Tag Archives: movie

My directorial debut The Shelter with Michael Paré now available worldwide on Vimeo on Demand!

Here we go! My final jab with THE SHELTER. I just made it available for viewing around the world via Vimeo On Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thesheltermovie

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

Star Michael Pare and I at the LA premiere! Thx for everything bro!
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Heretic at the Frontières Market! Lead cast, promo poster and synopsis!

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.

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Apocalypse Now with Templars! HERETIC is seriously shaping up!

15875269_10154680681811413_1412002881692567934_o“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.


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Producer/Director Julien Dunand’s take on The Shelter!

new shelter image
Hola! As we strive to bring you some wonderful THE SHELTER news very soon (I know I’ve been saying that for a month now, but shit takes the time it takes i.e. much longer than anticipated); I felt like sharing with y’all one of the first pieces of feedback I got about the film, in the name of giving you an idea as to what you’re in for.

The thoughts come from French Producer/Director JULIEN DUNAND, whom I worked with on DEAD SHADOWS in 2012. The lad also produced/directed BIG JOHN (2006) and DU SANG SUR LA NEIGE (2013)  and produced NWR (Nicolas Windig Refn).

“I finished watching The Shelter. Not only do I think it’s a good movie but it might even be a great one. I probably need to see it again in a few months just to be sure. All I knew before watching it was that it was some kind of a haunted house flick. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The Shelter is a reflection about Christianity and redemption. It stands on its own as an independent film. I was taken completely by surprise. I never thought it would be what it was. As a Christian catholic, I completely got what you were trying to say. The film has real power, and I don’t mean the images. Yes the shots and frames are quality, and the overall work on visuals is very good. So is the excellent sound design. But I never paid too much attention to technique. Because visuals to me are concrete, almost mathematics. If you have decent money and a good crew, it’s not that complicated to have good camera work. I’m not saying it’s easy –just that it’s controllable. On the other hand what isn’t, is soul. The will to express something.

One thing I’ve learned in this business over the past 10 years is that it’s very easy to make a bad movie. And it’s even easier to make an average one. Directing is having something to say. I see plenty of brilliantly shot movies all the time, but they’re dull and useless because they have nothing to say. They are soulless. So they just exist out there in the middle of thousands of other ones and no one will ever remember them in 6 months. So what’s the point of making them? Making a first film can be so hard that if you don’t have anything to say, don’t do it. It’s just not worth it.

A true director is someone who has his own eye (le regard in French). And having an own eye means having soul, putting your heart and guts on screen. Expressing something. In the end it’s all that matters. It’s all that counts. It’s all that’s remembered. And I felt you did that.

It is also obvious to me that religion at some point played an important part in your life. All these images are very reminiscent to me of the early works of Martin Scorsese, from Means Streets right up to Cape Fear, but also of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (Thomas’ character has a direct link with Harvey Keitel’s character). Who gets to ask for redemption? At what price? Under what conditions? The Shelter confronts these issues with power and force. It’s meaningful.

I tend to get emotional about all of this but the most important thing I want to say to you is this: You have something here. So what ever you do next, don’t fuck it up! Congratulations John!”

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How to stay positive in the cut-throat, bullshit filled film industry? Here’s what works for me…

unnamed88“I failed” is ten times more of a man than someone that says “what if” cause “what if” never went to the arena! – Greg Plitt.

I’ve been in the film industry under varied hats (actor, screenwriter, script doctor, producer, stuntman and now director) for years. I’ve been through a lot (like a lot) and I have learned (and am still learning) the HARD WAY about the nature of this fickle beast. Now if there’s one thing that I eventually struggled with that I couldn’t shake off is how to NOT become cynical/jaded in an industry that is filled with false promises, bullshit, and let downs?

I mean; why get pumped about writing a script for a film that has little chances of getting made? Why get stoked about an audition when getting the part is one in a million? Why get excited about submitting your film to a Festival when chances are they’ll turn you down? Why get excited about directing a film when the odds of making your money back or/and locking distribution are against you?  And I won’t even get into the hardships that come with “making an actual living” in this business – nope – no novels today. Hence, for a long time, after so many let downs, I lived that way: coming into projects fairly cold to protect myself emotionally from what will most likely be A LOT OF FIGHT in exchange for DISAPPOINTMENTS and LITTLE REWARDS. On that, I was never sold on my approach to the process being that I was nurturing negative energy and it was sucking the “fun” out of trying to make movies.

But it’s all I knew. I simply couldn’t crack how to consolidate having a “positive attitude” with the reality that is this cut-throat, false promises filled and “you scratch my back I ignore yours” industry. But this month, I finally figured it out for myself and I’m sharing it with you because I’m sure I’m not the only mook in the biz that’s struggled with this.

Remove the bulk of your focus from the end game and instead celebrate the steps forward, no matter how small they are.

Make sense? Yes? No? Here’s an example: I have been trying to get this new project off the ground this year. And for a couple of months now, every week or so, the project would inch forward, yes INCH. But you know what? An inch forward is better than an inch backwards or no inch at all… in the film industry an inch forward is f*cking mammoth! So I’d smile, and celebrate the step by having a drink with buds, going to hike a mountain in honor of that step, having a stogie etc. By perceiving things in that manner, focusing on the steps forward that were achieved as opposed to the end result that has yet to come, I managed to seep in more positive energy than usual in terms of the overall procedure of trying to get a film off the ground.

Now this project I was attempting to get going, went south right at the fucking finish line 2 days ago, the path we were on was gonna end one way or the other and sadly it took the “no dice” route right at the end. Sure it hurt me when it nose dived but not as much as it could have because of this new perspective that I applied – all of my energy wasn’t put on the end result but in acknowledging and being proud of the success in the actual steps forward instead. PS: I’m back to square one with that project; ready to fight some more – it will fly one way or another – I know it when I have a winner on my hands and this is one. More news when it locks.

So there you have it, I hope this “celebrate the steps” angle makes sense for y’all. Because it has helped me cope with the harsh reality of this business and I hope it does the same for you. Am done! Back to the hustle! The Shelter is calling my name! That demanding mofo is never done with me….

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My basic training routine and diet for Billy Trigger!

With BILLY TRIGGER now in pre-production and with production around the corner, I got little time to get in the shape I wanna be in for the film. Luckily for me, I am at the moment in pretty good shape. I just want to gain a bit more mass (specially the arms) and definition (damn abs). I also want to build up my cardio and gain further flexibility/range as to my kicks.

So here’s an overview of what I’ll be doing to get in even better shape for the role. I have 3 different exercises per body parts. 4 sets an exercise. 8 to 10 reps each. NOTE: Am not counting the gun range visits and fight choreography rehearsals that will eventually surface. This is just my basic weekly routine.

DIET: I made it simple. Cut all carbs. Eat 6 small meals a day. All protein and veggies based. I will have half a grapefruit and a handful of blueberries every morning though (they help flatten the stomach).


Boxing with trainer
Weight training: Chest, back and abs.


Kick training (focus pads, heavy bag, pool)

Weight training: Shoulders, biceps, triceps and abs.

Boxing with trainer.
Weight training: Abs and legs.

Kick training (focus pads, heavy bag, pool)
Weight training: Chest, back and abs.

Boxing with trainer
Weight training: Shoulders, biceps, triceps and abs.

SATURDAY: Work on what needs work.


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My action script Trigger enters pre-production! Teaser poster!

Funny how shit goes. TRIGGER is an action script that I wrote in 2008, and I’ve been trying to get it off the ground ever since. Close call here, close call there, maybe shoot it here, maybe shoot it there, no dice. But last night, all the stars aligned and it locked and now we’re hitting the ground running. Yup TRIGGER has its financing in place and will be entering production this October. I will play the lead of Billy Trigger. Berge Garabedian, Christian Viel and myself are producing. And Viel will be directing the picture as well. See our TEASER POSTER BELOW, LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE HERE and here’s the film’s synopsis:

Irish mobster Billy Trigger has been the O’ Brien family’s number one enforcer for three years now. And for good reasons; he is cold, calculated and relentless and has never tackled a job he couldn’t finish. His life is trouble-free and solitary as it mainly consists of: loose women, doing the work and cashing in. That’s until Pops, the head of the organization, hands him his next assignment.Trigger is tasked to look over Pops young mistress, Catherine, while he’s away. Of course, nothing goes as planned and Trigger ends up on the wrong side of Pops esteem… What happens when the best in the business is pitted against the business? Place your bets!

As the Joker said: “Here…we… go!” Expect more news sooner than later!

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Dead Shadows teaser hits the web!

You saw the one-sheet for David Cholewa’s DEAD SHADOWS and now you can see its Teaser Trailer below!  DEAD SHADOWS stars Fabian Wolfrom, Gwendolyn Gourvenec and myself with a special appearance by Famous French TV host Laurie Cholewa. Am practicing my French, hitting the Gym hard and quit booze (for training purposes). Can’t wait to get my ass to France and do this shit. Pumped!

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Where is TRANCE?

trance-artSome news on TRANCE, a film that I wrote and that stars Brea Grant (Heroes), Dominique Swain (Lolita) and Jeremy London (Mallrats).

The movie is pretty much finished, they’ve already done the ADR & the sound mix and it seems that it’s the CGFX that are taking forever to complete hence holding the film back.

TRANCE is directed by Brad Malone and is about sexy girls at a rave turned into blood thirsty killers after taking a mysterious new drug.

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