What is your book about? 
Rise of the Sidekicks is about a group of kids with superpowers and their fight against a nefarious villain trying to take over their city. At the start of the story, the kids are training to become sidekicks for the city’s elite group of superheroes, the Guardians, but when mysterious circumstances lure the famed heroes out of the city, a new threat emerges. A villainous man calling himself the Hero Smasher declares war on all supers, taking Nexus City hostage with his mind control abilities and an army of robots. With the Guardians out of the picture and time quickly running out, it’s up to a group of super-powered sixth graders to rise up and find the courage within to take on a super villain before their city is lost forever.

What inspired this story?
My family watches a lot of Marvel movies, so unsurprisingly superhero themes work their way into my writing. But in most superhero movies and books, the main hero (usually an adult) is the one that defeats the story’s villain. My idea for this book came about when I was thinking what if the main superheroes were somehow out of the picture and it was up to the sidekicks to save the day instead. I also pictured the sidekicks as kids, still coming into their powers and counting on the adults to stop the bad guys. The idea grew from there and I wrote it as a middle grade level book for my son, who the main story character is inspired by — Ethan Parker (Ethan, my son’s first name and Parker, the last name of his favorite superhero).

Tell us a little about you, who is Charity Tober?
As it is with many authors, I can list writing, reading, and an unhealthy love of coffee as some of my most defining qualities. Watching movies, doing puzzles, and visiting theme parks with my family (central Florida has no shortage of those!) are other ways I like to pass my time. And cats, I love cats, just ask my husband! Rise of the Sidekicks is my first middle grade novel and I’m working on several more, to be released later this year and next.

How can we read Rise of the Sidekicks?
Rise of the Sidekicks is available on Amazon (eBook, Paperback, and through Kindle Unlimited).

Cybernetic Showdown from Ian Russell is a micro budget comedy/sci-fi flick about a world overrun by mutants, and the one man that stands in-between them and the last city. The movie stars Tyhr Trubiak, Stephen Washen, and Veronica Ternopolski.

You can rent/purchase Cybernetic Showdown on Amazon Video or Gumroad.

Posted on June 3rd, 2021 by MHD | Leave a Comment
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Sofa King *Or, No Man Is an Island, Even with a Cooler Full of Beer is an indie film from In The Garage Productions and director Kevin Wolfring. The movie focuses on Matt, a man who “failed to launch as either an architect or an adult” and “vows to sit on the couch all day in hopes that accomplishing that one goal will give him clarity about the future. Matt is joined on the couch by friends old and new, who ultimately help him realize that he needs to stop sabotaging himself and get off the damn couch.”

Paul Hinkes stars as Matt and is joined by Chandler Rosenthal, Angelica Adams, Jarrett Jung, and Aaron Poon. Sofa King is available to watch for free on Tubi TV.

In the past we have spotlighted the trailer for Gabriel Rhenals’ For My Sister, a drama that focuses on depression and tragedy, and it is also apart of our #IndieFilm100 series on Twitter. We talked to the writer/director about his debut feature film and the process of putting it all together.

Who? 
I, Gabriel Rhenals, am the writer, producer, director, cinematographer and editor of my debut feature, For My Sister. I’m an award-winning, independent filmmaker based in Miami, Florida.

The central protagonist of the film is Evie Sorella, a young woman desperate to save her sister Tris from the grips of a serious and worsening depression. Evie is played by the staggeringly talented Stephanie Maltez, who I’d collaborated with before on two short films. The rest of the principal cast includes Cristina De Fatima (as Tris Sorella), Natalie Ramirez, William Guevara and Mireya Kilmon. The film also boasts an assortment of spectacular supporting players, nearly all hailing locally from South Florida. [Distributor] Indie Rights was responsible for securing the film’s present home on Amazon Prime Video and Tubi.

What?
For My Sister is about mental illness, its societal stigma and the testing of a sisterly bond. The story was inspired by my own personal experience with mental health issues and those of others I know. Miami-Dade County, where I live, has the highest percentage of people living with severe mental illness than any other urban area in the U.S. As such, I was compelled to make the film as much out of a moral duty than a purely artistic inclination.

Where? 
For My Sister takes place in a nameless city but the film was produced throughout Miami, Florida. The various locations were approached in guerrilla filmmaking fashion and included several apartments, a hospital, a university, an office building, a cemetery and the city’s rail-transit system. I feel the considerable number of locations add to the scope of the main character’s odyssey and gives the film an elaborate and unique Miami signature.  

When?
The script for For My Sister was written during the summer of 2018 and production began immediately after the script’s completion in fall 2018. Production lasted eight months with filming taking place primarily on weekends to accommodate the schedules of the actors involved. Filming wrapped in spring 2019. The post-production period was unusually brief as most of the editing was performed during the weekdays between the weekend shoot dates throughout the production schedule.

For My Sister was premiered at Coral Gables Art Cinema on June 29th, 2019. It was a well-attended premiere (which included several film critics and a Florida state senator) and easily one of the most important and memorable days of my entire life! A few other theatrical exhibitions took place before the film found a home on streaming services in late 2020.

Why? 
I made this film because I wanted to eventually make feature films ever since I started on my path as a filmmaker nearly 20 years ago! Prior to this feature, I had written, produced, directed, shot and edited 16 short films and written a few feature-length screenplays. After all that, I felt it was high-time for my entry into the feature filmmaking realm.

How?
For My Sister was filmed using my phone, Samsung Galaxy S9+, on a budget of about $6,000. There was no crew beyond myself. I believe productions like these represent a watershed moment in the world of independent filmmaking. There are literally no excuses anymore to write a script, get some creative personnel together and realize a vision. The times they are a-changin’!

For My Sister is available to rent or buy on Amazon Prime Video and to watch on Tubi (FREE with ads)! I would like to encourage anyone who sees the film to support indie filmmaking by leaving a review, brief or otherwise, on either Amazon Prime Video, IMDb or Letterboxd. The entire cast of the film and I would greatly appreciate it!

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Dance Baby Dance, by Stephen Kogon, is an independent movie that was released in 2018 and stars Beverley Mitchell (7th Heaven), Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911), Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recreation), and Kogon. The movie is about a dancer who overcomes injury and age-related obstacles to still pursue his lifelong dance dream. Writer/director Stephen Kogon told us that with Dance Baby Dance, he “wanted to make a fun, lighthearted and inspirational film about an underdog going after a dream.”

You can watch Dance Baby Dance for free on Tubi TV or you can rent & purchase it on Amazon Video.

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Zellco Entertainment presents the found footage horror flick Blood Mountain. Directed by Jason Wan Lim, the movie features three mountain bikers on a trip through the mountains when one disappears and they discover they are in the sites of a group of hunters. The movie stars Stafford Perry, Joe Perry, Joshua Murdoch, Genevieve Carre, Jason Schneider, and Meredith Bailey.

You can watch Blood Mountain on Amazon Video (free with a Prime membership) or purchase/rent it on Gumroad.

Posted on May 28th, 2021 by MHD | Leave a Comment
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What is your book about? 
Heart of Stone is about teenager Samantha Abraham, a picked on outcast at school who falls in love  with a strange new foreign exchange student named Joshua. He’s great at hockey, gorgeous, and might just be a golem. Together with her equally unpopular best friend Duckie, they navigate the social  hierarchy, dodge the mean girls, and try to uncover the truth about Joshua’s origins. The book is a little bit Sixteen Candles and a dash of Young Frankenstein with some paranormal/horror elements. 

What inspired this story?
I wanted to write an 80’s inspired teenage horror story that was both current and offbeat. Initially I was trying to write the most out there version of the Twilight style YA trend, taking the logical  progression of Dracula -> Werewolf -> Frankenstein. I thought, those kind of stories usually have fairly shell-like characters designed for the reader to imagine themselves in the role, so what’s more shell-like than a golem? I wanted this to be a parody, but loose enough that it can still work in a serious way.  The series builds as it progresses into more comedic areas, easing in more appearances from the crazy cop Frank Malone, who appeared in my movie The Killing Death, which Heart of Stone is set in the same  universe. 

Tell us a little about you, who is I. D. Russell?
I’m a bit of a jack of all trades kind of guy. Film buff, martial artist, Dad, indie filmmaker, author, gamer, retro pro-wrestling enthusiast, reader, collector, and YouTuber. I can’t sit still and I’m always either working on another book (I’ve got 25 more written in various stages of editing), writing a screenplay (lots on the go that will hopefully be up on screen in the future), reading five or more books at once, training in BJJ or Hapkido… you get the idea. I’m an 80’s child and that’s where my sensibilities come in terms of action movies, horror movies, comedies, etc. Everything I make blends a bit of what I came up with, like The Monster Squad, Police Academy, The Naked Gun, Bruce Lee movies, video games, and schlocky pulp books. Eventually I hope someone notices. 

How can we read Heart of Stone?
Heart of Stone is Book 1 of the “High School Hell” series. You can find the whole series on Amazon: 

The series is also available on the Ringo Jones website and in select stores in Winnipeg.

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