News Column

Albuquerque Journal, N.M., Reel N.M. column

July 21, 2013


July 21--Ryan James' latest idea is taking him global. The American filmmaker, who lives in Berlin, launched his project "World Cast Movie" online recently. The online platform is for actors around the globe to submit auditions for his film.

The film is a comedy about 12 strangers who take shelter in a basement during a solar storm, but soon find that surviving each other is more difficult than surviving outside.

"It's an idea that has been cooking for some time," he says. "It sort of jelled and took in the landscape of how popular crowd-funding models have been."

James says sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo ask fans for donations to help fund a project.

With his idea he's giving actors across the world the chance to audition for his project. In fact, auditions began on July 1, and since then his website has been visited by tens of thousands of users from more than 85 countries. Auditions have come in from more than 13 countries.

As of now, Emily Snell is the lone New Mexican to be featured on his website. Snell has been involved in acting since she was a young child, but devoted most of her performing arts efforts to dance until she became dedicated to theater in her college years.

After performing in several Socorro Community Theater productions, she became involved in theater productions in Albuquerque and received training in film acting from Ovations Film Actors Studio. Since then, she has been a part of both professional and volunteer film acting gigs, and has continued to grow her career.

"We've had many people like Emily audition and they are looking for a break," he says. "It feels great to give the opportunity like this but open it up to the masses. This is what the future of filmmaking is all about."

James, who is directing the film, says he also is an actor and recalls how nervous he was going out to callbacks.

"I wanted to create an environment where the actor will be comfortable," he says. "That's why I went with online submissions."

One may wonder how James will get the 12 actors together once the film is cast. It's simple -- the film studio will come to them.

"Each person cast will receive a blue screen, lights, HD camera and microphone," he explains. "This is what each person needs to create a mini studio in their own home."

James says the actors will be directed via online video conference. The recorded footage would be then sent back to headquarters in Berlin to be edited into the movie.

James says there will be some local shooting in Berlin and limited use of body doubles.

"It will be the first time that a film studio has been decentralized in this way," he says. "It will fully capture the potential of current digital technology and online communications. We want everyone to have the opportunity to audition as they wish and location is not a big deal for us."

Auditions are open until Sept. 1 and shooting sessions will take place for about two or three days in October and November. James says the film will be cut for release in 2014.

"It's a new concept and we're going to see where it takes us," he says. " We've had a great response so far and I want more people to become involved."


Documentary filmmaker Chad Calek will present his latest film, "A Blood Red Sky," at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 23 at the Guild Cinema. Calek and his team of investigators traveled to Northumberland, England's Chillingham Castle, a location believed by many to be the most haunted structure on Earth. They conducted a dangerous and illegal experiment that would determine whether or not psychokinetic ability (mind over matter) is real.

To ensure legitimacy, Calek wanted an independent witness to the events. He invited Ciaran O'Keeffe, a world renowned parapsychologist, author and forensic science authority, to be that witness.

Despite an admitted degree of initial skepticism among all involved, the results of the experiment defied all known logic and scientific explanation, carrying with it the potential to alter reality as we know it today.

Calek has been taking his film on tour in the United States, and Albuquerque is one of the 25 stops. The event will consist of the screening of the film as well as a Q&A session and a meet and greet. For more on Calek, visit to read more about the project.

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ Follow me on Twitter @agomezART. Online

To learn more about Ryan James' project, visit www.


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