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.
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
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.
Am back from LA and I accomplished what I set out to do. First and foremost I went there to heal my noggin; after a 6 months bout with health issues, I got the physical part under control; LA was to gap the psychological part, trauma if you will. Yup, I was still shook up before I left, I’m not anymore. Finally!
Another goal of mine was to meet up with some old and new film industry pals. Although I didn’t get to see everybody I wanted while there (sorry to those I couldn’t hang with), I did my best. Special shout out goes out to my good bud Donny Brousard who came down for a weekend (always nice 2 see that mofo) and to the Christian Sesma/Paul Sloan crew.Was great to finally meet those dudes in person, they reminded of my boys at home, no bull, down to earth and ready to rumble – I respected that.
With Donny B.
Finally I went there to explore the film industry, see what’s going on and got pretty much what I expected to get. There’s no money in Hollywood right now, every producer I met as to my projects had the same spiel: “You got money, distribution or stars attached?” – hey man, If I had that, I wouldn’t need you . In terms of finished products, there is a demand, but buyers want shit for free or for chump change. I give it two years till the infra structure is reset and money starts circulating more. This year’s AFM should be another bust…fuck… that. But am not discouraged, am working on something tight here, a horror project that I am inches away from finishing and that I will be directing. Moreover, Eric Red and I are cooking something as well and we’re stubborn mofos and won’t exit the kitchen till the cake rises.
With Eric Red.
Any negatives on this trip? Well I did learn the hard way that doing tequila shots while on a diet is a bad fucking idea but hey what can you do, I’m only human, I fuck up… so its get over it and get on with it as a good bud of mine always says.Also got the sad sack 411 on TRANCE (a script I wrote that got shot and has been in limbo ever since) from varied sources – finally know what’s going down with that fucking flick… but that’s another story, one that I will delve in deeply in due time, specially in light of recent developments.
With Sesma and Sloan
All in all my LA trip was a groovy one. Loved Santa Monica, loved Malibu (jogged by Emilio “Bill the Kid” Estevez’ house :), loved the parties, loved the strip and loved having time and room to write, write, write. Big thanks to Eric Red and his lovely wife Meredith for putting up with my shit for a month. Although my return home started with a middle finger up (there was a flood in my place, fried my PC and printer…sigh) am still feeling positive about being back and in tackling the second half of the year. I got new answers, hence a fresh outlook; onward and forward!