This is a story that goes beyond the standard good guys versus bad guys theme in classic westerns. AMERICAN GUNSLINGERS is a multi-cultural, character-driven tale about the power of love: How it can redeem a lost soul and how it can also destroy a good one.
Inclusion StatementThe story is led by a white outlaw and a black preacher who were raised as brothers by their single parents who became a family in the post-Civil War era. Their bond contrasts with the African-American marshal corrupted by inherent wealth. In addition, we have a multi-ethnic team of men and women.
About The Project
In 2015, while staying in the D.C. area for a film festival, my dad and I went to visit my uncle’s farm in Warrington, VA. I vividly remember us drinking lemonade on the porch outside watching the sunset across the vast acres of land and horses that he owned. That was the moment when I decided that my next challenge as a filmmaker was to produce a western. Prior to that time, I had made an attempt to assist my film directing mentor in Florida to adapt his old west novel to the screen. Unfortunately, we were never able to get enough traction with the short film we produced and his health went into decline soon after. Yet, I still held on to these visions of realistic characterizations of the way men and women lived in the West and I needed a way to articulate this into a script. I turned to my frequent co-star, Chris Corulla, who had his own concept about interracial brothers in search of their father’s buried treasure which instantly got me hooked. But to give this story the truth and authenticity that it needed to be successful, I turned to my screenwriter friend Drew Henriksen. He had already proven his versatility in twisting the cliches of the genre with his award-winning short film, Power of Prayer. That same exact effort would take the vision that Chris and I had and Drew gave it deeper elements of family loyalty, the unsatisfying thirst for power, and the desperation for love and connection. Drew who would go on to flesh out the story and write the full script which won won “Best Feature Length Screenplay” at the World Music & Independent Film Festival and "Best Western Screenplay" at the Las Vegas International Film & Screenwriting Festival.
Unfortunately, in the midst of planning a full-length feature film in the last few years, we realized the logistical and financial difficulties in producing an western independently in expensive vintage New York and Connecticut restoration parks with period costumes, props, and of course horses. Then as we launched this Seed & Spark campaign, coronavirus happened and it has made things much more difficult for all of us. However, this time has given my team and I some clarity on what we believe is a better direction for this project: An episodic series. With that idea in mind, now we are more determined than ever to pull the trigger on this amazing story.
Based on our experience from past feature films by AJ Epyx Productions such as Priceless and Vendetta Games, we can produce American Gunslingers (no longer longer as a feature film) as a 10-part episodic, telenovela-style series using the existing script intended for the originally planned feature film. The production resources that we have collected over the past decade will allow us to save money on film equipment, lighting, and editing. Our target date for the start of production is fall 2020 (God-willing). The episodic format will allow us the following:
- • Using the most recent draft of the screenplay, scenes can be broken up into 10 episodes and better organized budgets by episode.
• The episodic format will add more creative breathing room to tell the fully layered stories of the main characters which would normally be cut down for pacing if it had been a full-length feature.
• We can craft a shooting schedule that works for the actors' availabilities, more flexibility among our crew, gives us breaks in between to plan new episodes, and keeps our team focused on the specific needs of each episode rather than stressing ourselves with plotting out an entire 90 minute film.
• We will be able to save on specific costs on locations and props because we will take our time shooting and editing each episode.
• For audiences, we believe this episodic format will be binge-worthy on a streaming platform that they will return to time and time again.
The episodes can be completed and have at least the pilot episode ready for film festivals as well as pitching the completed series to networks in 2021 from the time we receive at least 80% of its funding: the amount needed for pre-production (i.e., compensating actors, legal fees, etc.) and production. The majority of the budget will be directed to principal photography with filming locations in Long Island, NY; New Milford, CT; and Danbury, CT. Each location contains 1800s restoration grounds, state parks, and private properties that match the vision of the screenplay. With roughly 22 days of shooting planned, as challenging as it will be, we will be as cost-efficient in our scheduling as possible and keep all the high quality of the production on the screen.
As soon as we wrap post-production on American Gunslingers, we intend to take this journey to the top festivals in the world (i.e. Sundance, Tribeca, Toronto, SXSW, etc.) and western-themed festivals across the U.S. (i.e The Wild Bunch Film Festival, The Wild West Film Festival, etc.). We will also utilize our distribution contacts to get this series on brand name streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Tubi, Roku, and Xumo to name a few. Every penny we spend on this project will go up on the screen to deliver high-quality storytelling that will stand on its own in the digital frontier of scripted content.
$15K will only be enough to get us started in the process of our journey. With additional funds, we can achieve a higher quality of work and a smoother production we can all look back on fondly.
- If we raise $25K, we will have the bare minimum to finish the project from start to finish with every resource we have at our disposal.
- If we raise $50K, we can rent top-of-the-line cameras, lights, and rigs; fully pay all of our talent and crew (Who are working at minimum cost for the passion of the project); a bigger budget for costumes and art department; and a faster post-production process.
- If we raise $75K, we can pay for some incredible stunts and horse training with our actors and stunt riders; pay our cast and crew with respectable day rates; cover film festival and distribution fees.
The stories that I love to tell are the ones that go beyond the flashy money shots you see in movie trailers. I always look for what’s relevant in current times without making it too spot on and preachy. American Gunslingers is not your standard hero riding in town to save the day western series. It’s about the circumstances of how we are loved, the power love has to turn good souls towards vengeance, and bad souls towards redemption. Both will have significant consequences.
This journey is so important for us to go on. Especially now more than ever. Your part in supporting us will make this project all the more memorable for years to come.
Please Follow & Share! Thank you!
- Andre´ Joseph
- • Using the most recent draft of the screenplay, scenes can be broken up into 10 episodes and better organized budgets by episode.
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About This Team
Andre´ Joseph, Director, Co-Story, Producer, playing role of “Jesse”
Staten Island, NY native Andre´ Joseph had a love for movies from a very early age. He began his career making short films with family and friends on home video. Mr. Joseph attended the New York Film Academy summer program in 2001 where he first gained experience working with 16mm film and later graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College in 2006 where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Film. In 2008, Mr. Joseph formed his own New York-based independent film production company, AJ Epyx Productions, LLC. The company’s first feature film, Priceless, which Mr. Joseph wrote, starred, and directed, premiered at Tribeca Cinemas. His second feature film, Dishonorable Vendetta, was screened at the Urban Action Showcase in 2015 where it won the award for “Best Firefight.” Its sequel, Vendetta Games, won the “Best Urban Action” award at the 2017 Urban Action Showcase and is slated for a summer 2020 release through ITN Distribution. Mr. Joseph’s most recent short film project, The Saxophonist, was fiscally sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts and was the recipient of “Best Film” at the 2018 New York Jazz Film Festival. In addition to film projects, Mr. Joseph has also freelanced as a videographer and editor for companies such as Vintage NYC Magazine and NBC Entertainment.
Dan Griffin, Producer
Mr. Griffin is a Connecticut-based producer, military veteran, and CEO of The Griffin Group. Among his credits include Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, Dream Street, and Behind the Door. Mr. Griffin was on the governance board which brought in the new Film Tax Incentives (one of the highest in the country) for the state of Connecticut. In addition to producing, Mr. Griffin is a member of the Irish rock band, The Ruffians, and also penned the children’s book, The Adventures of Merlin the Mouse. With many long-standing connections to top talent, distribution, financing, crew, and other companies both domestic and abroad, Mr. Griffin has now channeled his connections and wide relationships into a means of providing content.
Chris Corulla, Jr., Co-Story, playing role of “Randy”
Mr. Corulla was interested in acting at a young age and studied various actors including Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon by watching their movies frequently. He would also develop an impressive ability to use different voice accents including British, French, Spanish, Irish, Russian, and German. In 2010, Mr. Corulla made his feature film debut as the conflicted son of a Mafia boss in Old Secrets No Lies which played at Tribeca Cinemas and the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. The film was written and directed by his father, Christopher Corulla, Sr. Then he teamed up with Andre´ Joseph as DEA Agent Keith Miller in Dishonorable Vendetta which won the award for “Best Firefight” at the 2015 Urban Action Showcase sponsored by Cinemax. For its sequel, Vendetta Games, he won two “Best Actor” awards at the World Music & Independent Film Festival and the Atlantic City Cinefest. His future projects include the crime thriller City on the Edge directed by Christopher Corulla, Sr., the independent vampire film The Healer and the crime thriller Frackwards which also marks his debut as a screenwriter.
Drew Henriksen, Screenwriter, playing role of “Dragoon”, Stunts
Mr. Henriksen holds a Master of Science degree in Immunology from the C. W. Post campus of Long Island University, and a Post Masters Certification in Science Education from Dowling College. He has played the kindly stepfather Tim in Man From Shaolin, Mayor/Street Fighter Mike Haggar for the trailer of the Final Fight fan film and was a recurring character, Gath General, in the NBC show Kings starring Ian McShane and Christopher Eagan. Mr. Henriksen was also the stunt coordinator and was the assistant stunt coordinator for The River of Cospa Mica. In 2017, Mr. Henriksen wrote, produced, and starred in the western short film The Power of Prayer which premiered at the Garden State Film Festival in 2017 and has since won numerous awards at such prestigious film festivals as Southern Shorts Awards, WorldFest Houston, and the Hollywood Dreamz International Film Festival. He is the author of the Dragon Tales & Stories trilogy and you can see more of his writings at www.DrewHenriksen.com.
Ann Flanigan, playing role of “Glenda”
Ms. Flanigan is an actor-singer-puppeteer who is fortunate to tell stories across different mediums. On camera, she's been on the Oxygen Network and in films with NYU and Columbia as well as other independent shorts. In theatre, she’s worked in NY and regionally on world premieres, classics, and everything in between including Chuck Mee’s The Immortals, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, King Lear, Lincoln Center Originals, Rachel – A New Musical, The Bluest Eye, and A Christmas Carol.
Bryan Williams, playing role of “Bourigeard”
Mr. Williams performed acting as well as dancing early on at Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, NY. He later studied dramatic acting under Richard Thomas at St. John’s University. Bryan has performed on several film and TV shows such as Boardwalk Empire, Friends with Benefits, and Celebrity Ghost Stories. He played lead roles in the independent films Serve and Protect and Night Club, the latter of which earned him a Best Breakout Performance award at the 2011 Long Island Film Festival.
Paul Wallace, playing role of “Ian”
Mr. Wallace hails from Franklin Square, NY and lives in NYC. Along with acting, he freelances in the Grip and Electric department for film, commercials, music videos, television and events. He studied at the William Esper Studio in New York City, acts and writes projects for the production company Cannibal Troll, and performs regularly throughout the greater New York area. In 2014, Mr. Wallace acted in Andre´ Joseph’s short comedy Tempted and was nominated for Best Actor in a Short Film at the 2015 World Music and Independent Film Festival in Washington, D.C.
Christie Desir, playing role of “Hana”
Ms. Desir was appointed Miss Haiti Universe in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2014. The cultured beauty who grew up between Connecticut and Haiti was the first "Haitian Diaspora" to represent her country at the Miss Universe Competition. Ms. Desir decided to leave her Branded Content & Partnership career at Interscope Records to start a foundation in her country and compete for the Miss Haiti title. With determination and charm, she wowed the audience and judges placing in top three and winning Miss Popular & Miss Top Model. At the age of 18, Ms. Desir moved to New York City to pursue a career in fashion. During her first three years of college she had the opportunity to intern for Sean " Diddy" Combs as an Assistant Wardrobe Stylist. She was often used as a model and actress for Diddy productions including Sean John runway shows and reality TV like "Do you want to work for Diddy”.
Stephanie Hinck, playing the role of “Suki”
Stephanie is an American actress/singer born in New Hampshire to a Taiwanese mother and father of German and Croatian descent. She graduated at the University of Pittsburgh with a BFA in Psychology, where during this time she discovered a profound love for the art of acting. Her career in acting first began in the Philly film community, with a number of short films, commercials, and on-stage performances to develop her craft as an artist and encourage her transition to the New York market. Stephanie is a recent graduate at the Maggie Flanigan Conservatory in NYC under Charlie Sandlan. She just wrapped a lead role in ‘Madison Guerilla'; a project close to her heart about injustice and female empowerment.
Anthony Simonetti, Horse Riding Trainer, playing role of “Sheriff Henry”
Mr. Simonetti has resolved well over 500 extremely difficult horse cases for people across the country. In most cases the resolve is not strictly an issue of difficult horse behavior but rather the need for an adjustment in both horse and human behavior. For the past 15 years, Mr. Simonetti has been doing clinics, demonstrations, taught classes, been featured on national television with his horses, and has been filmed for numerous training programs. Mr. Simonetti has a Bachelor of Science in Business, has been a Real Estate Investor/Broker for over 30 years and has 22 years in Law Enforcement. This experience gives him the unique ability to be extremely effective when its time to communicate and teach the owners, trainers, and handlers how to maintain the respect, mental, emotional, and physical collection of the horses he trains. His direct but very respectful approach has proven to ensure the best results for everyone once his job is complete. Mr. Simonetti is passionate about seeing his clients and their horses succeed. He is an expert in the science of horse behavior which includes a deep understanding of where horses and humans stand in nature and how it all connects to both positive and negative behavior during interaction with each other. This deep understanding combined with the experience of over 500 successful cases has given Mr. Simonetti the very unique ability to get the job done in a time frame that seems to be impossible.