Folsom Hosts the "End of Time"

Ben Barber  |  2015-11-16


John Wagner, local film producer, writer, and director, saw the drought-ridden Folsom Lake and decided to turn a negative to a positive. With Folsom Lake experiencing record lows, the once familiar topography of recreational swimmers and boaters is now replaced with an alien landscape that fits the dramatic nature of “Finis Temporis.” “Finis Temporis,” which means “End of Time,” is a futuristic drama starring Craig Deluz and Mark Nemmers. It is being produced by Wagner Media, a local Sacramento Independent Film Production company.

In October, a contingent of 12 actors and crew arrived to film one of the key scenes at the Granite Bay Park portion of Folsom Lake. What makes this shoot unique is the dry lakebed that creates a motif that is visually provocative, representing a world that is destined for extinction. The screenplay for “Finis” was written by John Kenneth Wagner, who is also directing the film from behind the camera. The cast includes several well-known Sacramento actors, including Janine Romney, Dan Beard, Voress Franklin, Cynthia Gatlin, Greg Jones, and Courtney Conklin.

Many of the actors and crew are volunteering their time. Included in the veteran crew are a handful of students eager to learn and get some hands-on experience. “Finis Temporis” hopes to have everything in the can by the end of the year for a summer 2016 limited local release.


PCS WinnerWin, Lose or Draw

Ben Barber  |  2015-11-06

Director Donna Preston with Producer and husband Scott.

For the past 16 years, Access Sacramento has sponsored “A Place Called Sacramento” (PCS) Film Festival. Access Sacramento is a non-profit organization that provides media resources to the Sacramento community. The PCS challenges local scriptwriters to write 10-minute scripts about the people, places, and events that make our community such a unique place to live. Every year 10 scripts are chosen to be produced for the festival.

After working as script supervisor on the TV pilot “RELLIK,” Orangevale’s Donna Preston was anxious to keep the production ball rolling. “I wanted to use the PCS Festival as an opportunity to showcase the amazing talent and professionalism of the local Sacramento film community,” explained Preston. Her script, “Win Lose or Draw,” was one of the 10 scripts chosen. It follows the path of Jimmy Draw, played by Eric Olsson, and Lisa, played by Courtney Conklin. The couple’s relationship is strained when the unexpected death of Jimmy’s father offers a life-changing opportunity. Sarab, played by Michael Ray Clark, a single father mourning the death of his wife, is caught up in the event. Lisa is forced to make some tough decisions as Jimmy’s behavior escalates beyond appropriate levels. “The festival inspired me to write a compelling story with relatable situations and characters,” continued Preston.

Actress Courtney Conklin was no stranger to the PCS, acting in a small supporting role in 2013 for the PCS short film “The Lottery Ticket.” Conklin and Preston became fast friends while working on the “RELLIK” pilot. “The Lottery Ticket” was written by local writer and producer Brian Jagger who was asked by Preston to direct the film. Jagger played a major role in making “RELLIK a reality for local filmmakers and was excited to show what he could do in his short film directorial debut.

After months of planning, production, and post production, the 10 teams of filmmakers gathered at the Crest Theatre, which plays host to the world premiere event each year. After all the films were shown, the audience voted for their favorite; this year’s vote was sponsored by Sacramento Casting. Sacramento Casting is the premier resource in town for connecting actors with filmmakers. They provided the technology for the audience to be able to vote via text message, where as in the past, votes had to be tallied manually from handwritten ballots.

After nervous anticipation it was announced that “Win, Lose or Draw” was the audience favorite. “Sacramento is growing into a fantastic film community and we were lucky to have some of the best cast and crew in the community as a part of this project,” said Jagger. It wasn’t the only vote for the night; the 10 writers who had the winning scripts had the opportunity to vote for their favorite film. “Focused,” by Katherine DaSilva, tied with the PCS’s first documentary entry called “Death of Del Paso,” by Phil D’Asaro.

“Win, Lose or Draw” is now being entered into the Seattle International Film Festival where it hopes to be accepted and presented for future audiences. “Win, Lose or Draw” will be available for viewing on YouTube, courtesy of Access Sacramento. For more information on the PCS and “Win, Lose or Draw,” visit the public pages on Facebook.

Source: AccessSacramento.org


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Rellik - Behind the Scenes!

Ben Barber  |  2015-10-01

Cast and Crew Picture from the Pilot Production Rellik

Thousands of man hours were put into the development of the TV Pilot Rellik.  Take a look at some of the behind the scenes pictures taken by cast and crew.  Remember to like and share your favorites.


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Tim Russ to Direct Local Film

Ben Barber  |  2015-09-15

The project is called “RELLIK” (Killer in reverse), a revolutionary new crime thriller that hopes to grow into a regularly produced series here in Sacramento. Executive Producer (EP) and spokesperson for the project, Craig DeLuz, is optimistic about the film’s success. He explains how creator and EP Jason F. Knittle and writers and EPs Brian Jagger and Gwenn Conklin came together.

“Jason is the original creator, the mastermind. Brian started the first segment of the series; both Gwen and I were approached to play roles in the project. The concept sounded very interesting and we decided to come together and flush the script out for the pilot,” De Luz said. The team is a collaboration of producers from various networks in town: the Northern California Film Coalition (NCFC) and the Capital Film Arts Alliance (CFAA). Both promoting filmmaking are located in Northern California. The team reached out to Tim Russ, best known for his role as “Tuvok” on all seven seasons of Star Trek Voyager, to direct the pilot.

“It’s an exciting, edgy, dark crime thriller with fascinating characters and a lot of twists and turns. The writing team is all from the Sacramento area, and they did a great job with the script. I’m thrilled to be bringing it to life,” said Director Tim Russ. Other local talent includes famed stuntman and stunt coordinator Gary Davis (X-Men: Days of Future Past; The Amazing Spiderman, 1 & 2) will serve as Stunt Coordinator. Toni Staniewicz (I Almost Got Away With It; Wives With Knives) will be the casting director and is also a producer on the project.

“Our goal ultimately is to actually show that there is a capacity within the filmmaking community of Northern California to create film projects,” DeLuz said when asked about the scope of the project. “They want to see more SAG projects, more TV shows… the locations Sacramento has to offer, and the talent on and off the screen,” DeLuz continued. SAG, the Screen Actors Guild, is the governing actors union. One way to earn your SAG union eligibility is to work on a SAG production. “SAG projects have specific standards in terms of number of hours worked and conditions; there is a certain level of quality that needs to be there for a project to work. It means a big deal to those in the community and investors. It expands the opportunity for those in the community to be in a professional production,” DeLuz said. The project has hopes of being picked up by a major network or streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu. When asked what would make the project a success, DeLuz responded,,” “To put out a quality product, something that captures and keeps viewers’ attention. To see what sort of following we can get as we finish the project. The more buzz, the more investors, the better chance of distribution picking up the project.” Social media has opened the doors for audiences to directly support projects as they grow, giving a voice to those who in the past had to spend their dollars at the theater to express interest. Now, projects such as RELLIK can gain a voice and even financial support with tools such as Indy Go Go (IGG), a crowd fundraising website. “The IGG campaign is for supporting the project. A $5 contribution is as important to the project as a $100 contribution. What is important is the number of people. There are opportunities for equity investors outside of the IGG campaign, but one of the most important things people can do is spread the word—like the Facebook page, like the Youtube channel, show there is interest and that there is support for the film in Northern California,” said DeLuz. By supporting local film, we can bring national economic dollars to our small film community and start creating a job infrastructure that can continue to create jobs for years to come. The best way that an audience can support the cause is by liking Facebook pages and subscribing to Youtube channels. Share links or tweet the pages on your social networks; a little click can go a long way


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