By Sahil Patel
The team behind “First Impressions,” a clever short-film released last June starring YouTubers Chester See and Hailey Bright, is back with a new project.
George Ruiz, president of Intelligent Artists and SVP of Bedrocket Media Ventures, and writer-director Leo Kei Angelos are following “First Impressions” with “Everlast,” an upcoming horror short-film set in the world of mixed martial arts, for the YouTube channel BlackboxTV.
Currently in post-production, the film tells the story of an MMA fighter named Angel Shepard, described as a “proud, strong, and undefeated” fighter. One night he is approached by a stranger offering him legendary fame, as long as he’s willing to risk everything.
The cast includes Vine star Kevin McNamara (Fox Digital Studios’ “Suit Up”) as Shepard, retired MMA legend Frank Shamrock as his in-cage enemy Nikolai Faust, and Josie Loren (ABC Family’s “Make It or Break It”) as Shepard’s loving girlfriend. Doug Jones (“Hellboy,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”), who starred as the villain in “First Impressions,” returns as the mysterious stranger.
Co-written by Ruiz and Angelos, and directed and edited by Angelos, the film was shot primarily at YouTube Space LA, where the crew built a state-sanctioned fight cage inside the facility’s Stage 1.
“Everlast” is produced by Bedrocket Media Ventures in association with Ketchum Labs. Ruiz, Tony Valenzuela, Kevin Abrams of Ketchum Labs, and Russ McGrane served as producers.
Financing came, in part, via Creative District, a new online professional network for filmmakers from Technicolor. Creative District has a grant program for filmmaking projects, which the “Everlast” team was awarded (in the digital short category) after submitting their script.
The filmmakers are currently targeting a June premiere on BlackboxTV, the horror-themed YouTube channel run by Valenzuela.
In the meantime, here’s “First Impressions,” which, if you haven’t already seen, has a pretty nifty twist at the end.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said BlackboxTV was a joint venture between Tony Valenzuela, Collective Digital Studio, and “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker.