It’s a long, uphill haul if you’re jonesing to be a moviemaker, but a couple of Colorado Springs crusaders are determined they’re going to make it, and their first short film won a prestigious award right out of the gate, the Dallas-based Communicator Award.
Kinch Glisson and Robert Greywolf’s 18-minute short film The Third Choice is about an ordinary guy with money issues who must come to grips with a serious moral dilemma involving his soul, Satan, and a suitcase full of cash. The cast is comprised of all-local talent.
Glisson wrote and produced the short, which opens on a golf course (the Springs’ very own Apple Tree). God, portrayed by Jon Smith, and Satan, portrayed by Alysabeth Clements, decide the fate of nightclub owner Daniel Grayden, played by Glisson. The nightclub faces big money problems, but there are choices, as God and Satan discuss. Those choices involve taking the cash from a fiery and seductive Satan, doing nothing and losing his business, or taking the third choice, offered by the mysterious accountant Mr. Feldman, played by Mark Dewald.
The odds of seeing The Third Choice at a local theatre are slim, Glisson said. “It wasn’t made to make money, but to give us credibility as moviemakers,” said Glisson, 23, who by day is a pawnbroker. “It’s our advance notice – to bring attention to our company.”
That company is Crystal Skull Productions, started fairly recently by Glisson and the 51-year-old Greywolf, who pays his rent as a martial arts instructor, part-time teacher, and Internet marketer of video tapes where he explains his philosophical beliefs. The video was photographed by industry veteran Jim Prange, and rather than being shot on film, was actually produced by a video camera to reduce expenses.
The film’s God character, Jon Smith, has worked on relatively few play and movie sets, but finds independent filmmaking challenging, fun and addictive.
“I really enjoyed working with Kinch and Robert,” said Smith. “It’s nice doing a film – especially if you get to play God.” Smith’s part involved just a couple rehearsals and was shot in a day or so.
Alysabeth Clements, Satan in the video, probably has the most acting experience. Locally, she was the star of a radio program called The Mark Brothers. Her stay at KKFM’s 98.1 radio was cut short, reportedly due to an observation she made on-air about a nationally-known taco stand.
Her film efforts involve work in California, and she once scored an appearance on television’s ER. She can also be seen in the starring role in Vampirina, Mistress of Seduction, available at local video stores.
Next in line is Crystal Skull’s first full-length feature, Junk Yard Dead, a gothic horror-comedy. It’s also filmed in Colorado Springs, and again uses all local talent. A trailer is now being floated to regional and national film festivals in hopes of gaining support and recognition, and motivating investors.
“Junk Yard Dead will give us more options,” Glisson said. “We’ll try to market it as a video and DVD, and try and get it distributed in theaters.”
The Third Choice was produced for about $3,000, and Junk Yard Dead will cost about $10,000, Greywolf said.
Glisson and Greywolf locate much of their talent themselves, but credit the Colorado Springs Film Commission for helping locate additional actors.
The local film industry is active, said Edwina Forman, Colorado Springs’ Film Commissioner. Her daily work involves fielding calls from companies and individuals interested in producing films and commercials in and around Colorado Springs.
A major commercial just finished shooting on Pikes Peak, Foreman said. “Audi just finished a major commercial on the peak,” she stated. Foreman estimates Audi spend about $500,000 in Colorado Springs during the time it took to film the project.
“We’re (Pikes Peak) going to get quite a bit of publicity from that shoot,” Foreman said. Obviously, the mountain is very recognizable, and it will be mentioned in the commercial, she added.
At least two other independent films have recently concluded shooting in the region, Foreman said. One, Suicide Run, by Michael Steyaert, is now being shopped at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, California, and was recently premiered to a full house at the local Fine Arts Center. The other film is by local resident Michael Howard.