Baby Galigo Films closing on $10 million deal to shoot two features here starting this summer

Matt Pletcher of Baby Galigo Films said he’s weeks away from signing financing deals worth $10 million to shoot two films here this summer and fall.

Pletcher plans a September shoot for the $2.5-$3 million high school comedy “Sophomores,” a co-production with writer/director Joseph Weisman’s Hidden Treasure Productions.

Then in October he plans to start production on his directorial debut, the $7-7.5 million “Two Loon Inn,” a drama about the friendship between two women, set on a Wisconsin lake. Script is by Laurie Johnson and Pattie Hall.

“When we go into production on ?Sophomores,’ we start pre-production on ?Two Loon Inn,'” Pletcher said. “The production office will be buzzing.”

G. W. Bailey and John Doe will appear in Baby Galigo’s “Two Loon Lake”

G.W. Bailey (TV’s “M*A*S*H,” the “Police Academy” series), a mentor of Pletcher’s, will appear in both films. X frontman John Doe (“Roswell”), a Decatur native, has also signed for “Two Loon Lake.”

Pletcher said the eight-actor ensemble of “Sophomores” will be a mix of local talent and name actors and recording artists.

“Fortunately, I’ve been in the business long enough that I know enough managers and actors to get scripts into people’s hands,” said Pletcher, who has been acting for 25 years.

Prepro is set to begin in late July on “Sophomores,” which will shoot for 27 days in Chicago and the North Shore. “Two Loon Lake” will continue through November, splitting time between Chicago and Wisconsin. “We’ll decide at the last minute where we start, based on the fall colors,” Pletcher said.

He aims to keep much of the same crew working continuously on the two pictures, including DP Pete Biagi (“I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With”), L.A. line producer J.P. Greaney (Bob Giraldi’s commercials), New York production designer Gregory Hill (“Criminal Intent”), and AD Charles Leslie (“Welcome Back to the Barrio”). Casting is by Claire Simon.

Pletcher made his film debut in the 1983 brat pack comedy “Class.” “Subsequently my scenes got cut, but it got me interested in filmmaking,” he said. He’s acted and done stunts in dozens of indies and made a few TV appearances. “I’m on the verge of a recurring role in ?Prison Break,'” he said.

In recent years Pletcher has gotten increasingly active behind the camera. “I realized, in order to get cast in big roles, I was going to have to make my own films,” he said.

He’s got two features nearing completion of post-production. He was co-executive producer of director/co-writer Jaime Mariscal’s action drama “Welcome Back to the Barrio,” produced by co-writer Dave Miller of Mindlight Films.

With Stormy Weather Productions, Pletcher executive produced writer/director Reign Shaw’s coming of age drama “Pain is Love,”?”an art-house movie for teens and 20’s, not something mindless like most films directed at that demographic usually are.” Co-star Adam Mohundro is doing the online edit of “Pain.” Pletcher also acted in both films.

“Barrio” and “Pain” are starting to court distributors. “You want to be able to pay off investors when you hand off to a distributor,” he said. “But unless you’ve got name talent it’s very difficult to get a deal paid off upfront, and you wind up playing the waiting game” for revenue to roll in.

Pletcher sees theatrical potential for both films, combining mainstream and Latino theaters here and possible self-distribution in Latin America, and he said “Barrio” is already entertaining DVD offers. He’s in talks to roll out “Pain” on new satellite-transmitted HD projection technology being developed with a theater chain.

Between securing financing for “Sophomores” and “Two Loon Inn” this month and starting prepro in July, Pletcher heads to Austin to play the priest in “Cake,” Dos Amigos Films’ wedding comedy from director/actor Will Wallace (“The Thin Red Line”). “Cake” features Bailey and Joe Estevez.

Pletcher has a dozen films in various stages of development, including the giant-irradiated-chicken horror farce “King Tori,” to be co-produced with German studio Film Company Berliner. “I’d like to have two or three pictures in production a year for the next 10 years,” he said.