own. The sudden presence of Anna, a bewitching woman, on their path eventually brings the palpable tension to a boil.
John Wick meets La Femme Nikita!
Synopsis: At 16 years old, Eva was kidnapped, drugged and forced to sell herself by sex traffickers. 10 years later, after a life of all too frequent physical and psychological abuse, a now 26 years old Eva is addicted to drugs and is completely dead inside. That’s until an encounter with a “John” goes violently wrong and sends her to the brink of death. Eva eventually recovers and for the first time in 10 years, she is free of her captors and the substances that had such a hold her. Once back in the world, she only has one thing on her mind: vengeance against those who robbed her of her life. And with the help of a mysterious stranger, she goes about attaining her retribution in harsh and brutal ways.
The Babadook meets Stephen King’s Misery!
Synopsis: When an older man living alone in the woods saves the life of a young woman, they are forced to coexist but chaos ensues when the woman makes a terrifying discovery in the cellar behind the man’s cabin.
Hey all! I will be at the Frontières Market in Montreal, Canada this year (under my Bruise Productions Inc. banner) and one of the projects that I will be pushing is HERETIC. You can feast your retinas on the promo poster (created by Alex Tuis) and synopsis below.
HERETIC was written by KARIM CHERIGUENE (Horsehead) and myself, is presently in development (i.e. we’re looking to secure the remaining of the funding either via private investment, pre-sales, or another producing entity joining us). The film will star the very talented PAUL SLOAN (I Am Wrath) and MARK LAWSON (One Life to Live), will be edited by MICHAEL NOURYEH (Drive, Batman V. Superman), JAVIER RUEDA (Un trabajo y una película) will DP, ELI DORSEY (The Last Witch Hunter) will handle the VFX and the film is slated to shoot in Barcelona, Spain come early 2018. Here is the synopsis:
“1149. William and Roland, two Templars, are on their way back home after losing the second Crusade. Both men are dealing with the weight of the war and of having failed God quite differently. Roland is repentant, attempting to correct his wrongs via good deeds and kindness, while William justifies his harshness by claiming that every hardship is a test and part of “God’s will”. As if the increasing divide between the two men wasn’t enough, they also have to face a slew of deadly obstacles on their journey through a civil war torn England while being chased by a mysterious assassin with an agenda of his own. The sudden presence of Anna, a bewitching woman, on their path eventually brings the palpable tension to a boil.”
The script hits a myriad of notes in one sitting. It’s an action/adventure, a potent drama, an exploration of faith/fanaticism and a mystery all at once. To say it is my passion project would be an understatement. More soon! If you’ll be at the Frontières Market and want to meet up about HERETIC, send me an e-mail HERE! Presentation, mood board and screenplay available upon request.
“Sicut umbra transeunt dies” As the shadow pass the days.
If there’s one thing that I learned about the film industry over time is that it’s wise to have more than one project to shop around at a time. Right now, I am pushing five of them, all different genres and different budget ranges (with EVA and THE PRIZE getting the most traction thus far). On that, another project was just born (Co-Writer Karim Cheriguene and I recently finished our final draft), it is called HERETIC and the easiest way I can describe it is: Apocalypse Now with Templars!
It started off as short by Karim and we were all set to shoot it. But it got LOTS of love by the folks who read it and all I kept hearing was “it should be a feature”. Hence Karim and I decided to do just that. Personally, I am so passionate about the time period, the subject matter and the themes at hand, that writing it was simply a pleasure.
It’s set in a time when men were men.
Amidst wondrous and treacherous nature.
Explores the double edge sword of spiritual belief.
Sports action and brutal sword fights.
Addresses the themes of brotherhood and the layered ways one can cope with guilt.
Yup, the last time I was THIS pumped about making a film was THE SHELTER, which basically means, there will be no stopping me in getting it off the ground. I already have a name cast and varied production outlets interested. Time to bring this one home.
“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him.” – John Paul II
Although the world around me seemed to go totally bat-shit crazy (the older I get, the less I relate to our society – I think that’s normal… right?), I had one major professional let-down (a film role that I was sure I had locked but lost due to politics…) and that death/near death was rampant in my inner circle (my uncle died, my aunt died, my dog died, two family members almost died…), 2016 wound up being a solid year for me personally and professionally.
I grew a lot as a human being, got close to my family again, started seeing life in a new light, solidified my spiritual path (which sent me on pilgrimages and lots of diving into books and shit soaking in knowledge…) and switched gears (for the better) as to the man I want to be. I also finally started reaping the rewards of my hard work. Yeah it felt good and definitely gave me the moral boost I needed to keep digging deep and going for my goals no matter the cost. Amidst doing what I love (traveling, being in nature, training, hiking, kayaking, hanging with close friends aka family like Berge, Deke, Elaine etc.) here are my top moments of 2016!
So that’s pretty much it! I’m personally very excited for 2017! Professionally, I have EVA and THE PRIZE (two films that I will direct) that are heading in the right direction in terms of getting off the ground. Am also diving into HERETIC today, a screenplay that I am writing with Karim Chériguène (it started off as a short by Karim, one that was so damn good, that it begged to be a feature). Think Apocalypse Now but with Templars! Am very excited about that one and already have some production pieces locked in Spain for it. It’s my new passion project! Meaning I’ll kill myself to see it through.
I also anticipate in traveling further this year and establishing myself even more within the film biz. Lots of new cards were handed to me in 2016 and I’m gonna play them the best I can this year. No matter how it goes, I am now better equipped to deal with what goes down, which will make the process easier for me. I see hardships differently, take on obstacles differently and view life as a whole differently. Get in the ring 2017! You’re mine.