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Meet the Filmmaker: Lewis Leslie, “Deuces”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
LL: Since an early age, I had a fascination with the people behind the scenes. I followed actors and directors that I liked, and developed a Rolodex in my head of my favorites. Once I learned that, in this day-and-age, it was possible to make movies outside the studio system, I did my research, and went to work. I started out writing screenplays, and in 2010, was fortunate enough to direct my first feature, Killer Ink. From there, I was hooked!

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
LL: Deuces stars Marc Bilker & Andrew Roth. “When dejected circus clown Deuces is awoken by a mysterious stranger, he soon finds himself in a battle of wits with the Angel of Death, and must find a way to defeat the stranger, or risk losing what’s left of his soul.” It’s currently on a festival run, which began with the film winning best cinematography at the Colorado Short Circuit Film Fest in CO Springs. Deuces is also screening at BlissFest333 in August.

Q: What else are you working on?
LL: Dream Hero Productions has one short film One Way & 3 features Strange Company, Battered, and Sinners, Inc. in post-production. We are also in development on two new feature films: The Dying Fields (Billy Blair & Emmy-nominated T.O.N.E-z in talks), and our exorcism film Cross to Bear (Bill Oberst Jr. in talks), as well as a couple more shorts coming down the pipeline before long.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
LL: I gravitate toward psychological thrillers and horror films, but have been known to make a few dramas and faith-based films from time-to-time.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
LL: Dream Hero Productions can be most easily found at www.dreamheroproductions.com, but we are also on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
LL: The EFP has been Denver’s premier showcase of new and developing talent in the Denver area for many years. It’s always an entertaining and exciting display of what Colorado has to offer the world of film. Check it out, and support local artists!

Deuces will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, May 16th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Lewis Leslie, “Mental”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
LL: I became obsessed with movies at a young age. I used to annoy my parents with movie trivia, and information about specific actors and filmmakers. Little did I know, as a teenager and twenty-something in a rock band, that one day I would get the chance to make movies. I have always loved storytelling, and the escape that movies provided, so one day I decided to try my hand at screenwriting. I dove in head first, reading every screenwriting book I could get my hands on, and smashing keys on Final Draft for years and years before mustering up the courage to show anyone my work. After receiving positive feedback, I decided that I wanted to try directing, so I hired a crew and put the cast in place to make my first film, the feature-length grindhouse horror film Killer Ink, which featured a cameo by Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew. The rest is history!

Q: What are we going to see at EFPalooza? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
LL: “When professional insomniac Ty Brown’s music career hits a slump, he grows frustrated by his future step-daughter’s erratic behavior, and must confront her in order to bring harmony back to the household.” Mental is a psychological thriller/horror film that stars Emmy-nominated T.O.N.E-z from the FX show Justified, local actress extraordinaire Mia Klosterman & jaw-dropping newcomer Anastasia Ullmann. It’s a study into the psychosis of a child that doctors have labeled callous and unemotional, and how her instability affects her mother and her mother’s boyfriend’s daily lives. Mental has screened at the EFP, as well as the Peak Film Forum in CO Springs, where it was awarded first runner-up.

Q: What else are you working on?
LL: My company Dream Hero Productions has a few films in post-production, and we are actively developing an exorcism feature film titled Cross to Bear, and The Dying Fields, which would best be described as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meets The Evil Dead. There is always a chance we might explore expanding Mental, as well. I did the NANOWRIMO writing challenge last November, and the book that I wrote was an expansion on the characters from this short, along with other characters from my films and unproduced screenplays. There is definitely potential for more to come from this tale.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
LL: I primarily swim in the waters of horror films, and I tend to focus more on the psychology behind the killer, as opposed to the gore. That’s not to say I don’t bring the rivers of blood when necessary, but I’d rather have the audience try to figure out what makes these people tick, than focus solely on spectacle. I have had the pleasure of working with some of Colorado’s finest FX gurus, and I can’t wait to spend more time on set with the amazing professionals we have in this state.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
LL: Dream Hero Productions posts updates to the following social media sites: www.facebook.com/dreamheroproductions | www.twitter.com/dreamheroprod | www.instagram.com/dream.hero.productions

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about EFPalooza or The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
LL: I cannot recommend The Bug Theatre, EFPalooza, and The Emerging Filmmakers Project enough! This place, and the wonderful people behind their filmmaker showcases, have done a phenomenal job putting Colorado filmmakers in the spotlight. I am beyond grateful to be a small part of the community they have built and supported. I wish nothing but success for the EFP, and all of the filmmakers who have had the honor of showing their work at The Bug Theatre throughout the years. We miss you, Patrick.

Mental will screen Friday, February 22nd at 9:00 p.m. at The Bug Theatre as part of the Dark, SciFi & Horror Shorts block during the 2019 EFPalooza Film Festival.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Lewis Leslie, “Mental”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
LL: I have always loved movies. From an early age, I connected with the stories and the characters, and began following actors and directors whose work I admired. I began writing in my early 20s, and instantly fell in love with it. I read all the books, and wrote and wrote and wrote, until I decided that I was ready to start showing my work to people. By age 32, writing alone wasn’t satisfying my creative urges, so I tried my hand at directing. It immediately became a passion that still burns stronger every day nearly a decade later.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
LL: We are screening the psychological horror film Mental. Logline: “When professional insomniac Ty (Emmy-nominated T.O.N.E-z) Brown’s music career hits a slump, he grows frustrated by his future step-daughter’s erratic behavior, and must confront her in order to bring harmony back to the household.” Mental has been submitted to the Telluride Horror Show and Sundance Film Festival, as well as a number of smaller film festivals. It is also being screened for a select group of Hollywood executives.

Q: What else are you working on?
LL: Dream Hero Productions has three feature films in post-production (Strange Company, Battered, Sinners, Inc.), another in development, and we are shooting the short film Deuces about a hobo clown who confronts the grim reaper the weekend of October 20th, 2018.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
LL: Despite being a devout Christian, I have a tendency to gravitate toward the horror genre, where I find the most entertainment and enjoyment from a filmmaking and audience member standpoint.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
LL: You can purchase my first film Killer Ink, which features Peter (Chewbacca) Mayhew, on Amazon, and visit the Facebook page for Dream Hero Productions at www.facebook.com/dreamheroproductions as well as mental at www.facebook.com/mentalhorrormovie

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
LL: The EFP has been a staple in the Denver filmmaking scene for a long time. It was the first place that was willing to screen my short films, and it continues to grow and nurture the local filmmaking community like no other event that I’ve discovered. I am grateful for the EFP, and the encouragement it has brought to my career through the years. Thanks, EFP!

Mental will screen at The Emerging Filmmakers Project on Thursday, October 18th at The Bug Theatre.

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Meet the Filmmaker: Lewis Leslie, “Faith”

Faith | www.lewislesliefilms.com

Faith_LewisLeslieQ: Why did you become a filmmaker?
LL: I have always had a passion for storytelling, and I’ve been writing for well over a decade. Once HD technology was available that allowed low budge filmmakers to produce quality video productions at reasonable rates, I decided to learn everything I could about the filmmaking process.

I thought, what better way to learn than by doing, and surrounding yourself with others who have more experience? That’s exactly what I did. I shot the feature film Killer Ink with Chris Romero, and from there I was hooked! That was in 2010, and I’ve been making movies ever since.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
LL: The EFP is screening Faith, a film made for the 2014 Project Greenlight competition. Faith stars Luke Banham, Kendra Buck & Lily Clibon. It was shot & cut by Rodney Wess.

Synopsis: On the anniversary of his wife’s death, Eli meets a strange young girl who may help offer him closure.

Q: What else are you working on?
LL: Last fall, I shot my second feature, the psychological thriller Feast or Famine, that stars Emmy-winner Bill Oberst Jr, Andrew Katers, Amirah Lee Counts & Kendra Buck. It is currently in post. We’re aiming for a late 2015 release. I’m always writing, so there’s a good chance there will be more filmed this year, but nothing is set in stone.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
LL: People tend to find it strange that I make horror movies & faith – based films, but that’s just where my tastes lie. I’m gravitating mostly toward psychological thrillers these days.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
LL: Check out my website www.lewislesliefilms.com for samples & info & sign up for the mailing list for updates.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
LL: The EFP & The Bug have been extremely kind & welcoming to me the past few years. It’s a great place to showcase films, get peer critiques & hang out with some pretty cool people!

Faith will screen January 16th at 7:00 p.m. during EFPalooza 2015 at The Bug Theatre.

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January 2015 Lineup: EFPalooza Film Festival!

The 2015 EFPalooza is a three-day film festival celebrating local independent film as The Emerging Filmmakers Project draws close to screening it’s 100BEST-OF-EFP (1)0th film since it began in 2002. The event will showcase the work of more than 40 local filmmakers, featuring favorites from the last 12 years as well as several EFP premieres.

Filmmakers will be in attendance to take part in a spirited ‘talkback’ with the audience. Hosted by The Emerging Filmmaker’s Project and The Bug Theatre, all proceeds from the event will go towards a great cause – improving the Bug Theatre, an incredible venue and a staple of the Denver independent film community.

RSVP to EFPalooza 2015 on Facebook!

Click here to buy tickets

The line up for the 2015 EFPalooza Film Festival includes the following movies:

Thursday – 8:00pm – January 2015 Emerging Filmmakers Project

Trailers for EFPalooza 2015 (04:00)
Being Evel (preview) – Daniel Junge (04:00)
Beyond the Brick: A LEGO Brickumentary (trailer) – Daniel Junge (01:20)
She Dances Free Volume 1 – Jeremiah Zentz (03:41)
A Union Station Symphony – Johnny Morehouse (03:21)
A Game of Numbers – Michael T. Scott (03:24)
Blood – Peter Wigand (11:00)

[intermission]

Monkey – Richard Corso (29:44)

Thursday Facebook Event Invite

Friday – 7:00pm – Friday Night Shorts!

The Denver Actor Project – Brad Stabio (23:49)
Square – Lauryn Guerrieri and Ian Kellett (03:26)
Metamorphosis – Alan Wartes (03:21)
Man Gurgles Mouthwash (and Then Dies) – Leon Welling (1:52)

[intermission]

Faith – Lewis Leslie (02:52)
Cannot Be Defied – John McSween (07:59)
Dink – Jamey Hastings (25:09)

Friday Facebook Event Invite

Friday – 9:00pm – Comedy Block!

Jean Claude Van Damme’s Damn Van (trailer) – Bradley Haag (01:29)
Campus Cops – Alex Brisson (08:16)
Middle Age Women Gone Wild – Nancy Fingerhood (5:45)
Don’t Help Me, Help the Bear – Noah Mittman (05:02)
Social Assassin – Michael T. Scott (04:31)
Guns, Drugs, and Synergy – Matty O’Connor (13:00)
Pitch Perfect 237 – Cook St. Productions (06:47)

[intermission]

A Special Presentation by The Nix Bros

Friday Facebook Event Invite

Saturday – 3:00pm – EFP Premieres!

Endless Taiga – Jose-Luis Fernando Rodriguez (22:38)
Interrogation Room 4 – Bree Katz (03:00)
Family Valued – Nathan Westlake (09:44)
Unredeemable – Luke Ostermiller (12:04)
The Silver Moonlight – Evgueni Mlodik (44:21)

Saturday Facebook Event Invite

Saturday 5:00pm – Blast from the EFP Past!

Clark’s Edible Cupcake Liners – Wendy Duncan (02:00)
The Low Road, Baby – Mark Roeder (04:00)
SwannLove – Condom Style Denver – Swann Christopher (04:33)
Motorcycles & Mayhem – Sean J.S. Jourdan (09:47)
The Other Raul – Raoul Vehill (10:22)
The Man Who Could – Drai Lloyd (03:24)
String Theory – Sophia Rose, Adrianna Veal and David Quakenbush (03:30)

[intermission]

Web of Lies – Kathryn Gould and Nelson Goforth (10:12)
Memphis Psychosis – Kris Hipps (11:00)
Mom Says – Christine McQuillen (09:00)
Breach – Eileen Agosta (04:59)
Aquaphobia – David Quakenbush (03:12)
Served – Patrick Sheridan (04:09)

Saturday Facebook Event Invite

 

Saturday – 7:00pm – Saturday Evening Shorts!

So Dark the Sky – Kendra Fleischman (03:04)
Eggshells – Eileen Agosta (11:37)
Owen – Jon Berndt and Fanci Berndt (06:21)
The Wolves – Kate Lowell (12:30)

[intermission]

Cockroach – Brian McCulley and John Crockett (00:47)
Paper
– Rich Weimer (01:33)
The Character – Michael Bilker (05:05)
Traveler – Ron Hurley (32:57)

Saturday Facebook Event Invite

Saturday – 9:00pm – Closing Night Shorts!

Read Between the Signs – Clayton Garthe (04:36)
Angels of Anbar – Elvis Leon (05:59)
Juice – “Monster” Midian Crosby (04:36)
Mirror, Mirror – Patrick Sheridan (04:35)
Automaton – David Quakenbush (23:00)

[intermission]

Jean Claude Van Damme’s Damn Van – Bradley Haag (40:00)

Saturday Facebook Event Invite

Lineup subject to change!

EFPalooza 2015 takes place January 15th, 16th, and 17th at The Bug Theatre (3654 Navajo Street, Denver, CO 80232), with screenings at 8:00 p.m. on January 15th, at 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on January 16th, and at 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on January 17th.  Tickets are $5 a block or $10 a day, or a full festival pass can be purchased for $15, and are available online or at the door. To learn more visit the EFP website at www.efpdenver.com and The Bug Theatre’s website at www.bugtheatre.org.

The Bug Theatre and EFPalooza 2015 are supported by the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District, The Scen3, Patsy’s Inn Italian Restaurant, Pretty Monkeys Media, FreshFilmNews.com, Plan 9 Studios, Twelve Monkeys Dancing Films, Nebulus Visions Multimedia, Monster Makeup FX, Rocket House, LLC Film Acting Academy of Denver, and cool cats everywhere.

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January 17th, 2013 Lineup

January 17th at 8:00 p.m. $5

Red Nose State (preview) by Michael Mathews (11:15)
Twombley by Zach Eastman (16:00)
Some Days Are Better Than Others by David Quakenbush (4:09)
Guns, Drugs, and Synergy by Matty O’Connor (13:00)
Incubator by Jimmy Weber (6:24)
Monster in the Basement by Lewis Leslie (16:00)

Facebook Event Invite

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October 18th, 2012 Lineup

October 18th at 8:00 p.m. $5

An American Terror (trailer) by Haylar Garcia (1:15)
Trauma (trailer) by Eileen Agosta (2:00)
WORM by David Quakenbush (9:30)
Aquaphobia by David Quakenbush (3:00)
Busted by Jesse Gray (8:44)
The Music Box by Lewis Leslie (6:30)
It’s Done by Eva Geisness (4:00)
ElevenOone by Will Kingston and A.J. Koch (7:30)