Making a Movie: The Release and How We Got Here

On June 11, 2019 the movie Apocalypse Island was released for public distribution. The film is now available to order on Amazon, and available to by as a DVD at Wal-Mart, and BestBuy.

apocalypse-island-movie-poster

This news for many people at CATMEDIA was joyous. It meant this project that many of us worked on for years and cared tremendously for was finally being set free. It could finally be seen by all of the people we had been jabbering on about it to for all this time.

The movie has been especially close to my heart and I am beyond thrilled to see this success for it. On the credits, you will see my name listed as Director, among three names as Screenwriter, and you will see it is based on a play I wrote called Mnemosyne— which many who followed this will recall was Apocalypse Island’s original title. From start to finish, I was involved in this project for three years. Then got to hear tidbits of news from the company selling the film for another year.

Embarking on the journey

As most good stories start, it all began on a rainy night. I was watching TV, and I saw a promotion for a show— I couldn’t tell you the name of it— but there was something about a cult living on an island. A thought crossed my mind, one that didn’t often strike me: There’s a better way to do this.

apocalypse-island-movie-scriptThe basic premise of an isolated, apocalyptic cult hidden away on an island mixed with a story I had heard on NPR years before. The premise of the story was about rats having memories implanted to help them solve mazes and to test their reactions to things they had never seen or experienced before. This story, of course, begged the question: what happens when you do this to people? Putting these ideas together, the idea that this cult could be controlled and manipulated through the use of memory altering drugs. What can you trust to be true? How would the characters question the things they once held as absolute truths?

I spent a few months typing out a very rough, very unfinished play originally meant to be performed on stage. It was clunky, long, but and amoebic in structure, but it there was a good idea in there, and some interesting characters. Luckily, I wasn’t the only person to think so.

What’s the movie about?

Apocalypse Island is a southern-gothic thriller that delves into the world of a mysterious, sequestered commune. It follows the story of Cam, the son of Pastor, the tyrannical, yet charismatic leader of the island. When Cam’s sister Reilly falls ill, he must find a way to get her to safety or watch her die. Together with his friend Hannah, Cam discovers the sinister nature of the island. A harrowing game of memory and manipulation unravels—revealing that things are not always what they seem.

Bringing a movie to life

Catherine-Downey-Nia-PeeplesWhen Catherine Downey, CATMEDIA’s CEO, my boss, and my mother said she wanted to produce it as a movie, I blew her off. It sounded like hot air to me. After all, this wasn’t anything like anything CATMEDIA had ever done before and the idea of making a movie with my mom took me a while to adjust to. But she kept bringing it up and kept wanting to discuss the story. Almost a year after I had started writing the first draft, I said, “Sure. When else will I get the chance to do this?”

on-set-of-movie-with-cast-apocalypse-islandAs a company, we sprinted through pre-production in eight months. Major parts cast, crew assembled, locations locked, and equipment acquired. It was a feat that required a titanic amount of hard work from an extraordinarily driven team. The first unit of the shoot took two weeks. First edit two months. When Catherine and I went to the American Film Market that November in Santa Monica trying to get a grasp on what to do next, we walked away understanding exactly how far away from finished this thing was.

Making a movie that’s “Marketable”

nia peeple on setThe first thing that became obvious was that we needed to boost the film’s marketability. It’s something most artistic minds don’t like to ponder. However, the fact is we wanted to see success for this film, and we weren’t going to achieve that without a little star-power. Scenes had to be rewritten, and a second unit of production planned. Ultimately, we were so lucky to cast Pretty Little Liars actress Nia Peeples in the movie as a lurking antagonist and shadowy businesswoman.

nia-peeples-apocalypse-island-movieOne of the coolest moments of my career will probably always be standing in downtown New York City and getting a phone call from Nia Peeples, talking about the shoot we were about to do the following week and planning a time to go over her thoughts on the script and her scenes. Another highlight will be debating with her over phone about how to adjust the scenes, and then pulling my hair and realizing, “Crap! She’s right about everything, I’m going to look like such a newbie on set.”

I would like to think I didn’t look like a newb but you’ll have to ask everyone else what they thought.

Several of the scenes we re-shot in the 2nd unit, many members of our team were excited to have a second go at. And the new additions pumped a new energy into the story. And we knocked it out in four days.

The Final Edit

Apocalypse-island-clipThis time around, the edit moved much more quickly. Working with LeftDigital, we put together a cut we were proud of. BareKnuckles Creative, who are probably some of the coolest guys around, did the sound edit, something that I (as a first-time filmmaker) didn’t understand was as important as it was until we had it. CG Effects were done by Jason Wynn to supplement some shots that needed a little extra something. And Scott Glasgow composed and produced our score. These people really are responsible for pulling the final edit together and making this movie what it is.

When we returned to AFM in November of 2017, this time with a plan and meeting set up with several people interesting in representing the movie for sale. We ended up signing with Summerhill Entertainment. It was their recommendation we change the name of the film to Apocalypse Island. The following year during AFM 2018, they signed a deal with Wild Card, and here we are today!

It’s been a hell of a ride, that’s certain. There is a whole team of people I wish I could write individual articles for. It took a village, and I’m glad and honored to share in this success. Now— go get some popcorn, turn out the lights, and have a movie night with Apocalypse Island!

About CATMEDIA

CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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CATMEDIA a Triple Winner at the 40th Anniversary of the Telly Awards!

CATMEDIA announced today it’s DeKalb County Fire Rescue Recruitment: Answer Your Calling video has had a triple win at the 40th Annual Telly Awards. The video’s been named Best Online Commercial in Craft Editing, General Public Interest/Awareness, and Craft Directing.

This will be the fifth Telly Award for CATMEDIA. The Telly Awards honors excellence in video and television across all screens. Judged by leaders from video platforms, television, streaming networks, production companies. Including Vice, Vimeo, Hearst Digital Media, BuzzFeed, and A&E Networks.

FROM THE TELLY AWARDS

“CATMEDIA is pushing the boundaries for video and creativity at the time when the industry is rapidly changing,” said Sabrina Dridje, Managing Director of the Telly Awards. “This award is a tribute to the talent and vision of its creators and a celebration of the diversity of work being made today for all screens.”

PULLING IT TOGETHER

“We’re so honored to receive recognition from the jury for our work on this project. The DeKalb County Fire Rescue Telly Award Winner Silver and Bronzeis an outstanding and diverse fire department, that really offers so many opportunities for growth and development to its firefighters. Therefore, we wanted to create a video that conveyed that message,” says Brittany Hester, Director/Producer.  Today’s winner’s announcement caps a year-long celebration of the 40th Anniversary of The Telly Awards. Throughout 2018-2019. The Telly Awards celebrated four decades of honoring the video and television industry. Whether through its inaugural international screening series or its online video interviews with industry experts.

This year also saw the continued expansion of new categories further to the awards’ recent initiative to rebuild the honors for the multi-screen era. Consequently, new categories included serialized Branded Content and expanded Social Video categories. Last year, The Telly Awards attracted more than 12,000 entries from top video content producers. This includes Condé Nast, Netflix, Refinery29, RadicalMedia, T Brand Studio, and Ogilvy & Mather.

Winner – DeKalb County Fire Rescue Recruitment: Answer Your Calling Video, has been named Best Online Commercial for – Craft Editing, General Public Interest/Awareness, and Craft Directing

Here is the full list of the 40th Annual Telly Awards winners.

ABOUT CATMEDIA

CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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CATMEDIA Entertainment Announces June Release Date For Apocalypse Island

CATMEDIA Entertainment’s has announced that the official release date of their first full-length feature film, Apocalypse Island, will be on June 11, 2019. The film will be available on DVD or for digital rent and purchase. You can already pre-order the DVD on Amazon, Walmart, and Bestbuy now.

DISTRIBUTION

Since 2018, CATMEDIA has worked with Summer Hill Entertainment to facilitate distribution and announced early this year that an agreement was made with Wild Eye Releasing for the North American market (which includes the US and Canada).

WHAT IS THE MOVIE ABOUT?

Apocalypse Island is a drama surrounding a cult hidden away in the island marshes of the Deep South. It follows Cam, the Pastor’s son, as he seeks to save his sister’s life from a mysterious affliction. In the end, he discovers the true nature of the island he calls home, that of his father, and how unreliable the mind and memory truly are.

CASTING NIA PEEPLES

nia-peeples-apocalypse-islandMost noteworthy, the film stars Pretty Little Liars’ actress Nia Peeples as Claudia, one of the film’s most dynamic characters along with a riveting breakout performance by Dean Kostlich in the role of Pastor.

“After 30 years of primetime TV and films running the gamut in terms of budget, name value, and quality, it’s always refreshing to step into a company of filmmakers who are fresh and imaginative, and inspired rather than jilted. The experience of enthusiasm and “dream-making” can be intoxicating. It reminds me of my beginnings.” – Nia Peeples

WOMAN-PRODUCED

In addition to being the company’s first narrative feature film, Apocalypse Island is also a woman-produced film.

“Historically, the movie and production business has predominantly been a man’s world. The fact that a small woman-owned company has been able to finance, write, and produce a movie is phenomenal. Not just produce any movie, but produce and score a full-length feature film that we are proud of.”

When asked about the challenges of producing an independent film, Downey says, “Being completely independent limits you in terms of budget, but frees you in terms of how you tell your story.”

BEHIND THE STORY

William Warren, who co-wrote and directed Apocalypse Island, says the story was the culmination of two different ideas he had been working on for some time.

“Years ago I heard a story about scientists who had implanted memories into lab rats, and the idea stuck with me. Years passed and onescene-outside-apocalypse-island night I was watching TV and a promo came on for a show about a cult on an island. I thought—I can do something like that. So I opened up my laptop, and about 10 months later I had a very rough, very long play typed out. Little did I know that three months later I would be producing it as a movie.”

KEEPING IT LOCAL

As a testament to such a booming film industry in Georgia, Apocalypse Island employed mostly local crew and talent. As well as being shot on location within the surrounding Savannah and Atlanta metropolitan areas.

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DVD and digital sales begin on June 11, 2019. You can already pre-order your DVD copy on Amazon, Walmart, and Bestbuy.

ABOUT CATMEDIA

CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Stay Connected with CATMEDIA:
For more information, please visit CATMEDIA

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