Thursday, May 13, 2021

Officer Down (2020) Short film – Movie Review © 2021 Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod


 Above Image: Pre-release poster of 'Officer Down' from the Official Facebook Page, all rights reserved, image not monetized (C) 2020 Simon Pearce

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. As most of my audience knows I am a judge on the fantastic IDTV Action Fest for 2021, my second year. Across my desk and my festival judging comes a brand new short film created by Simon Pearce. Simon is listed as the director and c0\o-writer of the project, Tommy Draper is the other co-writer.


'Officer Down' is a crime action/drama film that runs slightly over 18 minutes. Surprisingly, there is a massive plot development later in the film which I will now spoil, yet bears mentioning. Usually short films are proof of concept, 'Officer Down' rises above the mundane with a conundrum an occurrence that forces the audience to think about what they would do given the situation. A cop is pinned down and tortured and manages to escape, with the help of one of the bad guys.


The stark contrast colors, grays and dimly lit building evokes, pensive fear and anxiety. The cops are out maned, yet Wiley. There are many running and action scenes, not fighting, and much gun-play as well. By giving the audience more than 15 min, the movie has time to unfold the plot and draw the viewer in.


'Officer Down' is tight and well directed, each cast member including Martin Delaney and Joseph Altin, move through the film with panache and courage. Emotional reactions are visceral and it is obvious the director had a clear grasp of the message and tone he was going for. No one actor overshadows another. A smooth cohesive film, with virtually no filler.


I really hope this gets made into a series or feature. Obviously the end goal here is to obtain funding for a feature release, and it shows, the tone is serious and violent, yet having an intrinsic message. Overall 'Officer Down' is quite good, actually surprised me, and is worth multiple viewings and rates an 8 0\out of 10, yeah it is that good! Incidentally the film should be shown at the IDTV action fest as it is already entered. For more information on the festival: http://www.idtvactionfest.com/


For more information on Officer Down, please visit their Official Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OfficerDownMovie







Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Director Jesse V. Johnson On Set of 'Whte Elephant' With Bruce Willis and Olga Kurylenko - © Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod

 

Above Photos: (C) 2021 Daniel Shippey, all rights reserved, used for promotional purposes only, images not monetized. Image one, Bruce Willis and director Jesse V. Johnson. Image two, Olga Kurylenko on the set of 'White Elephant'.

 

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. A few of days back director Jesse V. Johnson sent me a photo of him and Bruce Willis! No real explanation, yet I held off publicizing it, as it was still private. Fast forward to May 11th , Jesse has posted several photos on his official Facebook Page, Olga Kurylenko has posted on her official Instagram page a few photos from a a brand new film being filmed now called 'White Elephant'. Actually IMDB does not have any information about the film on the site, at the time of this post. The only information I have is that the the two photos above were taken by Daniel Shippey and the film is am action/drama.

Above: Olga Kurylenko from her Instagram page, with brass knuckles waiting to kick some ass! I shall jump to the head of the line!


Keep reading Dan's Movie Report for up to date info on 'White Elephant'. In the meantime, make sure to point your browsers to the official social media sites below for additional photos and information!


Jesse V. Johnson Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/actionjessevjohnson

Olga Kurylenko Official Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/olgakurylenkoofficial/?hl=en

 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Producer/Actress Natalie Burn - Interview © 2021 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod (Exclusive!!)

 

Above Image: Alan Weissman, All rights reserved, image not monetized. All images on this interview are copyright by the original owners, and used for promotional purposes only.


Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. A special treat, an interview two years in the making. Producer and actor Natalie Burn stops by for an extensive chat about 'Hollow Point' and her film 'Acceleration' along with newer projects. Natalie has a unique and deep background In film and is highly knowledgeable on both sides of the camera. Sit back, relax, because now is the time to burn and read the exciting new chat with Natalie!


DMR: Chat about your casting for Hollow Point, did you meet with Director Daniel Zirilli and Producers Dilan Jay and Adel Nur prior to getting the part with auditions or was it we have a cool detective part for you.


NB: I was very fortunate to know Daniel Zirilli for many years prior to working with him on Hollow Point. He was gracious enough to call and tell me there's a detective role that he's thinking of for me, and he would like for me to meet with his producing partner, Adel Nur to interview for this role; and that's how it happened! Adel and I really connected with one another. He is extremely polite, and I love his energy and enthusiasm over the movie. After getting acquainted with Adel, he said that I'm definitely this role of Detective Emily Plaza and he's excited to work with me on set. So, I didn't have to read for the role, but I did have to do a proper meeting with the producer and the director, in order to see if I fit the criteria. As for Dilan, I met Dilan for the first time on set, and after we got acquainted, we kind of felt like we've known each other for years. He's an old soul, who’s very talented, and we were thrilled to work together. I'm hoping to work with him again someday.


DMR: Chat about creating some of the detective mannerisms for your Emily Plaza character? How long did you rehearse the scenes prior to shooting?


NB: I try to work on my character as soon as I get the script, but that's not always the case sometimes. I like spending the time to get to know my character on a deeper level and understand the backstory as well as mannerisms; however, I had limited time to prepare, as I got brought into this project a few days prior to shooting. So, for me, when I’m in this type of situation, the lines are the most important thing right now and then we can work on everything else from underlying meanings to specific actions taken by my character. What primarily attracted me to the character Detective Emily Plaza is that she’s a female detective in this man’s world. In the story, she really cares about Dilan’s character and the fact that she wants him to get justice after losing his wife and child; it’s very personal to Emily Plaza, and I personally felt like there’s a deeper connection that she’s feeling. She has this need to help him no matter what, and that’s what I kind of been trying to find, but within my own personal life; in other words, I try to find that depth or loss of something and regain it or bring it back in the moment. Basically, this approach drives me throughout the whole script and guides my character to be strong and successful. Overall, it’s nice to have more time to prepare for these roles but an exciting challenge nevertheless.



 

DMR: You had some pretty cool scenes on the film, discuss the helicopter scene, and searching for the bad guy at the end, no spoilers please.


NB: I was super excited when Daniel told me I'll be flying a helicopter! Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly a helicopter. It was part of a deal with my brother. When we were young, we just told ourselves there's certain things we are going to do no matter what, and one of them was how to learn how to drive a boat, and the other one is to fly a helicopter. The instructor was very nice, as he taught me how to operate the helicopter and once I got the hang of it, it was amazing! The feeling is so overwhelming. I'm not afraid of heights, I'd go up into the sky all day long and just look over the amazing city view.


DMR: Very cool story about flying! Chat about the interaction with the established actors like Luke Goss and Michael Pare, what did you learn from them?


NB: Oh, I love Michael Pare! Michael Pare has been one of my good friends for years, we've done at least four or five indie movies together. We also worked together on my movie Awaken that I produced, as well as Uwe Boll's indie movie called Blood Rayne: The Third Reich. Michael is just a wonderful actor. He's also a member of the Actor's Studio, like myself. I literally saw him grow and become this lifetime member right in front of my eyes. He's such a fascinating person, who has been acting for a long time, and yet, he's constantly open to growing, and he is growing. He’s always trying to find different ways of becoming a different character, in addition to finding a different way of communicating with people in the scene. I mean, he's exactly the actor that you want to be. I think what blends the most from him is that no matter how much you had worked in this industry, no matter how old you are, no matter how much you already know, it's never enough. There's never a time where you can say 'I know it all now. Now I can stop learning.' That's never the case about Michael when it comes to acting.


Same thing with Luke Goss. I mean, I didn't know him before Hollow Point, but once I met him, I felt like I've already known that guy. He's such an enthusiastic actor, and he gives it all his best. He's physically strong, and knows how to do amazing action scenes, and he inspired me to become an action star later on. I was already fighting and training with some of the best trainers, including Arnold Chon, but Luke is the one who kind of motivated and challenged me during the movie, which shifted my focus more on actually becoming a female action star because there's definitely a market for that. It's really cool to be in an action movie. It's like a dream come true!


 


DMR: I also like Michael Pare and Luke Goss, I am thrilled you got to work with them. Chat about working with Dilan Jay as star and producer, I know that your upcoming own film 'Acceleration' you wore two hats on. What did you learn from working with Dilan, and for that matter Daniel Zirilli and Adel, on 'Hollow Point'?


NB: Dilan is such a smart person. His background is primarily in music and real estate, but he's a true business oriented and artistic entrepreneur, who is open to collaborating and multi-tasking on several things at once. When I observed that type of work ethic, it was inspiring. I also realized if he could do this, then I could do it as well, which is kind of my curse and my blessing. I look at people and for some reason I always feel the need to compete. And it's not always the best thing to do in relationships, but it's great in work because I get motivated by people's successes; not necessarily out of jealousy, but I definitely always think like ' Well, if they can do it, I can do it.' I believe there's nothing that I'm not capable of doing myself. Dilan made that film, which inspired me to then later make my movie 'Acceleration.' I figured, 'hey, he played the lead. He did action, and I can do the same.' The only difference is that I'm a female and he's in man. I believe any woman out there can commit to equal jobs as men do. So, like I said, he definitely inspired me to become a producer and get control over my own movies. When I worked with Daniel and Adel on Hollow Point. They constantly work. They don't stop. They create their own content and they continue making movies because that's their passion. They don't wait for a phone call for some big studios to call them, they create, and they just continue to succeed. That is kind of what I've taken from the experience of not waiting for permission to achieve my own goals and aspirations.


DMR: Yes it is pretty amazing about how Dilan just decides to make his own film. Final Hollow Point question, although you did not have a lot of scenes together chat about working with actress JuJu Chan, and the importance in general of having a balance of strong female characters in current action films.

NB: I think it's more important today to have a female action star who is capable of doing her own stunts, or doing her own fight choreographies. I believe the studios and independent market is more open towards those type of female actresses with those specific assets. That is why I feel JuJu has huge potential. Since she’s of Asian decent as well as a professional martial artists, she definitely has the traits and qualities to her advantage. The reality is casting directors now are looking for talented actresses with a wide array of skills depending on the role. An actress may look the part, but if it comes down to two actresses who have the same look, but one has a special skill that the other candidate doesn’t, which also benefits or reinforces the creative vision, then it's convenient to make a decision.

When I worked with JuJu, I saw her fighting skills and I said to myself 'wow!' That's what I want to do. I definitely want to push myself forward. Given my background as a ballerina, I was able to transition easily into fight choreography because I already had the same discipline, flexibility, and agility. So, with my movie Acceleration, when I started training with Arnold Chon, it didn’t feel as challenging, as it may with anyone who is just starting out. On the other hand, those who do have a specific skill set or training, I encourage them to utilize and leverage it to their advantage while challenging themselves.

 

Below: Natalie does a shout out to Dan's Movie Report live on set!

DMR: Acceleration really has piqued my interest with some killer established stars including Danny Trejo, Dolph Lundgren & Sean Patrick Flannery, chat about working with them. 

NB: I've worked with Dolph Lundgren on about five different projects already, but we've been friends for about nine years. I've seen his career rise back up and he definitely deserves the recognition for his work in this industry. But working with him in general is always a privilege. Especially, knowing somebody who has been in the industry for as long as he has and still retains value and demand from his fans, which is very inspiring overall. I mean, it takes dedication, training, and perseverance to really continue working as an actor. But, no matter what, Dolph is still here, he's still making movies, and we still want to watch them. Once again, to me, that is very admirable, which aspires me to eventually reach his level some day. With Sean Patrick Flannery, I mean 'wow!' He's an amazing Emmy Award-Winning Actor, who I just absolutely adore. He has got tons of secrets and talents that a lot of people don't actually know; in fact, Sean trained me a few times, and he's an absolute champ and an amazing master. Sean was just wonderful to work with. He creates the most unique and creative characters. Basically, I've never looked at somebody's eyes and got so hypnotized that I couldn't stop smiling. It always works against me because my character is so serious in Acceleration. When I met Danny Trejo, I was so surprised by his personality, by who he is, and in real life, I mean, you see him play these intimidating bad guy-type roles, but he's actually a warm teddy bear. Danny is so kind and extremely happy; he's always smiling!


DMR: Working with Director Daniel Zirilli again and Michael Merino on crafting the story and your character Rhona? Chat about working as well with EP Eric Brenner. 

NB: I met Eric Brenner through our distributor. He's very kind and supportive, and I hope to work with him again some day. With Daniel and Michael, I can't tell you how happy and relieved I am that I put, not one, but two great directors, who were both very flexible and professional, on set. They worked really well together by being open to each other’s creative suggestions and feedback; in fact, I think that's the key in independent film-making. It's a collaboration and everybody works together instead of against each other. It was definitely a team effort at the end of the day, and having two talented directors on set made the process move quicker.


 


DMR: Must have been tricky to get the cast together on such a tight schedule, how many days did you have for rehearsals, then principal photography? Chat as well about your casting process.

NB: It was very tricky! I mean, you always have a tight schedule with independent feature films. I feel that as our industry grows with new and innovative ways of film-making, the schedules get tighter, and the budgets get smaller each time. Regardless, we still have to deliver the same expectations and product because that's what distributors want. I was fortunate to have such an amazing cast and crew. Everybody was professional, came in on time, knowing exactly what they were doing and why they were doing it. We shot 10 days of principal photography and then we had three days of pickups. So it was three to 13 days. With action it's tough because you have to be ready to take the time to shoot it from all different angles, different punches, etc. but still didn't have enough time. But the priority is to just "get it in the can," as they say, and figure it out in post later on. As for the casting process, my distributors were helpful to let me know which actors they wanted to recruit and that made the process easier. As I mentioned earlier, I already had a preexisting relationship with Dolph Lundgren and got him attached literally after shooting another movie with him called 'Hard Night Falling.' Dolph only had a one month time frame, so we had to almost scramble to make it work but eventually the movie came together and I couldn't of been more proud of how it turned out.


 


DMR: Thank you for giving my audience insight to formulating a film from scratch on limited time. Share a story from the set of 'Acceleration', can be funny, or scary etc...


NB: Oh my gosh! I have an amazing story! During our pickups, my character had to drive the Maserati throughout Downtown L.A.; unfortunately, we didn’t have the budget to get permits and block off the streets, but we were going to wing it anyway. So, here I am driving at 3:00 am with a fake license plate with fake money and fake drugs in the trunk of the car. I eventually get lost and while trying to find my way back, I get pulled over and am surrounded by four cop cars. I honestly thought I was being pulled over for the fake license plate, but actually it was for driving towards traffic. Of course, I was extremely apologetic and explained that we were shooting a movie, and eventually the police let us go without a ticket.


 


DMR: Indie filmakng, always an adventure, great story!  Can you share any non spoiler plot details, from the film?


NB: I think the most interesting part of the film is how the entire plot unfolds towards the end.

You have the two most interesting antagonists Vladik, played by Dolph Lundgren, and Kane, played by Sean Patrick Flanery, whom each have their own goals and ulterior motives throughout the plot that intertwines with Rhona’s primary objective of getting her kidnapped son Mika, who’s played by Dobromir Mashukov, back. I believe the audience will enjoy watching how all of the characters meet up, while discovering the twists and revelations behind each of their motives.


DMR: Chat about the release of 'Acceleration'.

NB: The movie has already been released and is available on multiple platforms, including Amazon Prime, where you can check it out, be entertain, and leave a review afterwards. Also, feel free to connect via social media and tell me your thoughts.



DMR: Finally wrapping up, can you shed some light on Hard Night Falling and The Fourth Horseman films, I noticed the Dolph film Hard Night Falling has wrapped, can you chat a bit about your character no spoilers of course.

NB: Hard Night Falling is out on Hulu and Amazon, and you should definitely check it out if you’re into cool, kick-ass scenes! The Fourth Horseman is currently holding for the time being, but there are plenty of other movies down the pipeline.

For further information on Natalie Burn, please connect on these websites:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NatalieBurn01

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/natalie_burn/?hl=en

IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2238248/

Demo Reel: https://vimeo.com/418702155










Wednesday, May 5, 2021

The Swordsman (2020) Movie Review © 2021 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod

 





Above: Poster for 'the Swordsman' (C) 2020 All rights reserved, image poster on IMDB and image used for promotional purposes only not monetized

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and Action-Flix.com readers. Another rapid fire, spoiler free review! The good folks at  Trinity CineAsia have a treat releasing for action fans and on DVD May 17th, and Blu-ray May 24th! 'The Swordsman' delivers on the promise of action somewhat a straightforward story, yet surprisingly full of swerves and curves.


Actor Jang Hyuk plays a sword-fighter named Tae-yul who is going blind and is searching for his daughter. There are other swordsmen in the film of course, yet his story and fighting style, almost like a inhibited drunken yet controlled aggression makes for an entertaining watch. There is a particular scene in which there are so many fighters stacked against him, it is almost to 'Kill Bill' insanity.


Director Jae-Hoon Choi manages to keep the actors completely focused on camera. His handling of the emotional level of the characters keeps the audience engaged. It seems like he did longer takes for the action, thus not taking the two moves then stop and start again approach. I hope to see more of his work in the future.


All of the fighting in 'The Swordsman' is consistently crisp and tight. The camera work shows the action, and much of it is in the clear daylight. Seemingly in so many sword action dramas either the subjects are filmed at odd angles or too far away, or they are so poorly lit, it is hard to make out the sequences. This film also gets the distances from the camera to the fighters corrrect not so close we only see an eye or a tip of a blade, and not so far as to only see blurry shadows off in the distance. 


'The Swordsman' manages to avoid the bogging down of unneeded dialogue, in fact compared to the action there is not that much. This Korean film knows what the audience wants and delivers them in a sharp metal poking package! Musically the film flows along, and sounds great in headphones, even the clanking of the swords was realistic. As I stated before the cinematography is clear and easy to view. The costuming seemed a little bit plain, again though this is not a huge budget film, so excusable.


Overall, 'The Swordsman' is an action lover's heaven, epic battle sequences, big scope considering the budget and absolutely worthy of a rent or purchase! The film rates a 7 out of 10.


Social Media 
#TheSwordsman
Twitter @cineasiauk 
Facebook @cineasiauk 
Instagram @cineasiauk

IMDB page for 'The Swordsman': https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7035004/?ref_=tt_mv_close

Official U.K. Movie Trailer: 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kHjsQRt-TQ


Sunday, May 2, 2021

EXCLUSIVE! Director Russ Emanuel Interview © 2021 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod

 

Above: A proud director, Russ shares his Nutrisytem journey. Photo (C) 4-6-21 Russ All rights reserved.

 

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Today I unleash an interview 16 years in the making. I have known Russ Emanuel since 2004 when he released 'Girl With Gun' with Michelle Lee. I had a chance to meet him and I covered that film in Vengeance Magazine. Fast forward to 2016, and the Florida Supercon, Russ was here for his parallel universe film “Occupants”, I had the opportunity to be at the booth to assist them when they had a screening at the 2016 Florida Supercon, I had the opportunity to be a representative for Russ and producer Paul Hickman's action film “The Assassin's Apprentice”. Russ is one of the hardest working guys I know, a professional, and a man of honor and dignity. Russ is quite interesting to chat with and is a very personable gentleman, Russ is currently working on part 2 of “The Assassin's Apprentice” and “Staycation”. Russ chats in depth about independent film making and the art of raising money through Indiegogo and Kickstarter, and various people he has worked with. Live long and prosper while Dan's Movie Report beams down a new interview...ENERGIZE!


DMR: Chat about the concept for “Routine”, working with Paige, and the idea behind the comic book ending.


RE: During a mysterious pandemic, Cassie’s quarantine life has turned into a routine, day in and day out. Nothing new seems to happen, until she realizes she’s out of coffee. And she’s determined to get her cup of joe, even if she must face the horrors of the outside world. Because “she’d kill for a cup of coffee.”

This film is a test of our new 6K pixel resolution camera package which we happened to get right before the Covid-19 outbreak. We decided if we were going to do a test, we ought to create a meaningful film, one that fit in with the pandemic times.

Therefore, teaming up with my longtime film-making partner Emile Haris, along with our lead actress, newcomer Paige Laree Poucel (who was amazing to work with and she will reprise her role of “Cassie” in “Staycation”), we set about thinking about what life has become under quarantine – one of “routine”, but one where we thought artistically outside the box, and subverted expectations, even under the 5 minute length of this film.

With additional voice talents of Alan Courtright and Bill Victor Arucan, as well as working again my longtime composer Vasilis Milesis, employing a wonderful song “The Moon and Back” sung by Ana Maria Escobar, along with DC/Marvel Comics Artist Dave Beaty who literally draws the “third act” of the film, we hope the audience will enjoy this brief yet poignant story that reflects our present realities.

We drew the third act of the film because of the Covid-19 restrictions which took place in Los Angeles around the time we filmed (April 2020). We couldn’t film outside so we had to think outside the box. Hence, the employment of Dave Beaty our wonderful comic book artist.

 

Above Image: Poster for the 2020 short film "Routine" (C) 2020 Russem Productions, all rights reserved image not monetized
 


DMR: Always difficult to adjust to shoot with Covid restrictions. Chat about the 'Staycation” feature, obviously no spoilers, chat about working and filming during the pandemic, did you have to alter some scenes?


RE: “Staycation” is a midquel of sorts to 'Routine' where the three main characters of the latter film make a comeback in “Staycation” (Paige Laree Poucel as “Cassie”, Alan Courtight as the “News Anchor” and Bill Victor Arucan as “Rob Peterson”).

Staycation” expands on the storyline created in “Routine” but in a feature film version. We decided that because of the success of “Routine” at various film festivals including getting into one of the top genre festivals in the United States, FilmQuest, we ought to see if there was demand among potential investors for a feature version. And thankfully there was.

We raised enough money to film the B-storyline during November 2020 in Burbank, California with “Star Wars” actress Olivia d’Abo and “Star Trek” actor Sean Kenney, with further pickups in December 2020 with Tracee Lee Cocco also of “Star Trek” and Eileen Dietz of “The Exorcist”.

Filming during the pandemic was really tough because there were many Covid restrictions put into place which dramatically increased our budget and we unfortunately ran out of money after filming. Due to this, we decided to do an Indiegogo Campaign to raise finishing funds which we were too successful (at 201% raised) and now have an additional 50 actors to film. The film also has expanded by around 30 pages. We will be filming these actors in May and June 2021 and two notable name actors include Kelli Maroney of “Night of the Comet” and Laurene Landon of “Maniac Cop”.


I think many people outside the business do not even realize how much additional work and money has to go into proper covid protocol, I know many productions have to hire a dedicated Covid Complience Officer. Shifting gears, Russ you are extremely experienced in the art of raising money through Indiegogo and Kickstarter, as a writer, I am always interested to listen to some of the good and bad things from these sites. Do you feel more pressure, and does your sense of honor and quest for perfection often make you lose sight?


It was only out of necessity we used crowdfunding to raise monies. To be honest, it is really stressful and if I could have avoided it, I would have. But that said, a lot of good people including yourself became a part of our campaign and for that I am truly grateful.

 

Above: Poster for "Staycation"  scheduled for release in 2022 (C) 2021 Russem Productions, all rights reserved image not monetized.
 


DMR: Thank you for the insight to the Covid filming issues and intricacies of raising money. On a happier note, chat about some of the incredible work you have done, do you have one feature film and perhaps one short film you can say, wow, I am thrilled this happened. Perhaps share some highlights.


RE: By this point in my career, I have been fortunate to be able to have directed five feature films with “Staycation” being my sixth and also directed some amazing short films including “Girl With Gun” way back in 2004 which was instrumental in my being able to direct my first feature film “P.J.” (now called “Heaven’s Messenger”) and met my producing partner Howard Nash who produced all five of my feature films that are out.

I would say the feature film that stands out for me is “Occupants” which was my fourth feature film and is a sci-fi thriller starring Robert Picardo of “Star Trek: Voyager”. As for a short film of mine that stands out, it’s either “Girl With Gun” or “The Assassin’s Apprentice”. Both are action films and the latter stars some more “Star Trek” actors including Robert Picardo (again) and Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation”).

 

 

Above: Girl With Gun Poster 
Photo by Nick Smirnoff, Jorge Nuno - © 2006 Russem Productions

DMR: Russ I think you are a great action director, hope to see more of it. When you look back on your earlier work such as Girl With Gun, what advice would you give yourself now and perhaps discus some techniques you have learned throughout the years of making films.


RE: I would say learn to trust others under your crew to carry out their responsibilities. I was very tight gripped back in my 20s and I hopefully have mellowed out some since then.

 


 Above Photo:

The Assassin's Apprentice: Silbadores of the Canary Islands 

(C) 2021  Innomagic Productions all rights reserved, image not monetized



DMR: Very important to delegate and not hover over those you trust. Chat about working on short films vs features, obviously much more work goes into a feature, but a short film can lead to a feature, do you approach short films a bit different than features, if no perhaps tell me some of your techniques in pre-production etc...


RE: I look at short films as the beginnings of a feature film. So for instance, the first “The Assassin’s Apprentice” is Act 1, and the second “The Assassin’s Apprentice” which is currently in post-production is Act 2. I am discussing with my producer/writer of those films Paul Hickman about a potential Part 3 thereby completing the trilogy.

 

Above: Russ in red working on pick up shots for TAA2! April, 2021 Photo credit: Bill Victor Arucan - All rights reserved, image not monetized.
 


DMR: That is a great way of thinking about it, eventually if you do a third TAA film together length wise you have a feature. OK I have to say it, you know we are both HUGE 'Star Trek' fans, and you had the opportunity to cast a few Trek universe actors in your films, name a few you would love to cast and why, for me hands down is Nana Visitor! She is the real deal, complex and humble.


RE: It would be amazing to work with Nana Visitor. I enjoyed her acting on “Deep Space Nine”. Some other fine actors would be Sir Patrick Stewart, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan, Scott Bakula, to name a few.

 

Above: The side by side weight loss- 11-8-19 to 4-12-21! (C) 2019 and 2021 Russ, all rights reserved, image not monetized.
 


DMR: Bakula, good thinking! I know you have been knee deep in work, but someone I see has lost 50 pounds, spill your secrets, so hard in the pandemic!


RE: Thank you for asking. So because of Covid, the gyms had shut down and I was running a very tough Indiegogo Campaign for “Staycation” causing my weight to skyrocket to 200 pounds which for a 5 feet 9 inch guy, that put me in the overweight category. Once the campaign ended in late January 2021, I knew I would have time until we filmed in May/June 2021 to do something about it. So I decided to try NutriSystem for 2-3 months and I am very relieved to say it worked. I lost 50 pounds in 51 days. Basically I just stuck to the diet plan and through thick and thin, I persisted, persevered and prevailed. I am very grateful at my age of 43 I was able to accomplish this.


DMR: Russ, think of it as a lifestyle change not a diet! Chat about TAA2 are you still on track for a 2022 release, I am sure you are going to want to wait until live film fests open again.


RE: Yes “The Assassin’s Apprentice 2” is very much on track for a 2022 release. We are doing final pickups on April 25, ADR sessions on May 15 and are knee deep in the scoring, sound design, and visual effects part of the post-production process.

Above: Russ on location during pick up shoots for TAA2 April - 2021. Photo Credit Eric D. Brown. All rights reserved, image not monetized.
 


DMR: Wrapping up, advice you young directors, if you could go back to your 18 yr old self and impart words of wisdom, what would they be?


RE: Just stick to your guns and never veer from your goals.


DMR: Thank you Russ for this insightful, illuminating, and honest interview. We will do a Jen Psaki when The Assassin's Apprentice is ready for viewing!


For further information on Russ and all of his endeavors point your browsers to:


http://russem.com/

 

https://vimeo.com/173995490


Above Link: Russ 2021 Director Reel

For "The Assassin's Apprentice" check out the official Facebook Page @ https://www.facebook.com/taamovie


IMDB page for Russ: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1479322/