Thanks to the state treasurer’s Lights, Camera, Illinois! loan program, filmmakers Neil Luspo and William Pierce obtained a $300,000 low-interest loan for their fourth movie.
“We’re moving to another level of filmmaking,” the partners said with understatement, considering their first two comedies were made with budgets of $10,000 and $20,000 and their last film didn’t cost much more.
What helped win quick Lights, Camera approval was a contract the partners’ company, Urban Multimedia Inc./Trio, has with distributor Maverick Entertainment, which enjoyed amazing results with their first comedy.
That film, “My Phamily Barbecue,” was made for $20,000 and more than satisfied the distributor by becoming Blockbusters’ biggest comedy rental of 2005?and it’s still going strong. Blockbusters billed it as “a combination of ?My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ meets ?Friday,'” the Ice Cube hit.
Now the main characters are back in the bigger-budgeted “My Phamily Barbeque Too,” in which the now-engaged Jewish David and African American Mia attend a family reunion.
Cultural differences separate the families, the wedding is called off, but love conquers all. In the end the culturally-accepting families persuade the kids to marry.
Reprising their earlier roles as a couple are Nicole Fitzgerald and Andy Gerhenson. “We are reaching out to Clifton Davis to do a cameo,” said Pierce. “We’d like to sprinkle many of the fine actors of the 1970s and ’80s in our shows and introduce them to a new audience.”
Shooting in HD starts in early July on location at Columbus Park on the West Side. Written by Pierce and Fred Spivey, “Barbeque Too” will be directed by John Ruffin. Pierce also will edit offline. Post Effects will handle sound mix.
Pierce and Luspo’s earlier comedies, in addition to the first “Barbecue,” were “Hostage,” and “Trust,” which is arrives in Blockbusters in June, all via Maverick.
Pierce has been writing and producing films for the past ten years, “fulfilling love for film all my life.” Luspo is a partner in a record label and has a background in music, finance and contract negotiation. They’ve been buddies since high school.
Executive producers are Pierce, Luspo and Jim White. White, who recently produced/directed the TV doc, “The Invisible Men of House: The Legend of the Buffalo Soldiers,” is also involved in the development of “Mahalia!” a major motion picture about the rags-to-riches life of the gospel pioneer.
Urban Multimedia/Trio’s phone is 708/802-1018. Email, email@example.com. Address, P.O Box 1235, Oak Park, IL 60304. Jim White’s at 312/944-1690.
Call Chuck Hagopian of the state treasurer’s office at 312/814/1793 for information about Lights, Camera, Illinois! lending programs.