Posts tagged “Smooth Motion Films

Ronan’s Escape official film release

Director A.J. Carter

What an incredible roller coaster the past year has been! Ronan’s Escape went above and beyond what any of us could have ever imagined, and January 2012 marks the close of the film’s festival circuit. While the public screenings draw to a close, the ride is only just beginning as we will officially release the film worldwide on YouTube for everyone to view.

The film encourages the audience to subconsciously delve into, and reflect on their individual experiences and sometimes sensitive memories, in order to convey its powerful messages. Its worldwide release will no doubt stir up some emotion and controversy, and we expect it to draw opinions from both ends of the critique spectrum.

Some will love it, while others will hate it, and we welcome the comments and debates which the public release will evoke. In celebration of its viral release campaign, I wanted to share the epic journey we undertook to bring this film to the screen, highlight a few of the accolades we earned along the way and extend my gratitude and appreciation to each and every crew member and organization who made the film possible.

Ronan’s Escape has featured in numerous USA publications and blogs and key crew members have engaged in discussions with various related media forums including print articles and radio interviews. The film was openly denied screenings in several film festivals because of the controversial nature of its content, and was encouragingly featured at others where it went on to win both director and people’s choice awards. We’ve had hundreds of heart wrenching emails from students, families, school teachers and adults from all over the world who were transported back to their childhoods after watching the film triggering them to share their personal stories to us.

**The full length film is now available below. Please click ‘360p’ and change to an [HD] setting and view full screen. Please also click the ‘YouTube’ button and share your comments and stories after the film.

**Please support the film and purchase your copy of the DVD at www.RonansEscape.com The DVD contains some great behind the scenes information, the script, behind the scenes photo gallery and more.

Director A.J. Carter wins award

Ronan’s Escape was screened at a total of 17 film festivals world wide and earned a total of 12 international film nominations of which it won 9 of them. Some of the accolades achieved include ‘Best Short Film’ at the prestigious 16th Annual Sedona International Film Festival, the 2010 Director’s Choice Awards for ‘Best International Film’ at the 6th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival in Hollywood, ‘Gold Winner’ at the 2011 Australian Cinematographer’s Society Awards for Best Short Narrative, both the People’s choice and overall ‘Best Short Film’ awards at the 2011 Peace on Earth Film Festival, and the Van Gogh / World Cinema award for “Best Director” at the 2011 Amsterdam International Film Festival, just to name a few.

Ronan’s Escape, albeit only a short film, was a mammoth collaborative effort to say the least and was only made possible because of more than 170 crew members who donated their time to work on this film. The nature of the script and its unique screenplay which somewhat defies traditional storytelling techniques, was the catalyst for securing many of the crew involved in this film however it was also the sheer relentless drive inherent in W.A film makers which was the real key to putting the script onto the big screen.

Director A.J. Carter on set of Ronan's Escape with Kirstie Francis - Perth, Western AustraliaAfter the script was passed around, the array of professional talent who volunteered to work on this film astounds me. From university students who had never stepped foot on a real film set before, to industry professionals such as Director of Photography David Lemay, Academy Award nominee Martin Mhando, Special Effects & props maker Jeremy Shaw who’s past works includes Lord of The Rings and King Kong, and post production sound designer Frank Lipson from Romeo & Juliet and Happy Feet.. just to name a few.

Ronan’s Escape was not made purely to convey an important message, or just to provoke discussion about the devastating effects of bullying and youth suicide, it was also made to test ourselves as film makers under one of the harshest filming climates in the world and with extremely limited resources. To throw ourselves in the deep end and either sink or swim. Perth is by definition, the most remote capital city in the world, then, travel a further 2.5 hours out of the city and into the hot and dusty wheat belt of Boddington where more than half of the film was shot on location. Take with you more than 40 teenage school kids as extras and throw into the mix a few eskis full of ice to keep the film stock cool in 38 degree weather and you have the makings of Ronan’s Escape.

Director A.J Carter  works with actor David Lazarus on set of Ronan's EscapeThis film enabled more than 170 Western Australian film makers the chance to work on a traditional film set, shoot real film and be a part of a production that wasn’t graced by the luxury of HD cameras, replay monitors & hard drives. In this new world of High Definition cameras which are slowly but surely replacing the traditions of film, it’s becoming less and less often that film makers, especially in Western Australia can experience the gentle sounding flicker of film passing through a camera gate on set. While shooting on film is typically more expensive and slightly more complicated, the traditional nature of the script cried for the warm feel and gentle grain you naturally get from film, so it was always going to be the right medium to capture Ronan’s Escape on. It was also a chance (and probably one of our last) to get back to the traditions of shooting on film for our established crew, whilst providing an invaluable opportunity for up and coming local W.A. film makers to work on a real film project.

Director A.J. CarterI am proud and privileged to have been at the creative forefront of this film and to be surrounded by so many talented people who believed in this story and who donated their time to make the film possible.

In particular, producers Brad Major, Kate Separovich, Jennifer Carter & Martin Mhando, Director of Photography David LeMay (who won GOLD for Ronan’s Escape at the Australian Cinematographer’s Society awards for ‘Best Short Narrative’), my entire cast who worked so hard; David Lazarus, Kirstie Francis, Ashleigh Zinko, Ryan Cammiade and Matt Hennighan just to name a few.
Thanks also must go to our investors, Giancarlo Trettel, Frank Tomasi and Santino Castelli, and to Screen West, Murdoch University & Local Community Partnership Hotham, Pallinup Lakes for your generous support.

This film belongs to each and every one of you. It would not have touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world without your time, talent, and support. Thanks to you, many audiences from around the world will reflect on the images they see in Ronans Escape with an open mind and allow for their own personal interpretations of the film whilst being reminded of the devastating affects which bullying has on all of us.

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-A.J. Carter
Writer / Director


Ronan’s Escape wins ‘BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM’ in Hollywood!

Director A.J. Carter

CONGRATULATIONS! Yet again, Ronan’ Escape takes out another top prize international film award in 2010, this time at the star studded 6th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival held in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Ronan’s Escape won ‘BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM’ amongst a lineup of films featuring Will Ferrell, David Arquette, Mena Suvari, Kate Bosworth, Dick Van Dyke, James Franco and Kirsten Dunst just to name a few.

The festival began with a star studded gala red carpet event held at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood. The red carpet was entertained by hundreds of successful film makers, celebrities and media and was an amazing prelude to what was to be an even more amazing week long film festival. Lead actor David Lazarus was able to fly in all the way from Australia to be present on the Red Carpet, which made it a truly wonderful experience.

This year, more than 200 local and international films were enjoyed by thousands of film fans as they filled the seats over 7 days in August at the famous Laemmle Sunset 5 cinemas in Hollywood, California. The HollyShorts Film festival, USA,  was entered into as part of our long list of festivals which makeup our festival circuit, so to win the top prize for international films is a complete surprise to all of us and hopefully a sign of further success ahead.

Thanks to the amazing festival directors and staff who did an amazing job to make the 6th Annual HollyShorts International Film Festival was easily the best, well organized, jam packed festival we have attended so far. Special thanks must go out to several of the festival directos and staff who we were lucky enough to personally meet, namely Daniel, Theo, Nicole, Philippe and Crickett.  Thank you for allowing us to be a part of the festival and for honoring us with this wonderful accolade. Another huge thank you and congratulations to my entire cast and crew on the award for making it all possible!

If you want to join us on the Ronan’s Escape festival journey and follow the films’ progress, you can visit the Official Website and join our mailing list. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

-A.J. Carter


Gracie Jiu-Jitsu T.V Commercial

Director A.J. Carter works with Rener Gracie & Ryron Gracie

Working with the Gracie family- A privilege & a delight.

Several months ago I was fortunate enough to work again with the fantastic team from Pinnacle Marketing and with Rener and Ryron Gracie. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the history of the Gracie family, they are the most famous family in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu arena after their grandfather Helio Gracie effectively founded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the early 1900’s as we know it. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has become a household name through popular MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) TV shows and events such as world wide phenomenon known as the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).

Riding on a marginally successful ‘Gracie Combatives’ advertising campaign, which adhered to the template ‘1800 number infomercial’ styles you are relentlessly hounded with during late night television,  it was time to up the ante and as with the previous Criss Angel commercial I had done (see my blog here), I wanted to go out on a limb with the Gracies and try something different… break the rules yet again and just see what would happened. Again, the guys at Pinnacle were very receptive to a new approach and gave me relatively free reign on the concept of the commercial.

So what infomercial rules did we break? Well, basically all of them. After several sit down meetings with the Gracies in Los Angeles, Rener and I agreed we would do two things;

First of all, do away with the whole ‘1800 call now’ authoritative voice over, brainwashing garbage which in my opinion automatically installs a subconscious pulse of channel changing into the viewers finger tips and replacing it with a simple website address to go to. This was probably the single biggest rule to break in the infomercial industry & no doubt made Pinnacle Marketing a little nervous! You see, the final 20 seconds of a standard infomercial is known as the CTA (Call to action). This is the, most important, never to be tampered with, crucial few seconds of the script where the viewer is so caught up in the wonderful product they have just been brainwashed to buy, that they pickup the phone and in a bid to avoid missing out on the greatest product in the world which will inevitably change their lives, they dial the 1800 number and order.But if there is no 1800 number or voice telling you to order, how or why would anyone part with their hard earned cash for the product?

Well, the second element I wanted to add to the commercial was intrigue. Install an element of intrigue into the viewer which was derived from the images they were seeing on screen, so instead of wanting to change the channel, they wanted to know answers, they had a wiling to ‘investigate’ further and therefore the commercial’s CTA was now internally driven by the viewer- they wanted to see more about the product on screen.

Now that we had broken the biggest fundamental infomercial rules in the business and were staring down a marketing campaign which was against the grain of 1000’s of successful commercial before it, we were ready to shoot.

As Smooth Motion Films USA had done before, we chose to shoot in the old CBS Studios on Sunset Blvd. The character and ‘smell’ of years and years of history in live television radiates through the walls and gives you a sense of nostalgia with no matter what production you’re shooting… Not to mention the beautiful 45 foot green screen! Led by producer Jason Baguio, we set out to find the right crew behind the job. The biggest decision for the shoot was the right Director of Photography. I wanted the images to look dark and mysterious. I wanted this infomercial to look nothing like the bright, colourful, plastic traits possessed by a regular infomercial, so I brought on feature film Director Of Photography Guy Livneh (Brothers in arms and Second Unit DP for the Academy Award winning film ‘Monster’ starring Charlize Theron). Guy had only shot high end narrative films before and had never shot an infomercial in his life – this is why he was perfect. To me, we were not shooting  an infomercial, we were shooting a small slice of a movie. If viewers were channel surfing with their remote and stumbled across our infomercial, they would stop and watch.

Now that we had the right crew in place it was down to half a day of fun working with Rener, Ryon and the crew. Shooting was extremely streamlined thanks to a previous night of storyboards I had drawn up and the several meetings I had with Rener prior to shooting. Director of Photography, Guy was extremely efficient but precise with lighting setups. Every shot in the final commercial is exactly how he wanted it lit and with the whole CBS studio and lighting rig to ourselves, we were able to quickly and easily run a 12+ lighting setup for some of the shots.

[xr_video id=”269f64168fd84da48da9e1f671cc5f61″ size=”md” width=”600″ viewonxr=”false”]
**Note: The free training video on Lesson1.com was only made exclusively available for the duration of the advertisement campaign.

Rener and Ryron Gracie were as one could expect from champions of mixed martial arts; incredibly disciplined guys. It was an interesting dynamic; a fairly scrawny Australian guy telling two incredibly dedicated, disciplined fighting machines what to do and sometimes, how to do it so their movements adapted well to our on screen visions. Despite their confidence and MMA family fame, they were incredible receptive to taking direction on set and humble in their ways. After spending quite some time working with the boys both on and off set, I personally believe that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the legacy they hold on their shoulders, has not only made them disciplined to the highest level in the cage and under the limelight of international fame, but kind and honorable human beings in both their personal lives and in business. I now have an immense inner respect for both the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu craft and for the honorable Gracie family.

All in all, the shoot was a delightful experience and although we broke some fundamental rules making the commercial a fairly big risk, and the big wigs at the top a little nervous, it proved that sometimes you have to go out on a limb, because that is where the fruit is. Oh, and by the way, after our new ‘Lesson 1.com’ commercial went to air on USA cable television, sales quadrupled from the 10% generated by the old ‘1800 Call now’ commercial to an impressive 400% ratio… Success.

Thanks to the following key cast & crew members for a successful shoot and another happy client. -A.J. Carter

Executive Producers: John Linton, Jonathan Flicker, Brett Saevitzon / Pinnacle Direct Marketing USA
Cast: Rener Gracie, Ryron Gracie
Producer: Jason Baguio
Director of Photography: Guy Livneh (Official Website)
Production Coordinator: Niv Gat
Production Company: Smooth Motion Films
Marketing Company: Pinnacle Direct Marketing


T.W.A.T- my first [3D] project.

First of all, I am extremely excited alongside many of our notable industry professionals currently engaged in this film, at the prospect of shooting possibly the first [3D] short film on location in Western Australia using a certified [3D] mirror rig. It is not every day that the film industry progresses through such a radical advancement in story telling technology and to be an integral part of locally pioneering this new film making technique is something very unique and special.

T.W.A.T. (Tactical Women’s Anti-Assault Team) is an explosively charged, action / comedy blend with topical themes and sexual innuendo thrown into the mix. Professional athletes world wide- Beware! Set in the year 2020, ‘Guy Champ’ has it all; looks, fame, women and money. He is the king of the sporting world and reaps the rewards of a professional athletes profile financially through lucrative endorsements. When he decides to take home ‘Charlotte’, a sports star loving groupie, home for some late night fun at his apartment, he quickly realizes he has brought home more than he bargained for when the T.W.A.T team storm his apartment to mediate and put a dampener on his one night stand plans.

The topical nature and primary theme of T.W.A.T. along with a cleverly articulated screenplay co-written by Myself and Lukas William Martin, with Story By credits to Pete Healy,  provides a solid foundation for a film with a unique ability to encapsulate audiences world wide. Through scene composition and clever dialogue delivery in the screenplay, T.W.A.T. allows audiences from different backgrounds and cultures around the world to interpret the film in such an individual manner, that they can tailor the sport category to appropriate their culture.

T.W.A.T. is about making a statement, and a statement it will make. From the incredibly refined, carefully crafted screenplay to breaking new ground and pioneering 3D technology in Western Australia, T.W.A.T. is an exciting culmination of the talents and resources of some of the best industry professionals in Australia who are ready to scream in the faces of the big Hollywood power houses and show ’em what we can do down under.

March 2010- Our new [3D] rig arrives in Perth! Watch out for my next blog where I will take you behind the scenes as we prepare and test our new [3D] rig and delve into unchartered territory of live action 3D film making.

Exciting stuff! Now off for a little Poker! 🙂

-A.J.


Ronan’s Escape wins ‘Best Short Film’ – Sedona International Film Festival

Sedona International Film Festival- Ronan's Escape WINNER

Sedona International Film Festival SIFFSedona International Film Festival- Ronan's Escape WINNERRonan's Escape- Official Movie PosterWOW! What a fantastic beginning to the 2010/2011 film festival circuit for Ronan’s Escape! We were just informed via email and press release that our latest film ‘Ronan’s Escape’, shot in Perth Western Australia has taken out the top prize in the directors awards at the prestigious 2010 Sedona International Film Festival (SIFF).

This year, more than 100 films were enjoyed by 9,000 film fans as they filled the seats in front of six screens at Harkins Theatres and three off-site locations over ten days during the 17th annual Festival. Special guest for the event was Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and in addition to also screening three of his films, was honored for his impact on documentary filmmaking.

Film maker Michael MooreThe Sedona International Film Festival held in Arizona, USA, is actually the very first festival Ronan’s Escape was entered to as part of our long list of festivals which makeup our festival circuit, so to win the top prize first up is a complete surprise and hopefully a sign of further success ahead.

Thanks to Patrick Schweiss and the rest of the crew at SIFF for allowing us to be a part of the festival and for honoring us with this great accolade. Another huge thank you and congratulations to my entire cast and crew on the award!

If you want to join us on the Ronan’s Escape festival journey and follow the films’ progress, you can visit the Official Website and join our mailing list. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

-A.J. Carter


Ronan’s Escape- Red Carpet World Premiere

A.J. Carter, David Lazarus, Brad Major, David LeMay

Luke Martin, A.J. Carter and Brad MajorWhat a magical night! After more than two years in the making, it was a huge relief and pleasure to finally walk down the red carpet at the World Premiere for Ronan’s Escape. It was such an amazing feeling being reunited with the 200+ crew members who made the film possible so many months ago. The evening began with a mass of invitation only guests congregating in the foyer. The 350 limited invites extended to cast, crew, extras, industry guests and special guest media personalities such as 6IX’s Johnny Young. After enjoying a stroll down the red carpet and photographs by Brodie Butler, everyone moved into the cinema where delightful home made canapés to the delights of mini quiche, sushi, meatballs, sandwiches and traditional Croatian delights, accompanied by glorious wine supplied by Executive Producer Frank Tomasi from Oceans Estate made up the pre-screening refreshments & entertainment. After everyone was seated, Kristy Symonds took control as MC for the night and before too long, I had given a wonderfully inspiring and non boring *cough* speech thanking everyone for coming and outlining the back story to the film, then the lights were dimmed and the gentle flicker from the projector radiated through the cinema… well, in a High Definition projector kind of way.  A.J. Carter, Luke Martin, Kate Separovich, Brad MajorAfter the screening, Director of Photography David LeMay, lead actor David Lazarus and myself held an intense Q&A session for the 300+ eagerly intrigued guests, answering questions ranging from ‘How long did it take to make the film?’ through to ‘What was the symbolism inherent in bird and why did you decide to draw this symbolism from an animal in the film?’ After quenching every bodies thirst for answers, the cinema emptied with 1000 hand shakes and smiles all round with many guests purchasing a copy of the dvd in the foyer afterwards. An extraordinary premiere night to finish up the production chapter of the film and celebrate the beginning of the marketing, promotion and world film festival circuit which will span over the next 18 months.

 

 

A.J. Carter, David Lazarus, Brad Major, David LeMayMany thanks must go to the team who put together the entire red carpet event and whom worked tirelessly to make it happen- notably Kate Separovich, Jennifer Carter & Kristy Symonds. Thanks must also be extended to Luke Martin who despite playing an integral role in co-writing and editing the film, enjoyed the premiere from behind the portal window as our projectionist for the evening, Brodie Butler for the 1st class red carpet photography, all the parents who assisted with the glorious catering, Oceans Estate Wines for supplying that magic drop in everyones glass, each and every guest who took the time to attend our special night and to the staff at Hoyts Cinemas, South Lands for hosting the event. We were truly privileged to have the premiere at Hoyts Cinemas as most short films premiere at smaller, niche cinemas and do not enjoy the spectacle of such a large, well organised premiere. And last but not least, an extension of my sincerest gratitude to each and every cast & crew member who made this film possible. This is your film and I hope you are very proud of it. Thank you & let the ride begin! -A.J. Carter

Official Website: www.RonansEscape.com