Memorial Weekend – CDI Military Themed Films
Hazelnut coffee cheers-
Welcome this morning to our new readers from Italy, Finland and Pakistan! I want to start by wishing a Happy Memorial Day Weekend to all our veterans out there. At CDI we’ve examined the veteran experience in several of our films. My hope is that you would watch these films. I think I’ll write a little on each of them.
- WICKED SPRING is a Civil War era film that without any political overtones examines the lives of the common soldiers on both sides. This film was a massive undertaking and I’m very proud of the work we put into this story. I’m considering doing a making of book filled with extras celebrating this film. I found a link that had a lot of great information some of which I had even forgotten. You can watch it for free with adds on Encourage TV (Youtube) and several other platforms. It is a deep character study that will move your heart to think about what war does to family’s on both sides. Read more here- https://alchetron.com/Wicked-Spring
- FROM VENUS and AN ORDINARY KILLER are two films from the CDI library that need a full reboot. The first is a comedic romp about two ex-military buddies trying to rescue a young man pulled into a SciFi cult. On the other far end of the spectrum is a based on a true story of a serial killer caught 27 years after the crime. The lead detective is an ex-Vietnam veteran trying to keep his temper in check as his persistence and patience are tested. DVD’s are about from the original release but both of these will eventually undergo an HD upgrade and new release. COMING SOON
- Dean Teaster’s Ghost Town – This Smoky Mountain Western takes place after the Civil War and features many themes and topics concerning veterans. Some of my favorite interactions is between a ex-Union Captain and an ex-Southern General. We get full rights back on this film in 2024 and will be preparing a new release.
- The 3rd film in THE QUEST TRILOGY – THE CHRIST SLAYER – CDI’s biblical adventure series focuses on Roman soldier Longinus who put the spear to the side of Jesus on the cross. Many great themes present themselves even though this examines soldiers from several thousand years ago. It is still best to watch the three films in order. I had someone this week reach out about how much they loved FORTY NIGHTS (Part 1) and part 2 is CHASING THE STAR giving a unique take on the three wise men.
- WILD FAITH is one of CDI’s most popular and focuses on the life of an ex-Civil War soldier with his own nightmares. He has made a promise to a black soldier who saved his life but that promise would challenge the norms of the time. It can be seen on many platforms like NBC’s Peacock TV and Encourage TV where it has recently passed 7 million views. With tens of millions of views this movie has a planned spin off TV show in the works. It is called HASTINGS and will follow the further adventures of the Murphy family.
- MBF: MAN’S BEST FRIEND – Also on the same platforms as Wild Faith above is a more current film whose story focuses on a wounded Marine veteran just trying to get by in life while working at an animal shelter. This story about the plight of veterans and dogs is highlighted in this powerful film that will pull on your heart strings. As an actor, I get many people reaching out asking about the future of the lead character ‘Paul’ and if a sequel will ever be seen. Maybe one day is my response. This is a much watch film but bring your tissue.
- ASHES OF EDEN – While the focus is not directly military themed I do play an ex-military soldier who unable to find suitable work has fallen into being a drug dealer. I really loved this role and character because of how complex he is. This film is a good watch that has a wonderful lesson attached.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – This film is strongly military themed as it is based on true events. These events unfold at one of the many German PW camps spread across the midwest during WW2. It is just finishing up a theatrical run that started on Dec 9th. It will be coming out on home video this holiday season my best guess is Oct/Nov but I will let everyone know once I get word. It is a truly inspiring story that people can lean into as an example of humanity at its best. A much needed film in this day and age.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – A beautiful documentary film about the art of Catch-Can grappling presented by the leading historians and teachers of the art. The interviews are led by Army veteran Randy Couture. It showcases some interesting history that includes ole Abe Lincoln and West Point. This was produced in association with the Red, White and Blue Project Inc. a nonprofit for military awareness and assistance.
- Another great documentary done by the non-profit above is OUTSIDE THE WIRE: The Forgotten Children of Afghanistan. This follows donations from churches in mid America to the orphanages and schools high in the mountains of Afghanistan. This is achieved only with the help of the military in a great untold humanitarian mission by US led Coalition forces.
It is good to highlight these stories which give glimpses into the lives of military individuals and families. Even our next CDI film Harsens Island Revenge shooting this year will have a strong military presence. Thank a veteran for their service and watch a few of the stories above. I’m going to wrap things up here and eat a good breakfast before doing some more clean up around the property. For those fans of Austin TwoFeathers, best known perhaps as ‘Buddy’ in MBF – he’ll be joining us on the next CDI film. Only a few most castings to go and we’ll be getting a schedule to approve soon from the AD department. That will allow us to start giving exact dates to our cast so please have patience as that is coming very soon. Have a great relaxing weekend and I’ll talk with you again next week.
‘SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA,’ Trailer and Feature Updates, BEST YEARS GONE, BESTSELLER and more…Happy April and I’m NOT Fooling!
HELLO APRIL. I want to welcome all the new readers from Bulgaria, New Zealand, UK and Pakistan. I’m sipping on some hazelnut coffee. I wonder what the morning drink is for all of you out there? I know I LOVED the South Indian coffee in Otty, India when filming there. Magnifico- DING! Was the main Philippine coffee I drank over there. It is that morning juice that gets everything going. We are still acclimating the dogs together so we have alternating outdoor potty and feeding in the morning. We had a dust of snow here and there but Spring is trying to hit. I did get some yard clean up done this week including sinking a new post for the guide rope that spans across the bridge. I’ve been wanting to do a new patio and a privacy fence but the wood costs have me paused. I’m watching Premiere League soccer as I’m typing. I have my next indoor soccer match Tuesday as we prepare for outdoor soccer. I also think the Sunday flea markets start next week. I love seeking props and wardrobe. Yesterday I found a great 70’s leather vest that just might make it into HOT ROD LOVE.
HOT ROD LOVE! Have you heard of it? It is the next CDI project we’ve pulling together. It is a great 70’s story that examines several relationships. It has many things to say but does so in a few comedic way. During all these turbulent times of Covid, war and such CDI has managed to keep telling their stories. It is like the band on the Titanic or the lone cello player in the streets of war torn Ukraine. ART gives hopes and peace in a trying situation. Where so many things that are normal were interrupted by the chaos of Covid, we were blessed enough to be able to film BEST YEARS GONE, now preparing for a July 5th home video kick off. It was previously June but they pushed it by a month which was just fine. I want to really hit some fun PR over the post-July 4th event – chill and watch BEST YEARS GONE. DVD and digital purchase is first followed by TV/broadcast and digital rental in Sept.
Before that film hits we’re really enjoying the push that the dark thriller BESTSELLER is getting. It releases on DVD and digital purchase on May 31st and TV/Broadcast and digital rental in Sept. This film highly deserves the push it is now getting and I think audiences worldwide will really enjoy it. We are releasing new stills and updates weekly on our Facebook Page #BESTSELLERMOVIE
A few festivals are being explored whereas BIGFOOT, UFOS and JESUS might just attend. SMOKE & MIRRORS? Also BEST YEARS GONE is up for ‘Best Comedy’ at the BareBones International Film & Music Festival. Festivals, aside from the major 4-5 don’t do anything major for buyers/licensors but they are a good way for a creative team to take a few beats and enjoy the moment together. I always have something in motion so even when we get good news on one endeavor I often move right to helping an underperforming endeavor. I have to stop and appreciate the moments of victory. I feel that I have some of the best, most creative people working with me at CDI. I would not trade the experience nor the final product, proud of both. My point was that we’re starting to engage in a few more fest/events for the fun of gathering to celebrate the hard work. Why do my producers only want to go to Island festivals in the tropics? This Friday we’ll be going to my home town’s film festival. We usually go support the fest by attending their kick off mixer. I only see some friends like international DJ, John Beltran at this event. I’ve known John since middle school. Look him up. He’s got some great music.
I’ve had several people ask if BEST YEARS GONE was playing the fest, it is not. A handful of years ago we closed the festival with a sold out 600 watching ASHES OF EDEN, same director as BEST YEARS GONE, Shane Hagedorn. But they want filmmakers to host a Michigan premiere at the festival but we already did in Owosso plus had theatrical play with NCG and Celebration Cinemas, so they disqualified us for. Honestly, I love for people to see the films, but it’s a heck of a lot easier when you aren’t concerned with a screening. My hardest decisions for that event will be what to sip wine or beer?
FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH – This amazing doc on the history of grappling has been signed to Deskpop Entertainment for a worldwide release. We’re now prepping to start moving materials over to them. We’re hard at work on our premiere that we want to do in Las Vegas. We are making some progress and we’ll have more to report on that very soon.
SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA – So this exciting film should have a first cut coming over this week. Also we’re finalizing the first teaser trailer. It should go to music (Dennis Therrian) mid to end of the week. We’re all excited to see it come to life. I did get to see a few rough assembled scenes and it left me with a wide smile. I’m so proud of our artists. Like I said earlier, times have been trying and we managed to film this movie in Nov of last year still facing many issues in the world. So we’ll have work to pare down and audiences will get their first look. We’ve still be releasing stills so if you are following our Facebook page you will get those stills and the upcoming trailer. BREAKING NEWS: Yes the first rough cut for Anthony (Tony) Hornus to review will be done end of this week. From there the trimming, tightening and polishing of the story. We also hope to bring you a vignette of the VFX work being done. We also have a VFX insert of this boy who plays into our story via one of the German PWs. We’ve cast that individuals and these added pieces will be shot one day working with our VFX folks.
Other Updates –
KNIGHT CHILLS – CDI’s first feature film is getting some resurrection of sorts. A deal is almost done on a specialty “Blu Ray” deal. We’re also looking to bring the film into HD while reconfirming it for TV now days, or not on conforming. I need to have a few discussions. Lastly, the video game development is under way. It will first release as a phone app game and after to game systems and virtual. But I have seen images of the film’s iconic Sir Kallio, the revenge bringing knight, Patron Demi-god of nerds. I also have a great idea for a role playing game version but I’m getting ahead of myself.
We have many things in development from new films to older films getting a second blast into the market. Streaming hardly existed for some of them and so we’ll be working hard to get your old, current and new favorite CDI films to you. I’m going to post a few more stills so refill your coffee cup and join a few of these pages to follow along. My mind is also drifting to eggs and bacon so I will have to attend to that. I hope you all have a great week ahead and don’t forget to be kind. A simple gift you can give that can be passed on. Happy Sunday to you all!
Exciting Developments – ‘Off to the Races’ Music Video – ‘Smoke & Mirrors’ & ‘Best Years Gone’ premieres, ‘Silent Night in Algona’…
I’m sitting here sipping the hazelnut coffee on this peaceful Michigan morning. I want to welcome the new readers from Italy, India, Pakistan and more. It is so nice to have an international circle of artists here. The last few weeks have been extremely productive and busy. This could not be more true of the film endeavors we’re working so hard on. Past, present and future all moving forward together. Outside of the film world we’ve been working in the yard with the chickens and the veggies and herbs. This past week I harvested the hops and we’ve been enjoying eggplant and other veggies. Today I plan on grilling up a few venison steaks after a late morning run to the flea market. I think the best way to try and organize the updates are with a bullet point list.
- Oct 12th Nationally this book above will release. I have a story in it about our boy ‘Luke’ who passed a few years ago. I love contributing to these books and if you need a good Christmas gift these books make a fine one to give. Pre-Order here http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/the-dog-who-came-to-christmas/401231
- The short film SMOKE & MIRRORS that will condensed from my feature script is now complete. Our producers were reviewing yesterday and it is really good. That ‘steampunk’ era 1900’s setting is so fun to play in. I’ll be looking at at screening to benefit the Dodge Turner house where we filmed. It will premiere and we plan to let you all enjoy it during the Halloween season. We are even cutting a short promo teaser but I’m very happy with our end result. It was directed and edited by Nathaniel Nose who directed ‘The Christ Slayer’ with us.
- The music video ‘Off to the Races’ by Vertical Bridge the winner of the BEST YEARS GONE battle of the bands is done. We’re deciding between two logos but the video is badass and we’re talking about releasing it this week to fuel the hype of our upcoming MICHIGAN PREMIERE! I think we’ll release the music video tomorrow and also if you attend the premiere you can see it play on the theatrical screen.
- The feature BEST YEARS GONE is complete but the last few days have been working to tweak color correction and remove digital hiccups:) The film will be rendered to a theatrical file (DCP) used by the theaters. It will also get deliver to our distributor so their marketing team can review and they can start playing their home video campaign that will have DVD/streaming release in Feb 2022. The premiere Sept 18th at the NCG theaters in Owosso, MI is next Sat with both a 6pm show that is almost full and the 8:15 show that is filling up. Both will be great to attend with photos and meet and greets plus the afterglow at Romas. We have a lot of details to attend to this week in preparation but next Sat the first audiences will meet the Gilles Boys and the madcap adventure that follows. This was adapted for the screen (by yours truly) from Karl Manke’s book ‘Hope from Heaven’ and so you might want to read the book after you take a watch.
- SILENT NIGHT IN ALGONA has started assembling crew paperwork which we’ll start dispersing this week. Once our schedule lands in our lap we’ll start doing our cast agreements, travel and such. We’ll be releasing PR on a few more of the German actors plus we’ll be announcing our product partnership with two more major worldwide brands. Those brands being Hormel/Spam and Hersheys, both play into our story. Other sponsors include Smithfield Foods, Lerma Transportation, The Candleberry Company and more in process. It really is great to have these amazing brands working with us. We’re working on a teaser poster along with a hundred other small details. If you want to align your brand with our WW2 Christmas film please do reach out.
- This week I also received a script in the mail (I love that vs electronic) for a future film project to see if I want to act in it. I had a few conversations about upcoming scripts/films to write/produce and we had a good chat at week’s end over the WILD FAITH TV series “Hastings” and we’ll see where that goes.
- In active development is the new VFX division that we’re working to build so that we can enhance VFX shots in our stories and also use this entity to develop our own animated programming.
- FOR THE LOVE OF CATCH our documentary film is now in fine tuning and I think will be the first of a series of films. I had productive talks this past week about another documentary film to shoot next year that will build upon this current one. But ‘For the Love of Catch’ is more than just a documentary film it will be a brand that we can do many things with including hosting, promoting and live streaming a possible event. The possibilities are really exciting. As I said before, if you love college, professional, or any type of wrestling – you will find this doc entertaining and informative. It filled in so many gaps in my casual knowledge of the grappling arts as a martial artist myself. I think this film will become one of the pillars of the grappling and it really pulls the history together so that its not forgotten. It bypasses the typical competitive nature of the different schools and illustrates the common history they all share. And the love expressed by these instructors for their art is apparent in the heartfelt words that are spoken in each and every powerful interview.
- I need to circle around and look at the CDI Classic Double Feature with Knight Chills and From Venus. New artwork and maybe an entire new campaign that could include Knight Chills HD streaming. I see it:) Do you own the 1st DVD in the CDI Classic Collection? Heaven’s Neighbors and Figure in the Forest– which one or both might also get the HD treatment with a new campaign. We will see – I need to get a few things off my plate first.
- I’ve been having a great time immersing myself in WW2 footage and films. IN HARMS WAY with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas is one I just watched. They had access to so many military vehicles like battleships, but it is John Wayne. My short hair helped me start to see my character in the mirror. The line work has been just awesome. I love the things that are said between the lines. Yesterday was Sept 11th and the tributes brought back many feelings and visions of patriotic unity in grief. I think this script speaks in these ways by looking at the examples of the past and we can apply that to our present. I’m really looking forward to telling this story.
If you are in the Michigan area and want to attend our premiere please do attend one of the two shows and the afterglow at Romas. My schedule keeps me working and recharging more than socializing at film mixers so if you and I haven’t met – feel free to introduce yourself. Leave me with a card or whatnot so I can explore your art. I recall leaving a few past film events with a pile of scripts, headshots and VHS tapes of films and reels. Now a card with a link can do much the same thing. We are exploring additional theatrical play as the distributor preps for home video and foreign sales. So if you are unable to attend the film could play closer to your home or streaming will follow early in 2022. But, if you want to meet some of the cast, crew, band members from “Vertical Bridge” the battle of the band winners – this is the event for you!
(Above is from our Algona scout/prep trip- NOTE the cool car we will be using. One of many classic pre-1944 rides)
Okay. Flea market, lawn mow, venison grill N chill and prepare for a busy Monday! MSU had another great game and I hope our LIONS can do the same! I hope you all had a great weekend and stay safe, be kind and chase down those dreams.