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Denver Medium

MEET THE FILMMAKER: Julie DeLuna.

Julie DeLuna is one of those naturally enthusiastic and positive people you can’t help but like. An internet marketer by day, Julie recently made her first movie, Denver Medium, primarily as a means to shwocase her talent as an actor. Her movie plays December 20th at The Bug Theatre (3654 Navajo St.) as part of The Emerging Filmmakers Project (EFP). EFP Host Patrick Sheridan recently caught up with Julie.

IMG_5884P.S.: Why did you become a filmmaker?

J.D.: I became a filmmaker because I want to star in films! I rally don’t have a passion for creating films, although I am enjoying the ride. My passion is to be the lead star in films, and the easiest way for me to do that is to make them!

P.S.: What are we seeing? What was the inspiration for your movie?

J.D.: I’m showing my first production Denver Medium. Basically I have always liked the Long Island Medium character Theresa. I find her and her job to be absolutely hilarious! I loved her personality so much I wanted to reenact it!

P.S.: What else are you working on?

J.D.: I am getting ready for more of an action movie. I have always wanted to do fight scenes, be the vixen who beats up the bad guys in heels! Ok maybe not heels quite yet… Im working on it! My next film will definitely include some ass kicking (by me!).

P.S.: Tell us one weird thing about you or your  movies?

J.D.: Nothing weird about me or my movies. I love to be funny and I love to make people laugh! Technically my movies are weird, but if it gets the audience laughing then I have achieved my mission!

P.S.: Where can people find out more about you and your work?

J.D.: They can check out my facebook fan page: Fans of Julie DeLuna http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fans-of-Julie-DeLuna/220630018022252.

P.S.: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?

J.D.: YES! Thanks to a lot of my close acting friends (Swann Christopher), my acting coaches at AEC Studios, and The Emerging Filmmakers Project I was inspired to make my own films! If it wasn’t for the combination of the three I don’t think I would of had the guts to pull everyone together to create this work of art! It takes determination, a team, support, and belief. I said “Hey If those people can come up with a short 5 minute film, why can’t I?” So I did! Im actually surprised at myself to have created this (like I stated before, filmmaking is not my passion, showing up and acting is). What a better way to end the year 2012. I have accomplished all of my goals and some!

P.S.: Since you didn’t really consider yourself a filmmaker before making Denver Medium, is there anything you like to say to people thinking about making a movie?

J.D.: For anyone who is interested in filmmaking, I say GO FOR IT! You can pull it together. You can get the support you need. You can make an awesome super mega low-budget film. YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANY DESIRE YOU WISH TO HAVE! I hope my films get more directors and producers interested in having ME in their next films! That was my goal of making this!  Good Luck to you aspiring filmmakers and producers!

P.S.: (Laughing) We’ve created a monster! Good luck, Julie, and see you at the EFP!

The Best Christmas Ever

MEET THE FILMMAKER: Patrick Sheridan.

Patrick Sheridan is one of the coolest and busiest filmmakers in Denver.  Not only does he run both The Emerging Filmmaker’s Project and The Film Acting Academy of Denver, he’s also the Marketing Director for The Bug Theatre, a highly sought-after screenwriting, acting and filmmaking teacher, a freelance writer juggling several big projects, and he still finds the time to make fantastic films.  It’s exhausting just to read, isn’t it?

Patrick’s screening his hilarious short The Best Christmas Ever at the EFP this month, and Eileen jumped at the chance to interview him for the website.  Partly because he’s a super awesome guy, and one of Eileen’s most favorite people ever; partly because she was hoping to finally get some dirt (suitable to print) on him.  Was she successful?  Read on to find out!

Paddy headshot 1E.A.: Why did you become a filmmaker?

P.S.: It was either that or join a band. Actually, I did both. Someone told me you could have a longer career in movies and meet better women. Having done both, I can say with some authority that I think it’s easier to start a career in a band but much harder to sustain it. Movies is much harder to break into but (hopefully) easier to sustain.

E.A.: Could you be serious for a minute?

P.S.: Maybe. Okay. Yes, ma’am. I come from a long line of storytellers. Maybe it’s the Irish in me. I wrote a lot of fiction and poetry when I was younger (my short movie The Barking Horse is based on a poem of the same name) and gravitated to screenwriting some 20 years ago. I optioned a few screenplay early on (none were made). One of my early “successes” was a screenplay for a foreign producer for a martial arts movie. He ran off without paying and I heard from a friend a while back that he thinks he saw my movie playing in a Tokyo bar. He said the movie sucked. So I got that going for me.

But really, I became a filmmaker to showcase my writing. I was tired of not having my movies get made while spending a lot of my time working on other projects that also weren’t getting made. I wanted to see my work produced. Shortly after the birth of my first son Elliot, I decided to pursue screenwriting and filmmaking full-time. It’s been a mixed bag to be sure, but now I see myself as a writer and a director.

E.A.: We’re seeing The Best Christmas Ever. It’s the sixth annual screening of it at the EFP, right?

P.S.: Yeah, we only planned to show it that first year, 2007, but when I started trying to find Holiday-themed movies for the EFP in 2008, the filmmakers mostly wanted to know if  we were going to show The Best Christmas Ever again. It kind of became an unfortunate tradition.

E.A.: You know I love that movie, but I have to ask: what were you smoking when you made it?

Best Christmas photoP.S.: I’m not sure statute of limitations is up yet so I’ll “Take the Fifth.” The previous two years, I made a movie on the Friday after Thanksgiving and I called it the “Day After Thanksgiving Filmmaking Extravaganza” as if it were some legitimate film contest. I was the only filmmaker so of course I won (cuz awards are important). The third year, however, other filmmakers wanted in so I opened it to them. The one condition was you had to start the movie with the line, “The last time I saw Santa Claus…”

I was really spoofing the kind of crap that makes it on youtube. The movie is entirely scripted even though most people think it was improvised by Matt Daren and me. My niece and her husband were visiting and they helped out on the shoot. And Elliot got a small role in it, too. It was the first movie I ever made that had bad language. Wasn’t my last.

E.A.: What else are you working on?

P.S.: Mostly writing projects for out-of-town producers and final edits on the script for my next feature, Stalled. My first feature, Jimmy Said, is almost ready for a public screening. Yes, it’s been 3 1/2 years since we started it and most people think it’s dead in the water, but it will screen!

I’m also working on a web-series for local actor Audrey Walters called Analyzing Annie and a web series of my own called The Stalker.

That and running The Emerging Filmmakers Project, of course, and The Film Acting Academy of Denver.

E.A.: Tell us one weird thing about you or your movies.

P.S.: Hmmm, there are so many. I’ve mentioned the mythical organization Little Lady Explorers in several films. Every car I’ve owned has been in more than one of my movies. I’ve had a role or cameo in almost every movie I’ve made. One cameo was nothing more than my photo on the back of a book as if I was the author. That book was the fake “novel” version of Stranded, a movie I’ve been hired to re-write and eventually direct.

E.A.: What’s the big dream project for you? Do you have a film you have to make before you die, so to speak?

P.S.: I wrote a script called “Resurrection Hill” about 15 years ago. I’d like to make that movie some day. And I have three spec projects that I’m developing. They are all big budget, studio pictures so I would die happy if any of them got made into a movie. And I’m working on a remake of Attack of the 50 Foot Woman. Seriously.

E.A.: So you’ve been doing this for quite awhile. If you could go back and visit yourself in your first year of filmmaking and give that Patrick one piece of advice, what would it be?

P.S.: Finish your damn novel. But if your’e going to do this, get a camera and start shooting stuff even if you never intend to be a cinematographer. Telling a story with words is different than telling a story with moving pictures. Learn the language. And then I’d say get your ass to Hollywood while you’re still young and pretty.

E.A.: Where can people find out more about you and your work?

P.S.: My website www.paddywagonfilms.com is undergoing a major relaunch in 2013. The old website is still up and running and you can see a lot of my old work there. Newer stuff is playing festivals but you can see The Barking Horse, Knock Knock, and a few other works at https://vimeo.com/paddywagonfilms. We’ll be screening Served, starring Laurel Harris and Bill LeVasseur, at an upcoming EFP.

E.A.: Anything you want to say about the EFP?

P.S.: I went to my first EFP back in 2005. Local filmmaker Haylar Garcia (An American Terror, Do it for Johnny) was the very gracious host. I got to screen my work there. It was unbelievably exciting to see my movie on a big screen with other filmmakers. There are very few events like this elsewhere in the country. It’s an amazing resource for independent film in Colorado and I’m just doing my part to keep it alive.

E.A.: So everyone really wants to know when are you going to finally make a movie with a cat in it.

P.S.: As soon as your cat Tomo approves of the latest script revisions.

E.A.: He says he’ll have his people call your people.

P.S.: Tomo has people? I don’t have people. I really need people. Or a cat.

E.A.: Thanks for talking with me Patrick!  You really are a super awesome guy… even if I sometimes feel like I need a nap just after hearing about how you spent your day.  (Seriously, how do you do it all?)

Beautiful Scar

MEET THE FILMMAKER: Jimmy Lee Combs.

Local filmmaker and family man Jimmy Lee Combs dips his french fries in mustard, idolizes Sylvester Stallone, and is one of only about 37 men in the U.S. who freely admit to reading (and liking) the books of Nicholas Sparks. But hey, we don’t judge. We just see Jimmy as an all-around good guy and emerging filmmaker with a bright future.

Jimmy’s movie Beautiful Scar plays at the December 20th Emerging Filmmakers Project (EFP) at Denver’s historic Bug Theatre. We’re not really sure how this movies fits in with our Holiday-themed lineup of movies, but we’re sure someone will make the connection.  EFP Host Patrick Sheridan had a chance to chat with Jimmy.

JimmyLeeCombsArtist P.S.: Why did you become a filmmaker and not  novelist?
J.L.C.: I have always been a huge movie buff and storyteller ever since I was a little kid. The magic of cinema captured my active imagination at a very young age and has stayed with me my whole life. I’m so thankful to my parents for allowing me to watch a wide spectrum of movies growing up, even R rated ones. It truly gave me a vast knowledge of films and helped pave the way for my filmmaking career. I love the arts and filmmaking has been a very liberating way for me to share my art with the world.

A huge influence in my life has always been the Rocky movies starring Sylvester Stallone. I can’t tell you enough how many times these movies have pulled me up and made me believe in myself. These movies have given me the courage to go out their and go for it! I highly recommend this amazing saga to everyone, especially filmmakers. Rocky is the symbol for the underdogs of the world and proves if you got the heart and fire and go for your dreams, no matter what, you will always be a winner.

I had the amazing honor of meeting Mr. Stallone (my hero Rocky) back in December of 2006 when I went to an advanced screening of Rocky Balboa with my Dad.  Let me tell you, it really changed my life for the better. I was filled with inspiration after talking with Stallone and seeing the movie. It definitely gave me the confidence to get out there and make films.

The older you get, the more of life’s hard knocks you encounter. I have had a lot of bad relationships in my time that have hurt me. Not only has movies and filmmaking helped me coupe with that hurt but also gave me the opportunity to make films that other people in similar situations can relate to. Those films I could identify with such as Rocky in my tough times, really helped me, it felt good to know I could relate to a character or a movie’s story. That has always been another huge reason for me becoming a filmmaker to let my audience know that you are not alone. Hopefully it gives them something they can relate to and take away from some of my films.

P.S.: What are we going to see at the EFP? What was the inspiration behind it?
BeautifulScarMoviePosterJ.L.C.: We are going to see Beautiful Scar, a film I made for the 48 Hour Film Project. When I drew the Romance genre at the 48 Hour kick off, I was excited! I have always been a sapp for romance and a big fan of books by Nicholas Sparks (yes I admit it). I have dated women over the years that would tell me how they were in an abusive relationship that they stayed in longer than they should have. These stories and Nicholas Sparks was a huge inspiration for Beautiful Scar. I wanted to convey through the main female character, Theresa, that you should never have to stick around in an abusive relationship, that true love does exist and it’s out there waiting. You just can’t settle for anything less than what you deserve.

It’s interesting to note that originally I was going to call the film Lover’s Bond but as I was brain storming with my team, I came up with the idea to give Theresa (played by Beverly Sartain) a scar on her face from her abusive boyfriend in the story. My SFX guy, Stefan Knowles, chimed in by sharing a story about his friend’s fiance who actually has scars on her face. He said his friend complemented his fiance by telling her that they are “beautiful scars.” So that was a huge inspiration for the title that fit extremely well with one of the messages of the film.

P.S.: What else are you working on?
J.L.C.: I’m working on my first horror film called The Candy Corn Killer. And more recently a film of mine in pre-production that involves a woman named Hannah who is suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder. She is on trial for murdering her father who abused her as a child. However, Hannah is adamant that she is innocent while her alternate personality is trying to convince her that she did indeed kill her father.

P.S.: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
J.L.C.: Did I mention that I really enjoy dipping my french fries in mustard? A lot of people have told me that’s weird.

P.S.: It is. Does Rocky know about this?
J.L.C.: No. And please don’t tell him.

P.S.: What about your movies? Anything unusual?
J.L.C.: For my movies. My red Mustang convertible (I named her Eliza) has made its way into almost everyone of my films. This was intentional on my end as a nod to one of my favorite directors Sam Raimi who has included his classic ’73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 in almost every one of his films. Sadly, I was in a minor accident and my Mustang had to be totaled. No more film appearances for Eliza.

IMG_0286_2P.S.: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
J.L.C.: The best place to find out more about me and my films is www.heartandfireproductions.webs.com Also, you can catch me on facebook http://www.facebook.com/jimmy.lee.792197

P.S.: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
J.L.C.: Thanks to the networking power of Facebook I have recently found out about The Emerging Filmmakers Project. Better late than never as they say. It is a wonderful organization that has my full support as a filmmaker/actor/screenwriter/producer. Being able to network with peers who all share a love for film and others involved in the indie filmmaking scene in Colorado is invaluable! Not to mention it’s a great outlet for local filmmakers to showcase their hard work whether it be a trailer or a film. The interaction between audience and filmmaker at the end of each film is one of many highlights at the EFP.

P.S.: Thanks for sharing, Jimmy. See you down a the EFP on the 20th!

Sisyphean

MEET THE FILMMAKER: Connor McIntyre.

We first heard about Connor McIntyre’s ambitious film Sisyphean through its lead actor, Jason Lawton.  Jason was generous with his praise for the movie and for Connor’s ability as a filmmaker. A subsequent viewing revealed why Jason spoke so highly of the young filmmaker.

Sisyphean is a Western tale that could easily be described as being about a man in a red shirt who delivers a package through the snow. Uh, wait a minute. Is that right? Well, then that’s reason enough to include it with other Holiday-themed movies playing December 20th at the Emerging Filmmakers Project (EFP) down at The Bug Theater (3654 Navaho St.).

EFP Host Patrick Sheridan caught up with Connor to talk about the movie and his next project Come, Ye Men of Little Faith.

ConnorMcPhotoP.S.: Why filmmaking?
C.M.: A life of pathological lying which led to an obsession with storytelling. It always seemed like the logical progression. I wanted to be a writer for a long time, then I wanted to be a playwright, then I made a few stop motion short films and I fell in love with the medium. Filmmaking is freeing, cathartic, and allows me to explore thoughts and beliefs in an unrestricted state. And here I am.

P.S.: What are we going to see at the EFP? What was the inspiration behind it?
C.M.: I’m showing my film Sisyphean. It was my final thesis film in school and it was born out of a few things. At first I really just wanted to make a western. I was raised on westerns, and I thought a western would help push me out into the world. But then I considered what story I’d want to tell throughout the western. At the time I was thinking a lot about what life in film school was like. It was this uphill battle, where I’d throw myself into something and struggle to get through it, struggle to get it made, and at the end some people would love it and other people wouldn’t and that was it, you know? That was the end of it. Then I’d go back down and I’d start all over again. So I decided to frame the story around the myth of Sisyphus, he felt like a kindred spirit to filmmakers. This guy who had to find meaning in a task without hope. And that’s how I felt about film school. Each of the characters are representations of either myself, teachers, or other students I encountered throughout my schooling career.

P.S.: What else are you working on?
C.M.: I’m currently in pre-production on a feature film titled, Come, Ye Men of Little Faith. It’s a crime-drama centered around an old washed up gambler named Arthur and the relationship he develops with a lonely pickpocket. We’re currently locked in a state of financial woe, but we want to start shooting in Spring.

P.S.: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
C.M.: My films often tell stories about self-destructive men on paths of failed redemption. I hope this doesn’t mean anything.

IMG_0997P.S.: Uh, I’m pretty sure it does. So, where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
C.M.: If interested, people can check out my Vimeo page at http://vimeo.com/user3497696 or check out my new film’s website at littlefaithmovie.com

P.S.: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
C.M.: I’m deeply appreciative and honored to be included amongst a variety of incredibly talented filmmakers. It’s a groovy idea having a dedicated monthly show to screen films from upcoming filmmakers in the area. Especially in Denver where the film community could and should thrive.

P.S.: I look forward to seeing more great work from you!

Christmas Eve ’45

MEET THE FILMMAKER: Evgueni Mlodik.

Russian-born filmmaker Evgueni Mlodik’s latest short film, Christmas Eve ’45, has been described as a Nazi sexploitation movie. And it mentions Christmas. Those two things alone more than qualifies it to play as part of the Holiday-themed Emerging Filmmakers Project (EFP) December 20th down at The Bug Theatre (3654 Navajo St.).

EFP Host Patrick Sheridan recently caught up with Evgueni to talk about the movie and why he became a filmmaker. Perhaps we should have explored his obsession with nuns in greater detail.

btsce45-2P.S.: Why did you become a filmmaker?
E.M.: Since I could remember, it was a passion of mine. I grew up in Russia, right after the wall came down and we saw an influx of Western films, including many classics. I remember seeing all the old great American films and then-new blockbusters for the first time and being completely floored by a whole new world of cinema. That was when I first realized my calling was to make films. In time, I moved to America and felt that it’s a sign that I’m meant to be a part of these amazing films I grew up with. It sometimes take a big battle to get my films made, but my passion to create cinema is truly my first priority in life and the one true way I can express myself.

P.S.: What are we going to see at the EFP? What was the inspiration behind it?
E.M.: You will be seeing my latest film, Christmas Eve ’45, which was originally a production III film school project that ended up going rogue. It is essentially my own personal study of a movie trend very popular during the 70s: reconciling sexual and political deviance. The story is freely adapted from a 19th story gothic Italian story dealing with a sickly man’a repressed guilt and loss. I felt such a storyline would be perfect set in a post-WWII world, which itself was filled to the rim with guilt and loss, especially in Europe after the Nazi atrocities were at last revealed. I didn’t strive for total historical accuracy of Germany circa the 1940s, but for a stylized version of that place that portrays a society running a fever; where the Nazi imagery is fetishized and such familiar paraphernalia as the swastika and the eagle become visual representations of the perversion of the masses. I felt that a film about depravity has to be a depraved film and that in order to properly convey the reality of regular Germans over that horrific 12 year period within one short film, I had to use exaggerated symbols instead of characters and I’m proud to say my fantastic cast pulled it off.

P.S.: What else are you working on?
E.M.: I’m currently finishing pre-production on my thesis film at Regis University, which in some ways is connected to Christmas Eve ’45 and its exploration of intimate German society during WWII. The film, a loose adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, is heavily influenced by and modeled after old German melodramas and musicals made by UFA after the film industry’s hostile takeover by Joseph Goebbels. No, there were never any Nazis or Nazi imagery in those films, in fact, most of them are rather harmless, but they all possess a hypnotic aura of the macabre, probably the reflection of the regime they were made under and are deeply rooted in German Expressionism. I found that combination to be very intoxicating and feel it would be an excellent companion piece to Christmas Eve ’45.

poster2P.S.: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
E.M.: (Laughing)Just one?  I guess be on a lookout for a Nun cameo (a recurring theme in my films.)

P.S.: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
E.M.: The can always find information on my work on IMDb and my YouTube channel:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3427160/
http://www.youtube.com/emlodik

My last film and my upcoming one have their own Facebok Page.
https://www.facebook.com/bythelightofthesilverymoonfilm
https://www.facebook.com/ChristmasEve45

P.S.: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
E.M.: EFP is an excellent resource and is fantastic way for local filmmakers to connect and explore each other’s work. I look forward to be seeing all the great films our local artists create!

P.S.: Thanks, Evgueni! See you there!