Opinion

TYLD horizontal widerI’ve became friends and a supporter for producer and filmmaker, Jim Cirile, when I discovered his project Liberator, which featured heavy hitters like Lou Ferrigno (Hulk), Michael Dorn (Star Trek), Don “The Dragon” Wilson (Bloodfist), and last, but certainly not least in my book, one of my favorite actresses, Peta Wilson (La Femme Nikita).

A few years down the road, the creation for To Your Last Death would come to life, and I would again, support this project for Jim and his wife and business partner, Tanya Klein. Two projects later, I am confident to say that this won’t be the last project that these two amazing human beings will create that I will support and promote for.

Y’all have an astounding cast including William Shatner (Star Trek), Morena Baccarin (Gotham, Deadpool), Ray Wise (Robocop, Twin Peaks). Did you already have these actors envisioned in your mind for your characters when creating the project, or was there an audition for these actors and actress?

Tanya Klein: No, we didn’t write those parts with anyone in mind. During the pre-production process, we sat around with our producers and director and made lists of actors who would be great for these parts. Our producers called their agents and then it hinged on their interest and availability and cost.

To Your Last Death, formally known as Malevolent, has been in production for a few years now. How does it feel to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel for this project for the both of you?

Jim Cirile: I guess the best way to describe it is simply “wow.” There were times during the production process when we weren’t sure we’d be able to finish it. Animated movies are pricey and sometimes there are unforeseen hiccups. So at times it was pretty stressful. Getting it done felt great. We recently had our first cast/crew/friends/family screening to celebrate the fact that we had climbed the mountain. To show it on a big screen in front of many people was, of course, nerve-wrecking and we were thrilled to discover that it went over really well. Everyone got it. They laughed at the right places and they were scared at the right places. It was awesome. So “wow.”

How long have y’all been working in the film industry?

TK: I have been in the entertainment industry for all of my adult life starting out in theater as a playwright, director, actor and producer in New York as well as Artistic Director of a theater company before switching over to film about 15 years ago.

JC: I started out as an assistant at a small production company in New York right after college. After that, I worked my way up to writer/producer at that company before coming out to Los Angeles. All in all, I have been working in the industry for 30 years.

shatner and team w logo

Actor William Shatner and the To Your Last Death crew. Jim & Tanya to your far left. 🙂

Producing isn’t the only expertise you both have on your resumes, is it? Can you give the readers an outline of your accomplishments over the years in the industry?

TK: We’re both writers, as well as, story analysts. I am also an actor/director.  I has a slew of NY stage productions, as well as, several short films under my belt.

JC: I am an artist/musician. I also have written on many features including having a three-movie deal with Lionsgate.

Y’all are just co-producers for film projects, you both are married to each other. 😊 When did you two decide to take your relationship to the next level, as not just husband and wife, but as business partners?

JC: That happened quite organically because when you’re around someone a lot you naturally get involved in their projects. So I’d say pretty much from the start.

What’s the best thing about working together?

TK: Firstly, it’s efficient. If you need to discuss something you can simply walk into the other room. Secondly, you know each other well and can develop a kind of shorthand.

TYLD 11You’re been behind two successful crowd funding projects with Liberator and now To Your Last Death. What are some of the advice can you can share with other aspiring filmmakers to accomplish this aspect of success for raising money to budget your film projects?

JC: Oh, many! First of all, if you can avoid crowdfunding your movie AVOID IT! This might sound flippant, but I’m absolutely serious. Crowdfunding isn’t a walk in the park. A few things to keep in mind: 1. you need a strong online presence months before you start your crowdfund (so plan accordingly). 2. When deciding how much money to ask for you must keep fulfillment of perks (which costs money) as well as taxes in mind. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you lose money or barely break even when you do a crowdfund 3.  On average one crowdfund team member can raise $6K (some a bit less and some a bit more depending on their social media footprint, but that’s what it averages out to). So if you want to raise $60K, you’ll need 10 committed team members.

What inspired to bring To Your Last Death to life? How was the story created?

TK: Often horror films end up in the same place: Final Girl, exhausted and blood-smeared, claws her way out of the wreckage after a time of absolute horror where she had to watch everyone else die only to finally best the bad guy. We thought: “what if that was our starting point? Final Girl crawls out into the light… and then we send her back to do it all again. Wouldn’t that be cool… and cruel? ”

Are any of the characters based on anyone you know in real life? How much did the TYLD 8actors end up relating to the characters they played in the film?

TK: No, thankfully not! (laughs) However, we do like to call Cyrus our Dick Cheney character. Similar bio and similar personality. (Yeah, he’s the bad guy.) The actors seemed to enjoy themselves a lot especially since some of them got to play against type.

How does this film stand out from the rest of the anime films? How does this film stand out from the rest of the films in America?

JC: Animation is only now in the process of “growing up” in the US. For many, many years animation was something for kids (and on the feature film front it still very much is). TV has led the march towards adult-themed animation and, slowly, this is opening up the feature film sphere. An animated horror film was pretty much unheard of when we first started this project and still is in many ways. It differs from anime films in the sense that we’re going for more gritty realism in character design and color-work as well as animation.

This is the very first American Anime here in the states, so that’s an accomplishment. Do you see yourself trendsetting for future anime films in this country, or even worldwide?

TK: That’d be cool! However, an animated movie is very difficult to produce when one has to do it on a small budget. Hence, the next animated movie we make has to be with a deep-pocketed investor or studio on board.

Are there any other projects in the works from Coverage, Ink you two can hint at for the near future?

JC: We actually have several scripts we’d like to make…

TK: …However, the first step is selling To Your Last Death and possibly a vacation. (Smiles!)

MV5BMjIwMDIwNjAyOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNDE1MDc2NTM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,631,1000_AL_The third installment of How to Train Your Dragon was a huge disappointment in my view. My expectations for the closure of the trilogy and Netflix series was high. The story felt rushed and for me the comedy itself was lacking in The Hidden World.

I wish the story was more invested in the journey of the hidden world or more invested in the new dragon hunter, rather than rushing both storylines with the addition of Toothless finding his mate. Honestly, it felt two films were being squished into one poor edit.

It hurts to write this as How to Train Your Dragon is one of my top favorite animations, because who doesn’t love a good story on dragons and vikings?? I was even a fan of the series on Netflix!

Come to think of it, this story-line would have been better as a last season for the series rather than as a film for theaters. That way it could have been more polished on all three story-lines and a more successful closure to the brand.

15153053-amazon

Life Itself is one of the most beautiful performances I’ve seen in film today. In my opinion, Oscar Wilde and Antonio Banderas did wonders carrying this film and bringing the beauty of the stories to life. This is one of Banderas’ best performances in his whole career, in my opinion.

It’s a sophisticated story-line that you have to pay attention to find how two worlds end up colliding. It has a lot of similarities to the approach and direction as the films Babel and Crash does. So if you are not a fan of those directives, this will not be a film for you.

Unfortunately, there were also a few failures to this film. I felt for this film was that it was a bit uneven in the delivery, as the first half of the story being more of an unfiltered dramedy and the second half more of a heartfelt drama. I feel the setup at the beginning with the opening scene and Samuel L. Jackson narrating failed. I feel the film itself could be balanced more to bring a more smoother transition rather than hoping for the narrations to do the transition for you. Unfortunately, this film could have done without the narrators.

Overall, the message and the performances itself was beautiful and meaningful to the point of the necessity of Kleenex.

downloadThis film will never be considered best picture from the Academy Awards. The best way to describe this film in five words is, a comedy fuckery gone wrong.

The best way to watch this film is in pure darkness in the late winters’ eve, while the blistering cold winds knock on your windows. Make sure you also turn the volume up as loud as you are allowed.

The creators of this film, Kipp Tribble & Kurt Ela, wrap you in with some epic comedy, while poking at their film making lives, until shit literally hits the fan with the legendary tale of Char Man.

The best way to describe this type of film is it’s got an effective Blair Witch/paranormal flavor to it for those type of fans. It’s fun and entertaining for those who are in that particular mood. Nothing more nor nothing less.

I rated the film a 4/5 on Amazon, as well as, 8/10 on IMdB, only because I sensed the true intent of the film from the creators.

As we count down the final hours of the year, here is a list of my top ten films for 2018. Enjoy and feel free to share your own favorites in the comment section below.

1. Isle of Dogs

2. Beirut

3. Den of Thieves

4. Avengers: Infinity War

5. Black Panther

6. You Were Never Really Here

7. The Ivory Game

8. Christopher Robin

9. ROMA

10. The Angel