So what do you do when your stuck doing independent films for free and no end in sight, you leave the country.....John Ray Gutierrez a San Francisco bay area actor/screenwriter did just that. He traveled to Sweden,Romania and Thailand on a quest to make a film he wrote and would star in "The Lucid Dream." "It all really started when I won an award as an up and coming screenwriter for a trip to Romania. There I met with emerging artists in the film community and pitched my script. From then on it was like a snow ball effect! I met with a Indie film director iulian-manuel ghervas of Romania who had access to Maia Morgenstern "Passion of Christ" and MARCEL l URES "The Professional" and within a week we had them attached to the film."
But it didn't stop there, John Ray befriended an award winning film student (Ekarat from Thailand) who he had met on set of a film for the academy of arts film school in San Francisco. Ek and John Ray instantly became close friends having the same vision of combining indie film markets from different parts of the world. "We wanted to give emerging and seasoned talent from different countries a chance to work with each other on a film that would promote the beauty of the countries while giving the audience a taste of the culture. It's been an amazing experience!"
John Ray then flew to Thailand and met with Ekart. "So here we are in a cafe in Bangkok, Thailand brainstorming on how we could get attachments to the film." Ekarat contacted a friend of his who had friends in the industry and within a few weeks they received letters of intents from three major stars of Asia. Chiaki Kuriyama from "Kill Bill 1", Christy Chung from "the Medallion" and Edel a female singer who is the Britney Spears of China. "No way! I couldn't believe it. I had actually seen Chiaki Kuriyama before Kill Bill 1, in this great Japanese occult film "Batoru rowaiaru" it's a crazy film about a group of high school students who are sent to an abandoned island to kill each other. She was incredible, to act with her is going to be amazing, not to mention Chisty Chung a great actress in her own right and voted FHM sexiest women in the world. It was an honor to get such proven talent behind this film"
Then with John Ray's savings dwindling away he went to Sweden to meet with a friend of his, Fredrik Emilson ,whom he had worked on a previous film with "De ju Vu." And in a small summer resort town Angelholm they began a game plan. They contacted a pal of theirs Patrik Jireland whom had also worked on the film and had a meeting at a local pub Torstens and after a few pints decided on who would be the best fit for the film. "The perfect actress for the role was Tuva Novotny but she was the biggest name in Sweden there was no way we could get her. Patrik says let me see if I can reach her maybe she will like the script." So within a month she agrees to the film." I couldn't believe it! it was all coming together nicely."
From then on John Ray received letters of intent from G?ran Ragnestam who had won numerous awards equivalent to Oscars and the company who did the special effects for "the lord or the rings." He also received a soundtrack from , Grammy nominated "soundtrack of our lives." Then he got the big call, it was with the help of his friend Ekarat of Thailand. The VP of Asian Acquisitions Bey Logan for The Weinstein Company wanted to see them about his film. "When I walked into the office it was so surreal, Mr. Logan shook my hand then said "You have five minutes to convince me why we should make your movie." So I pitched with all my heart and soul and after the five minutes was over he got up and said something like "Well let me read the script and if we decide to do it, this will be a beautiful film." So as I floated out of the office I thanked the lord above and was on cloud nine." Well unfortunate for John Ray he received a phone call a few weeks later indicating that Mr. Logan was looking for more of an Asian themed film, but would be happy to look at anything else in the future. "Well I was crushed, but hey it was honestly an honor to be talking to such a prestigious company just earning their respect as an artist is an incredible feat in itself."
So as of now John Ray is searching other avenues for funding and distribution. He has two indie films due out this summer and has written a new screenplay. John Ray has also just recently finished a film "The Patron" Directed by Wendy Nye Winner of the , "Nicole Kidman Best Actor Award" in Australia "John Ray is an exceptional actor. He listens carefully, to instruction from the Director. As such he always hit his mark while the camera was rolling. He asks intelligent questions pertinent to his character and scenes, and is always alert and ready for anything. I look forward to working with John Ray again...soon, I hope. " What is in the future for John Ray "I'm not going to give up on my dream and now saving up to move to LA that's where all the movers and shakers are and I'm ready to go and fight for my dream." What about the film? "Well I currently writing a journal from the prespective of the main characters view. I want the potential investors to get a feel of where this character is coming from." If interested please visit John Ray at his my space page http://www.myspace.com/johnrayg
Phoenix Good is a freelance writer located in the San Francisco Bay area