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Quendrith Johnson


Quendrith Johnson is filmfestivals.com Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Indie Ani's Pasha Roberts Dishes "Silver Circle" in Toto

 

Intro by Quendrith Johnson

Doomsday scenarios are a favorite pastime for depressives in Spring... hold on, wait a minute! That's just an alternative opening paragraph to the reality we are presented in Director Pasha Roberts' debut feature "Silver Circle."

Here's the conventional opener -- Director Pasha Roberts feature debut animated film "Silver Circle" opens April, 5, at the Laemmle, NOHO. 

Don't miss this missive-in-a-screed for the following reasons: 1) Have you checked your Euro valuation lately?; 2) How about that historic run on silver by the boys from Texas?; and 3) Everybody who wants to pay for the next bailout after Cyprus, raise your ATM card.

Here's the money-meltdown scenario in "Silver Circle": Paypal, and e-currency bit-coin et cetera digital money paths, go belly up when the power is cut. Without the juice, on a dark, unplugged, stormy night, silver emerges as an ad hoc currency because why?

Because "gold is too expensive to use to buy a cup of coffee," as Pasha would put it.

 

Pavel Roberts (Pasha is his nickname) and company raised the $2 M USD and did the animation all in-house with his own studio outside Boston called Two Lanterns. We caught up with him through Matt Johnstone in LA, and got wired in to the SilverCircleMovie HQ in Cambridge, Mass. 

WARNING: The questions have been reworded to protect the uninformed, or, if Pasha takes over the world with an alternative currency he smelts in his studio - do not be surprised, just cut your ATM card in half... several times.

 

Screenmancer presents the Uncensored Pasha Roberts:

Q: Do we still need Hollywood and the machinery of same?

The age of the Internet has made it more viable for filmmakers like myself to grow andexpand without the use of big-wig Hollywood companies. A diversity of ideas can now exist and gain exposure through viral marketing, social media, and new distribution platforms. We are confident in our unique capabilities and the audience we are catering to. We can reach them directly; it’s a very personal relationship we carry with our fans.

(His production company) Two Lanterns Media, (FKA - first known as - Lineplot Productions) was originally started to create 3D visualizations of difficult economic ideas for corporations and businesses. I received my Masters from MIT in 3D Visuals and began the animation studio...it wasn’t until a few years later I realized I wanted to take a more creative route. Animation is definitely less common indie filmmaking because of technology know-how to create something that looks great. We’ve done that. I like to call us a smaller, economical version of Pixar.

I studied economics and finance in my college years and have since been immersed in the finance world. When the recession began in 2007 and Freddie and Fannie began to fall I knew this would be the mother of all stories. The media was pointing the finger in all directions, but one. I felt compelled to tell the story of the collapse in a way that I knew the mainstream media wouldn’t.

Q: You came out of the financial world, can you share how that shaped "Silver Circle"?

I’ve spent many years studying finance and the current financial system of today. Very seldom do people learn about what the Federal Reserve actually does, and that it isn’t even Federal!

Our story explains the way the Federal Reserve inflates currency (prints money) and the detrimental effects it has on the value of our dollar, the middle class and the poor. Many of these economic ideas stem from the Austrian School of  Economics, which praises the free market and the end to central banking. We like silver, because of its ideal characteristics and affordability to the average American.

Q: Switching gears to heavier topics, how did you wrangle Iced Earth's front man Jon Schaffer to jump onboard?

We met one of Jon’s best friends in the earlier stages of production. She introduced us to the heavy metal rock star, and we’ve become great friends ever since. He’s become highly active in the same mission we have, but with his medium of choice: Music. He came to visit the studio back in September 2011 and we recorded a cameo spot for the film. Wait until you see his powerful lines in the film!

(Note: Jon Schaffer's ICED EARTH has a new release out April 15, 2013, "Live at Ancient Kourion," Kourion, Cyprus)

Q: It's one thing to make a movie, another to promote it. Was this a pre-market-saturation, social media carpet-bomb campaign, or what?

We learned quickly that an audience wouldn’t be waiting for an independent film at the finish line, so we began working vigorously to build our fan base. Our Marketing Manager, Megan Duffield, launched our social media presence in 2010 while also promoting the film and building a Silver Circle movement around the country. We’re catering to 3 very specific audiences: Comic book fans, silver/gold investors, and the libertarian-esque crowd.

Silver Circle is being released in theaters in 2013; we are working with Kirt Eftekhar of Area 23A to plan a successful run from coast to coast. We’ll be doing a mix of theater bookings and movie events as our release unfolds.

VOD and DVD’s will follow our theatrical run.

Having more than one medium (in our case our comic book and movie) to work with has opened many doors for us as an independent project. The best part is getting our foot in the door at the eclectic and massive comic book crowd.

With hundreds of thousands, this isn’t a fan base you’d want to miss out on. We are now a part of it, and it’s rocking our world.

Q: Although The New York Times was "iffy" on aspects of the animation, they seemed favorable to your buzz, especially Ron Paul's endorsement. Do you think this kind of political weight helps rope in the general public, and did you contact him first?

We’re very proactive at contacting the who’s who in our niche audiences. People like Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Max Keiser, Glenn “Kane” Jacobs, Jon Schaffer have all been involved or have mentioned us within their networks. The Ron Paul moment was the best part! 

Ron Paul was in a hearing with Chairman Ben Bernanke of the Federal Reserve and when telling the Chairman about “real money” he held up a piece of our silver. You can’t pay for endorsements like that! It was aired all over the world!

The 411 on Pavel ("Pasha") Roberts:

Director Pasha Roberts studied economic and finance and was immersed in the finance world before founding an animation studio. He received a Masters from MIT in 3D Visuals, and in 2002 founded the independent animation studio Two Lanterns Media (formerly Lineplot Productions), which initially created 3D visualizations of complex economic ideas for corporations and businesses.

 

In 2008 Roberts and his company began creating original narrative animation content.  The company’s first fiction animated series, Save Sonny, was viewed by 2.5 million  on reason.tv, and received awards at festivals including the Amsterdam Film Festival.  'Silver Circle' is the company's first foray into feature length animation.

 

In 2013, Two Lanterns Media partnered with Kirt Eftekhar of distribution company Area 23a to distribute ‘Silver Circle’ throughout the US as a theatrical hybrid ‘tour’ of event screenings and theatrical releases in major US markets.  Area 23a’s previous success, ‘Who Killed The Electric Car?’, is a model of how to engage audiences across the nation with politically invested, original entertainment.

 

In addition to opening theatrically in NY (already shown) and in LA on April 5th, ‘Silver Circle’ continues to play at ‘event’ screenings in cities throughout the country in a strategic marketing and publicity campaign that includes partnering with grassroots political organizations interested in the themes of the film. 

More information can be found at: SilverCircleTheMovie.

 

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About Quendrith Johnson

Johnson Quendrith

LA Correspondent for filmfestivals.com


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