Sunday, November 16, 2008

NM in the News: Easy Money, American Tragic, Donor Conspiracy, Filmmakers Channel,

Some mostly good news in today's Albuquerque Journal...

Ferrera To Get 'Tragic' in N.M.
by Dan Mayfield

America Ferrera, the star of the ABC sitcom "Ugly Betty," will be in New Mexico in February to produce and act in her next flick "American Tragic," Daily Variety reported this week.

It's a buddy road-trip picture, and Ferrera will play the wife of one of the buddies.

"American Tragic" will be made by Maya Entertainment, Variety said, which was founded by Moctesuma Esparza. Esparza filmed the awardwinning "The Milagro Beanfield War" in New Mexico in 1988.

'Easy Money' canned

The TV show "Easy Money," which has been filming in Albuquerque for several months and showing on Sunday nights on the CW, has been canceled, according to published reports.

The show stars Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne") as the matriarch of a family that owns a short-term loan business in a Southwestern town called South Nile. Local actor Joe Peracchio had a major role in the series.

"Easy Money" production company Media Rights Capital produces all three prime time Sunday shows on the CW, including "Valentine," which was also canceled. Calls to the company went unreturned.

Local film picked up

Every year in New Mexico, dozens of local filmmakers pour their life savings into making a film, but rarely do they get picked up for distribution. Just 5 percent of feature-length films ever get a chance to be seen, either in theaters or on DVD.

"The Donor Conspiracy," by locals Gavin Gillette and Ryil Adamson is getting a shot. The pair sold their film through an agent to Vanguard International Cinema, and on Nov. 25 it will be available for rent or purchase worldwide.

This is big.

Though it's a straight-to-DVD title, that's more than most films ever see.

"The Donor Conspiracy" follows a pair of screwup medical students who are kicked out of school for pulling a prank you can't describe in a family newspaper. So, while whittling away the time playing video games, they stumble on an underground kidney pilfering operation in their apartment building.

"It started 10 years ago," Gillette said. "I was on a plane and I read about a guy who woke up in a tub of ice. How do you end up like that?"

Gillette read "How To Write a Screenplay," sat down and started writing.

"I always looked at films and said I could write something better than this crap," Gillette said.

He sent his script to agents, producers, anybody who might read it.

"Then, one drunken night, a friend said we can do this ourselves. I had no idea."

Gillette worked with a producer but that partnership bore no fruit, only a heavy toll on his bank account.

In 2006, Gillette was at the end of his rope. He sat down with Ann Lerner of the city's film office and told her about "The Donor Conspiracy." She knew one guy who could make it happen: Adamson.

"Ann calls me up and says, 'I've got this guy in my office and he wants to make a movie,' " Adamson said.

He had made just a couple of short films with the Duke City Shootout, but he was eager and would work cheap.

Both Adamson and Gillette had 9-5 jobs -- Adamson, who has a doctorate in special education, taught during the day and Gillette was a manager for a local homebuilder.

Things moved fast...

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