FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Phil Sweetland; 615 891 4004 (ofc.)
Sept. 29, 2010, Nashville email@example.com
Winter Star Productions: 818-360-1107
Festival Favorite About a Rock Musician
Gets read for October 2010 Theatrical Release
Movie Star-Musician, a Growing Hyphenate
By Phil Sweetland
(Music contributor to The New York Times & other outlets)
NASHVILLE – In Derrick Warfel’s frightening but uplifting Midnight Reckoning (www.MidnightReckoning.com), daytime drama star Bruce Michael Hall makes a powerhouse feature debut as an L.A. musician with a checkered past whose own Judgment Night takes place on a fateful trip to Vegas.
When his car breaks down in the desert, Joe Manning (Hall) meets an RV full of three mysterious characters that Steven King would love, and through 86 edge-of-the-seat minutes, they help Joe confront his past and face his future in a shocking, faith-based ending.
Midnight Reckoning, which has already been shown at Cannes and snagged two Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film prizes at other festivals, opens in L.A. Oct. 1; Salt Lake City Oct. 8, and throughout Texas and other states Oct. 15.
“I read the script and was real interested in it,” says Hall, whose TV career included nearly 500 episodes as Reese in Passions. “Derrick also saw the chemistry between me and Tony right away.”
Tony is 6-foot-6, 350-pound Tony Longo, a longtime Hollywood favorite who plays an apocalyptic prophet and mentor called Atlas. Persia White, the glamorous star of TV’s Girlfriends, is Atlas’s mysterious co-pilot while Aussie Star Grant Bowler (Connor Owens, "Ugly Betty") and former Hawaii Five-O detective Al Harrington, appear and disappear in the desert and in Joe’s visions.
Warfel has the unique combination of degrees from Princeton, USC Film School, and the Dallas Theological Seminary, and is already co-producing another picture with Ken Wales, who was Producer of Amazing Grace, the hit 2006 faith-based Biopic.
Derrick made Midnight Reckoning for his own Winter Star Productions, and is, in Hall’s words, “really an actor’s director. And Persia White grew up singing Gospel music in church, and she worked in TV for many years, just like me.” Persia White is also a musician in her own right with a recent album.
Hall was ideal casting as Joe, since Bruce is an aspiring country musician himself between acting jobs. Bruce and twin brother Seth Hall are members of Borderline, a country band which is building a large following in his native Missouri.
“Seth and I have sung together since we were kids,” says Bruce, who’s already performed at Nashville’s famed Wildhorse Saloon. “Our voices have that magical family blend."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Paul PR International
Sept. 21, 2010
WINTER STAR PRODUCTIONS ANNOUNCES GRAPHIC NOVEL ALONG WITH ITS MOVIE
Could Graphic Novelization of Movies be a Trend of the Future?
Following the theatrical release of its film "Midnight Reckoning" in Los Angeles and 20 other cities in early October Winter Star Productions will be simultaneously bringing to market the graphic novel based on the movie along with the movie's DVD debut on October 19, it was made known today by writer-director Derrick Warfel. For two years Warfel mulled over the possibility of turning his original screenplay/feature film into a graphic novel to reach a new audience and broaden the film's appeal because he felt it fit into that dark, edgy genre of popular graphic novels like "Sin City", "Walking Dead", and "Whiteout."
However, it was not until the imminent distribution of his movie theatrically and on DVD that he decided to bite the bullet. "People told me that creating a graphic novel can take six months, and we only had 60 days. But I felt so strongly that the movie storyline lent itself to the mood and style of a graphic novel that I had to do it."
Finding the right illustrator was the sticking point. Warfel went through referrals from friends in the animation and comic industries, but no one with the necessary talent could work within the time frame and budget that he had. He even considered overseas outsourcing to save costs, but he couldn't find the quality or control. Finally, an ad on Craigslist turned up an emerging comic superstar with a keen eye for conceptual graphics, Alec Joler. Joler, a director and cinematographer in his own right, was first spotted by Videomaker Magazine for its Young Filmmaker Award while he was still in high school.
Since then Joler has gone on not only to make many more award winning short films, but also to storyboard 35MM feature films, illustrate book covers, illustrate comic book covers, and even do background screen illustrations for the Hanna Montana/Jonas Bros. Music Tour. But, he has yet to pen a full length graphic novel and he has said that he wants the chance to show off "his stuff." An early preview page of the comic on www.MidnightReckoning shows the "stuff" he's got.
Assisting in the process is Vice President of Winter Star Entertainment, Paul Moran, who acts as an art director in helping keep the project on schedule and helping Joler translate Warfel's novel script into the visual adaptation. "We didn't just want a graphic novel that would merely parrot the movie, we wanted an original work that had its own voice." Warfel also commented that he did not want the characters to look exactly like the movie but to have their own distinctives, as if the comic were a remake of the film but in a different medium.
This points to a larger movement in filmmaking known as transmedia, where stories no longer stay in one media anymore but are often remade into many others. The movie itself is just one reincarnation of the story along with novels, action figures, music CD's, t-shirts, and now graphic novels. However converting movies into graphic novels is a very new trend. A Google search on "movies into graphic novels" turns up a blank, and instead only gives listings of graphic novels into movies.
Since 1989 starting with the "Batman" movie series over 120 comic books have been turned into feature length movies, compared with only about 30 such films from 1900-1985. Yet, this is not a surprising development since Box Office Mojo states that the average movie based on a comic/graphic novel yields $155 million in worldwide box office sales.
Studios have long known that the lion's share of their box office comes from teens and singles in their twenties who see films opening weekend, who see them multiple times, and who tend to gravitate towards films from comics and graphic novels. Now the reverse questions are: how many movies will be turned into graphic novels; and, will these become comic book hits? It gives a new meaning to the old phrase "See ya in the funny papers."
Midnight Reckoning - New Distribution Strategy
FOR IMMED. RELEASE Paul Moran,
Sept. 13, 2010 Paul's PR International
NEW BARGAIN BASEMENT DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY
WINS BOFFO B.O. FOR “MIDNIGHT RECKONING”
Indie Filmmaker's Marketing Plan, "Giving it Away"
Packs 'em in in St. Joe and 25 Other Cities it is Expected
This past Friday night in St. Joseph, Missouri, as the sold out crowds to the national premiere of “Midnight Reckoning” at the Plaza 8 theaters saw the white stretch Hummer limo drop off the film’s golden haired star and local hero, Bruce Michael Hall, they may have been witnessing a new era in movie distribution history. The reason?
This supernatural thriller kicked off its domestic theatrical campaign, not through a major studio or even an independent distributor, but through a grassroots network of business associates and friends of Los Angeles based independent filmmaker Derrick Warfel of Winter Star Productions.
Warfel, faced with prohibitively high theatrical distribution costs or no theatrical distribution at all, opted for a third way: giving away only the theatrical rights to locally based associates of his throughout the country to induce them to take the risk to rent or book a theater and reap the profits or the losses on their own.
In answer to why Warfel would “give away” the theatrical rights for a token fee to the lead actor, Bruce Hall and his wife Christy in St. Joseph, to a filmmaker friend in Salt Lake City, to a fellow alumnus in Dallas, to a pastor in Bakersfield, and to an off Broadway impresario in Manchester, CT, Warfel said, “Even the major studios rarely break even on theatrical releases.
But theatrical releases are needed for a movie to be taken seriously by both the press and the public and to get the attention necessary to set the stage for DVD sales, foreign sales, and other downline revenue. We wanted to give a financial incentive to our associates to distribute the film theatrically for us and then make our money back on DVD later.”
Warfel caught his biggest break when a fellow graduate school alumnus, head of a non-profit international students organization, got a theater chain to make an in kind donation not only to screen the film in one theater but in 23 theaters located in cities where buying tickets to support a charity might be a popular cause.
The ultimate goal for Winter Star Entertainment (distribution arm of Winter Star Productions) is to develop demand for the DVD release on Oct. 19th of “Midnight Reckoning” on its website www.MidnightReckoning.com where sales of even a modest 50,000 DVDs would cover its costs and net the company a tidy profit.
They anticipate that the spiritual, apocalyptic thriller might do well as an alternative for the faith-based market during the normal melee of “Saw” type slasher films during the Halloween season. Winter Star Entertainment materials describes “Midnight Reckoning” as a Twilight Zonish type thriller where a rock musician on the run (Bruce Michael Hall, “Passions”, “One Life to Live”) hitches a ride with an eccentric prophet type (Tony Longo, “Mulholland Drive”, “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days”) and his mysterious associate (Persia White, “Girlfriends”) and is told by the seer that he only has one night left to live; if he can’t justify what he’s done with his life he’ll be dead by dawn.
“Because of the internet, the whole movie industry is changing like it did for the music industry ten years ago where major record labels and stores vanished. Artists are learning how to cut out the high commission middle men and directly reach their consumer base,” said Paul Moran, V.P. of Marketing at Winter Star Entertainment.
Moran also mentioned that Winter Star will provide the locals distributing the film with public relations support to local media and very limited and targeted advertising buys out of L.A., but that the local associates will have to use their social network and email lists, and word of mouth to drive people to the theaters as Bruce and Christy Hall so successfully did in St. Joseph.
They expect to release the film in the Los Angeles and Salt Lake City areas on October 1-7, in Dallas and other Texas cites Oct. 8-14, and the remaining cities Oct. 15-21, with the staggered release schedule allowing for guest appearances at key screenings by writer-director-producer Warfel, who is also a Co-Producer on a different upcoming film with Ken Wales (Producer “Amazing Grace”).
Midnight Reckoning" Nat. Premiere Sept. 10
FOR IMMED. RELEASE Paul Moran,
August 16, 2010 Paul's PR International
SUPERNATURAL THRILLER "MIDNIGHT RECKONING"
HAS NATIONAL PREMIERE IN LEAD ACTOR'S HOME TOWN
Apocalyptic Road Pic Pairing ‘Girlfriends’ Star Persia White & Soap Heartthrob Bruce Michael Hall
opens first in Hall's own St. Joseph before its gala opening in L.A.
ST. JOSEPH, MO.; This September 10th “Midnight Reckoning,” first-time writer-director Derrick Warfel’s “Twilight Zone”-like feature about a budding rock star’s horrific, desert run-in with a rogue prophet and his shadowy female sidekick, will follow the beat of a different drummer like many independent movies are doing these days…breaking all the distribution rules.
"The old system doesn't work." said Warfel of Winter Star Productions based in L.A., and Co-Producer on a different upcoming project with Ken Wales (Producer of "Amazing Grace"). "You're got to try new release strategies. Bruce plays a down-on-his-luck rock singer in the film, and in real life he sings lead in a successful country western rock band, Borderline. It made sense to open to a friendly target audience with Bruce's music fans before going wider. "Napoleon Dynamite' did that by its initial release on college campus towns."
The triple award wining Sci-Fi/Horror film starring CW's “Girlfriends” lead Persia White as the driven disciple, Tony Longo (Hollywood Henchman, “The Cooler,” “Mulholland Dr.”) as her doomsday preacher, and Hall as a stranded musician hitching a late-night ride from the eccentric couple, will unspool at St. Joseph, Missouri's own Plaza 8 on Friday Sept. 10 before having a wider platform release Oct. 1 in Los Angeles, Dallas, Salt Lake City, and other cities during the PreHalloween scary movie release feeding frenzy at theaters nationwide.
The 86-minute mind-bender and morality tale about a generation adrift also boasts Australian TV star Grant Bowler (“Ugly Betty", "Lost") as a fellow hitcher with a plot to con the soothsayer and also features “Hawaii Five-O” veteran Al Harrington (“DreamKeeper”) as a mysterious wilderness dweller. The film chronicles the hitcher’s desperate efforts to escape his impending judgment and the paranormal grip of the night or end up, as predicted, "Dead by dawn."
“We’re taking the audience on an unnerving ride to that same Rod Serling territory oft frequented by David Lynch, "Lost", "X-files", and Christopher Nolan in "Memento" and "Inception,’” said Warfel, both a graduate of U.S.C film school (MFA) and Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM). "Like Nolan, I'm interested in making a thinking person's thriller, and nothing makes you think like death and the spiritual implications it brings." The movie was known during its film festival run as "The Fall of Night" after opening at the Montreal World Film Festival.
For more information and interviews, visit www.MidnightReckoning.com/Press and /blog.
Sci-Fi & Horror Awards
Dugan & Story Public Relations
May 1, 2008 Winter Star Prods., firstname.lastname@example.org
(aka "Midnight Reckoning")
CANNES MARKET ENTRY ‘THE FALL OF NIGHT’ CROWNED BEST
SCI-FI/HORROR AT LONDON INDIE & BARE BONES FILM FESTS
Dark Tale Pits ‘Girlfriends’ Star Persia White, Hollywood Henchman Tony Longo
Against “One Life to Live” Soap Star Bruce Michael Hall in Apocalyptic Road Pic
CANNES, France -- “The Fall of Night,” first-time feature director and USC grad
Derrick Warfel’s “Twilight Zone”-like offering about a tarnished rock star’s horrific, desert run-in
with a rogue prophet and his mysterious female sidekick, collected two awards in as many weeks
last month when it was named Best Sci-Fi/Horror Film at the London Independent Film Festival
(Apr. 14-19) and Best Sci-Fantasy/Horror Feature at the Bare Bones International Film Festival
(Apr. 17-27) in Muskogee, Okla., it was announced today by Warfel’s Winter Star Prods.
Branded “a taut, edge-of-your-seat nail-biter” by Bare Bones director Oscar Ray, the
time-twisting 86-min. drama/thriller -- starring CW’s “Girlfriends” lead Persia White as the driven disciple, Tony Longo (“The Cooler”) as her doomsday preacher and Bruce Michael Hall (“One Life
to Live”) as a musician on the lam who hitches a late-night ride from the calculating couple -- will screen twice here during the Cannes Film Market (May 14-25): Mon. May 19 at Gray 4 at 11:30 a.m. and Thu. May 22 at Palais D at 3:30 p.m.
Seizing headlines in Oklahoma’s daily Tulsa World, which touted its “noted cast” and “suspenseful storyline,” “The Fall of Night” logged its U.S. premiere at Bare Bones, following its world premiere at last fall’s Montreal World Film Festival. Film next competes in the Central Florida Film Festival (Aug. 28-31).
Bare Bones-winning picture -- one of 149 overall entries made for the fest’s under-$1 mil budget requirement -- was nominated for Best Ensemble for the cast rounded out by Australian TV personality Grant Bowler, “Hawaii Five-O” veteran Al Harrington, and indie comers Sera Bastian and Burke Roberts.
Oklahoma stand also saw Warfel -- mentor of the speed filmmaking 168 Film Project in Burbank, CA -- teach his “How to Make a Short Film in a Short Time on a Short Budget” seminar (based on his upcoming book) and participate in the fest-wrapping “Indie Producers Panel of Speakers.”
The USC film school and Dallas Theological Seminary grad explained he wanted to make “Fall” a “visceral yet thinking person’s thriller, in the vein of Rod Serling’s great TV series.”
For more info, visit fallofnight.com, londonindependent.org or barebonesfilmfestivals.org.
Films by Voight & Warfel Premiere at Montreal
DUGAN & STORY PUBLIC RELATIONS: Sat. Aug. 25, 2007 ("Midnight Reckoning" aka "The Fall of Night")
MONTREAL’S PREMIERES ENLIST VOIGHT & FIRST-TIME FILMMAKER WARFEL MONTREAL -- The 31st Montreal World Film Festival kicked off its opening weekend here today with a wide-ranging slate of over 400 films running the gamut of big-budget, soon-to-bereleased fare like Jon Voight starrer “September Dawn” recounting the 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre in Utah, to Winter Star Prods.’ smaller-budgeted apocalyptic thriller “The Fall of Night”
by writer-director Derrick Warfel and starring CW network’s “Girlfriends” lead Persia White.
Slowhand Releasing’s historical “September Dawn,” entered in the main World Competition section, unspools three times during the Aug. 23-Sep. 3 festival, including yesterday’s 7 p.m. screening in the Theatre Maisonneuve attended by Voight. The evening engagement capped a special afternoon WFF lifetime tribute to the Oscar-winning, four-time nominated actor -- after which the celebrant mingled with the WFF’s crop of new filmmakers, including USC grad Warfel.
Warfel’s fictional film about a rock star wannabe knocking heads with a rogue prophet and his shadowy sidekick (White), meanwhile, makes its world bow today at 8:20 p.m. in the city’s Cinema Quartier Latin, and screens twice more there, on Sun. Aug. 26 at 9:00 a.m. and Mon. Aug. 27 at 10:00 p.m. It is one of 23 debut features vying for Zenith awards in the fest’s First Films section.
The two films -- both indies and enjoying Canadian and world premieres, respectively, at this year’s edition -- are a melding of WFF director Serge Losique’s and head programmer Danièle Cauchard’s oft-repeated objective of having debutant filmmakers mix, and even compete, with more established film professionals.
“We noticed that a lot of first feature films are made every year and even more now because of the new technology that allows people with a smaller budget to be able go forward with a first project,” Cauchard told the Canadian Broadcasting Company last year. “When we started we had mostly 35mm (film) prints,” she said.
“We used to receive less submissions
because it was expensive.”
What matters nowadays, Losique told the CBC back then, is that more filmmakers dedicate themselves to making good intelligent films.
For more information on “The Fall of Night” and the coming together of veterans and
new discoveries at the WFF, visit www.fallofnight.com or www.ffm-montreal.org.
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