« Archives in January, 2009

Ghosts Don’t Exist… at the Shadowroom!

Washington DC’s Shadowroom opened its doors Sunday night for an exclusive red carpet investors event and after-party—all for 19th + Wilson’s upcoming feature film, Ghosts Don’t Exist.

On hand were Executive Producers Chris Cooley and James Mercurio, as well as hosts Tony Cord and Chadleon Booker. An array of interested investors as well as local media assembled to hear Cooley, Director Eric Espejo, and CEO Aaron Goodmiller describe this unique independent film opportunity, which is expected to greenlight on February 1st. “I’m excited to be a part of this—it’s something I’m definitely going to have fun with during the off-season,” said the popular Washington Redskins Pro-Bowl tight end. Cooley explained how he and brother Tanner came to be part of the team of producers, while Espejo elaborated on the risks and rewards associated with independent filmmaking—making a clear case for the film’s potential success. “We’ve always said that it starts with a great story, and that’s what we have,” said Espejo. “A script that made it into the top 15% of the Oscar’s Nicholls Fellowship competition—the most prestigious screenwriting competition in the nation.”

Eric reiterated the significance of not only hiring one of the top script consultants in the country, but actually signing James Mercurio on as an Executive Producer. “Everyone knows in business it’s important to surround yourself with the right team. We’re surrounding ourselves with dedicated and successful professionals who know how to follow through on a project.” Espejo also expressed the team’s thanks to Tony Cord and Chadleon Booker, who hosted the event at the elite Shadowroom lounge, and who were key in making it such a success.

Goodmiller outlined the investment package options, explaining the team’s goal of raising the $250,000 budget from $5,000 units. “One of the key selling points is the fact that all initial income for the film goes toward repaying the investors first,” he said. “That’s a priority for us.” In addition, after the investors have been repaid, the profits will be split 50/50 between the investors and 19th + Wilson. “The LLC is set up to truly benefit everyone involved.”

NBC4′s Lindsay Czarniak and Dan Hellie were on hand to interview Cooley about his involvement in the project; and Washington Post sports blogger Dan Steinberg attended as well, posting a story the following morning. Washington Capitals stars Nicklas Bäckström and Mike Green also showed up to lend their support, much to the delight of hockey fans in the room—including the 19W team itself.

The after-party lasted until the wee hours of the morning, but the resounding message that potential investors left with was the quality of the story and solid backing behind Ghosts Don’t Exist—and its potential. Citing the 2003 indie, Open Water, (a film made for $130,000, bought for $2.5 million, and earned $30 million) Espejo drew parallels. “Open Water is the perfect example of a horror that sells because of the story,” he remarked. “There weren’t any big names attached. Not a big director. They shot it in Mini DV, which people use for their weddings. Yet it sold, because of the great premise.”

“And I believe we have a great one,” Espejo added. “Jim Mercurio believes in it. Chris Cooley believes in it. Tony Cord and Chad Booker believe in it.”

19th & Wilson