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.
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”
It will screen at the Tramuntana Meliá Sitges Theatre on October 10, 2018 at 4:00PM. You can get your tickets here! Star, producer and martial arts expert Marc Natoli and myself will be in attendance to support the picture. My Sitges friends better be there, belly well fed with beer, ready to have a good time! 😉
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.
Natoli Productions, ARR Productions, Indimax Productions and Bruise Productions are behind the film.
You can follow the production via the Official Instagram page here:
Looking back at 2015, all I remember off hand are two things: 1- Greg Plitt died out of no where on January 17 of 2015 (a man who helped me get back on track via his site/videos years ago. His passing prompted me to go back to his site and once again he helped a lot this year) and my film THE SHELTER, which took over the bulk of my thoughts and efforts. The film resulted in some positive things like cool festival runs, positive reviews, meeting new people, making new contacts and new opportunities arising.
It also came with its fair share of hardships (that I will go into when all is said and done some day – I may write a book 🙂 ) and some trial by fire i.e. gaining further knowledge as to the current state of the film market through my mistakes. Shelter aside, I actually had to look back at my 2015 pictures to remind me of what else I did that year and yeah, I had yet another groovy year of doing what makes me happy: training, nature, my friends, traveling and challenging myself.
Top of my head here are some of my favorite personal moments of 2015!
In terms of negatives, I’m not one to dwell on those cause, well, what will that achieve? Nothing. I’ll just say that the odd energy around The Shelter gave me a run for my patience, maximum effort often led to maximum frustrations as opposed to results and knives stabbed in my back here and a severe “misjudgement of character on my part” there should be noted… nothing new at this point, people are people. Lastly, my 14 year old dog is on her way out (going deaf, blind and very old) it’s coming and I am bracing myself… such is life. 🙁
I feel very positive in terms of 2016 though (just got back from a stay in the wilderness – that always sets me right)! The Shelter will screen at a handful of Festivals and will lock distribution, am pumped to get my next film The Prize off the ground, I’m starting boxing again (after dealing with a stubborn tennis elbow in 2015 that got in my way, I finally healed it), I’ll be part of handful of exciting projects (as a writer and actor), already have some traveling on the horizon, mother nature is always in my plans and I will focus on awakening by creative side again, specially when it comes to writing for myself. Producing The Shelter in 2015 kind of numbed by creative juices, I won’t let that happen this year. That’s it in a nutshell! Welcome to 2016 people! I leave you with my 2016 National Anthem:
The SITGES FILM FESTIVAL screening of THE SHELTER has come and gone and here are my quick thoughts on how it went down. When I presented the film I said: “You know me for films with tits and gore” and the crowd went wild and then I said “Well, this isn’t one of those” and the crowd groaned. This was the first day of the Fest, the audience wanted to party and if there’s one thing THE SHELTER is NOT is a party movie. With that aside; the crowd didn’t boo (those trustee whistles) which I saw as a positive thing and they all clapped at a certain point which at least told me they were involved in the happenings.
PPS: When the flick finally rolled, I did a double take. The image didn’t look too good with the colors being all over the place. Not sure if it was my DCP, the projector or a bit of both, but the film never looked this bad on a big screen. I am still in Spain now, but when I get home, I will get to the bottom of things as I NEVER want the movie to look like that on a big screen again.
Post screening, I corresponded in person with folks at the Fest and online with people who enjoyed the picture and on the flip side I read some negative things online but nothing that I would call too thought out i.e. no sweat off my bulldog balls. Hence overall my SITGES was a positive one , saw old amigos (too many to name, you know who you are), made new ones, saw one film that I LOVED (Julien Seri’s Night Fare – see it), dealt with one sucker-punch burst of negative energy in a surprisingly admirable fashion (I impressed myself… God bless this new maturity), appreciated all of the fans who came to see me (signed some Shelter and even Dead Shadows stuff) and that supported me and left Sitges to hit Barcelona with a smile on my face.
I am now talking with varied distributors who are interested in putting out THE SHELTER, say prayers, knock on wood, do whatever you do – send that positive energy our way! In closing: big thank you to the Sitges Film Festival and specifically to the great Mike Hostench for having me and making my stay there yet another memorable one. See you with the next film!
I was recently interviewed by the famous fan site AIN’T IT COOL NEWS aka AICN. We talked THE SHELTER…what else?! All I got these days 🙂 Here is an excerpt:
CO: Was there anything else that changed between the script and what was shot?
JF: The religious imagery. There was a statue of Christ and I do little ‘push ins’ on it. When I walked into the house location, the man who owned it was a hardcore Christian and it was filled with religious imagery everywhere. Everywhere. EVERYWHERE. It was a shrine to Christ. And I was like, okay, we’re in the right house.
THE SHELTER will be screening at the SITGES FILM FESTIVAL on October 9th at 8:00PM at the Retiro as part of the Panorama Fantastic section! Writer/Director John Fallon will be on hand to present the screening.
Building up to THE SHELTER Sitges Screening, lots of Shelter related goodies have been popping up online. First we had new reviews by Horrornews.net and This is Horror. Here are excerpts.
Horrornews.net: “It reminded me a lot of the films of David Lynch and Roman Polanski and is just a very strong, intelligent character-driven piece that is sure to satisfy viewers. Pare does an excellent job bringing him (his character) to life. As a matter of fact I really couldn’t see anyone else playing the part as well as Pare did and he really shows just how talented of an actor he truly is with this performance.” – You can read the whole review here!
This is Horror: “The Shelter is pretty much a one man vehicle for Michael Pare who is never anything but captivating as he owns the screen. It’s not easy to hold an audience’s attention for an entire movie, but the combinations of Pare’s experience as an actor and Fallon’s energy, vision and storytelling style is both entrancing and intoxicating. For those who are prepared to engage with it The Shelter will run deep and resonate within for a long time after the credits have rolled.” – Read the entire review here!
Then DP Bobby Holbrook and I stopped by the WE CAME FROM THE BASEMENT show to talk about the shoot, post prod and beyond! Listen to it here! It made for a very candid and funny sit down.
And that’s it for now! On my end, I am now prepping for Spain as it’s around the corner (October 9 baby), we’re trying to lock distribution for the film, am submitting the flick to more Festivals and at the same I am hustling to get my next film off the ground. Lots of work, lots of actions, won’t stop till I get the wanted reactions. Peace, love and God bless! JF
-The film will be screening at the prestigious SITGES FILM FESTIVAL on October 9th at 8:00PM at the Retiro as part of the Panorama Fantastic section! I will be there to present it. The last time I was in Sitges was as press for AITH in 2010. I promised myself then I wouldn’t go back unless I had my first feature as a director under my belt – so there ya have it!
More press on the film surfaced:
-I talked about the film with SCI FI NOWHERE!
-Talked with THIS IS HORROR about the film HERE! –HORRORNEWS and I had a chat about the movie HERE! -I had a “deep” chat about the film and spirituality with STARBURST MAGAZINE HERE -I yapped with HORRORTALK.COM about the flick HERE.
-The Shelter star Michael Pare was interviewed by HORRORNEWS.NETHERE
while his genre career was dissected on my site AITHHERE.
-Finally HORRORTALK gave it a semi conflicted review HERE and the UK genre site THIS IS HORROR covered it too! Here is an excerpt:
“The Shelter is pretty much a one man vehicle for Michael Pare who is never anything but captivating as he owns the screen. It’s not easy to hold an audience’s attention for an entire movie, but the combinations of Pare’s experience as an actor and Fallon’s energy, vision and storytelling style is both entrancing and intoxicating.For those who are prepared to engage with it The Shelter will run deep and resonate within for a long time after the credits have rolled.” Read the entire review HERE!
So that’s it for now! Lots of hustling and strategizing on my end in the name of getting the film where it needs to be. Posing lots of actions, not always getting the intended reactions – but that’s the nature of the beast. I just keep forging forward man, with faith that through perseverance, the movie will be where it needs to be at the end of this journey. THE SHELTER is a HUGE chunk of my life right now. Huge.
I know more press about the film will arise in due time, more Festival screenings are up in the air and I am also hoping that the Sitges screening will be a good push for the picture in terms of it finding a home ( for distribution inquiries, e-mail us here ). I’ll keep keeping you all in the loop as always! Please keep tabs on the film via the Official The Shelter blog (we’re having cast and crew QNA’s pop up there at random) and the FB page!
Again, a big thank you to those of you who have are still supporting me and the film. Cheers and God bless! John
PS: Here’s a behind the scenes shot from The Shelter. Why? Why not!? 🙂
Two positive reviews surfaced (in Spanish) from the DEAD SHADOWS screening at the Sitges Film Festival. I translated these segments to the best of my ability.
The first was a small one from Miradas.net:
David Cholewa’s debut Dead Shadows lack of pretension was its best advantage and its worst handicap. The film is a sensible but innocent homage to the creature that fed the creators as children. We have Lovecraft imagery, John Carpenter influences, some visuals that evoked the best of Yuzna, the comics of Eleuteri Serpieri and the delirium of Toshio Maeda. A simple film with, a good rhythm, notable visual effects, an apocalyptic romance and a cast that works well enough where John Fallon easily stands out with a character with iconic potential but not fully capitalized on by the filmmakers.
The second is from the site El terror Tiene Forma:
The actors are better than average, the protagonist Wolfrom Fabian and his partner Blandine Marmigère give it their all as the helpless hero and his romantic interest. One must recognize that Wolfrom is a lot better than the norm in communicating sadness. Also one must emphasize the presence of Rurik Sallé, a familiar face in the French horror cinema scene. But the big surprise is cult actor John Fallon, as a he steals the scenes he’s in with a character tailor made for him..
On October 10 2009, OLD NUMBER 7 (which I co wrote, co produced and acted in) was unleashed upon its first audience at the Sitges Film Festival in Spain. The mammoth crowd at hand was a party crowd and they were there to have a good time and a good time they had. So after great man Jake West (Evil Aliens) introduced my sorry ass, I ran up on the Sitges stage winged a speech and the film rolled on.
NOTE: I discovered that night that I am a natural at talking at crowds when sober that is – when drunk I make a fool of myself, so lesson learned – no more drunk speeches.
From my perspective the screening went well for 4 reasons. 1- Lots of the audience seemed to like it. They were obviously entertained, they clapped and cheered. 2- No booing. 3- I actually liked the film. The intro is KILLER and at least 2 other scenes really work in my opinion. 4- When you work on a film for a long period of time, you don’t see it anymore and it takes a screening like this, with folks totally detached from the production watching it, to TRULY discover what works and what doesn’t work.
So in the case of Old Number 7, a couple of times, the audience laughed at parts that were not supposed to be funny. Now you can take this two ways, get bummed about it and sulk or you can take it MY WAY, be happy that you now know that these bits don’t work and that you can go back and fix them. IMO, 85% of the film worked.
When the screening was done, we had a mini wrap party in Gonzalo Lopez’s (who directed the film) Hotel room. We had a bottle of Jack going (Old Number 7 – get it!) and we basically enjoyed each other’s company and discussed the pros and the cons of the screening. So where we at? After much talk with director Lopez, we’re going in the editing room one last time to fix what didn’t work.
I personally SEE the film again and feel confident that this further trip in the cutting room will make a good short film even better. To be continued on that shite!
FINAL NOTE: Man I look like crap in that movie. During the shoot I didn’t sleep much (insomnia) so I got bloated and tired. I swear I look 50 years old in some scenes. The fact that we didn’t have makeup didn’t help either. Yup, another lesson learned – I will NEVER agree to act in a film with no makeup. Never, EVER!
Ah the joys of Indie filmmaking…how I love thee… later yall!