Local filmmakers to be recognized at R.I. Film Festival
EAST GREENWICH — It’s been a very hectic last 37 months for the crew at Verdi Productions, constantly writing script after script and making every scene in every film as pristine as it can be during that constricted amount of time.
However, two high-profile filmmakers from the production company that’s based on the second floor of the old Meeting House on Main Street will be formally recognized by their peers on Thursday for their work on the big screen from this past year.
Chad A. Verdi, president and CEO of Verdi Productions, will be receiving the Rhode Island Producer of the Year and actor/director Tom DeNucci will be honored with the Robert Aldrich Director of the Year for 2013 at the upcoming Flickers: Rhode Island International Film Festival Awards Ceremony at the Biltmore Hotel in Providence.
“It’s been an amazing year,” DeNucci said. “I’ve been fortunate to get the opportunities to keep creating films and telling stories. It certainly has been a busy year. It seemed like it went by in a month.”
In such a short period, Verdi, DeNucci and many area actors and crew members worked diligently in producing a myriad of low-budget, high-quality films with some of Hollywood’s elite talent in multiple genres, such as horror or comedy.
Starting with ‘Inkubus’ back in late 2011, a horror film that featured William Forsythe, Robert Engund and Jonathan Silverman that was filmed in Rhode Island, Verdi Productions has made six films in less than four years, with their two latest works – ‘Army of the Damned,’ featuring noted horror actor Michael Berryman and former NSYNC singer Joey Fatone, and ‘A Bet’s a Bet,’ a comedy starring Oscar-nominated actor Eric Roberts and Silverman – currently in postproduction.
Last summer, DeNucci made his directorial debut with ‘Self Storage,’ a horror flick that was partially filmed at the Self-Storage facility on Post Road in East Greenwich that featured Berryman, Roberts and Silverman. The film is set for release next month.
“Things are good and we’re working hard,” Verdi added. “It’s been crazy. We’ve done three films boom, boom, boom. Then we took a break editing and then we went right back with three films.”
‘Loosies’ and ‘Infected’ were the other two projects Verdi Productions made and released to theaters during that timeframe.
Verdi added that one of the reasons his company has been very diligent in going from one project to the next in rapid fashion is much in part to the large quantity of film equipment Verdi Productions owns and having very little need to rent from an outside vendor in order to make a trailer or change edits to a piece.
“We can move at certain speeds that other people can’t,” he said. “If we have to a reshoot, we don’t have to rent the equipment. We can do a lot of stuff internally and we have some internal people, like Tommy, or some core people helping with the editing.”
DeNucci also stated that making a movie is not much different from working in any other business in terms of the process in how one goes about doing their job, saying the more work the cast and crew at Verdi Productions does, the better they get.
He added that the production company has improved immensely in overcoming many obstacles in the filmmaking process, foreseeing problems before they occur and rectifying them before precious time in a constricted period for filming is lost. One obstacle that is a challenge for every movie, DeNucci said, is going back and forth during the editing process in getting the project perfect.
“That’s one of the hard parts of making a film,” he said. “We care about it so much, it becomes like your own child. At some point, Chad steps in and says ‘okay, we’re taking it away from you now. You’ve done all you can and you move onto the next project.’”
Trial by error has always been part of the process with Verdi Productions, Verdi said. He noted one instance in the production of ‘Inkubus’ where the script was too short in length, which resulted in “the best 62-minute movie you’ve ever watched in your life,” however the film needed to be 85 minutes long.
However, Verdi felt that in admitting to any mistakes that were made and quickly correcting them, whether it was adding more special effects people to the crew or adding more cameras to get the best shots possible, the movie-making process would get better and better down the line for the cast and crew.
“Every movie, we could have pages and pages of mistakes,” Verdi said. “But everyone does and we admit it. We go in and fix them.”
Both DeNucci and Verdi also said that adapting to the film industry’s constantly-changing landscape is a must.
“It went from being where you needed one big name in every movie to needing two or three,” Verdi said. “You go from making a movie at X price and sell it and have it be okay, that’s dropped because as movies are moving out of the theaters, now it’s all about video on-demand, Netflix and Redbox. If you don’t get that distribution, no one is seeing your movie. So as the landscape changes, we have to change.”
“It’s all about adaptability,” DeNucci added. “Being able to adapt quickly to what the market dictates to what they want.”