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What is Secrets Of The Volkovs about?
Secrets Of The Volkovs is an action-packed thriller that follows Antonin, a police officer who’s been given a nearly impossible assignment. Antonin leaves his fiancé Nikolina and travels to a town far away from his own in an undercover capacity. He is tasked with infiltrating a crime family who the local police know are involved in some serious criminal activity. There’s only one problem; no one in town is willing to provide any information or come forward after being victimized because they are too scared. He must work with the family to discover their dark secrets. This dramatic plot is packed with twists and turns, and coupled with slightly sarcastic narration to keep the reader entertained the whole way through.

What inspired this story?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and in 2019 I was writing sarcastically narrated fan fiction. I got quite a lot of reviews, so I tried my hand at original fiction. Secrets Of The Volkovs is the prequel to my first original story, Family Secrets. It explores the origins of the tension in the second book. The plots for both stories developed more as I was writing. I always start with a loose idea and sort of ‘inspire myself’ as I go forward.

Tell us a little about you, who is Ellie Jay?
Ellie Jay is the pen name of a 20-odd British woman with a long standing love of reading, writing, and anything related to stories. As well as loving fiction, I have a penchant for sarcasm, absurdity and humour. When I’m not writing, I’m either teaching, playing Minecraft, or messing around on the internet, as one does.

How can we read Secrets Of The Volkovs?
Amazon is the easiest place to check this book out. It is available as a paperback, hardback, ebook, or audiobook, and can be bought with the rest of the series, or as a standalone adventure. You can also read my other content or connect with me by checking out my links.

Posted on February 23rd, 2024 by ThePit | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment, Featured

UFO Club was written and directed by Steven Tsapelas and stars Spencer Gonzalez, Eloise Gordon, Paolo Kossi, Josiah Schneider, Jerry Colpitts, and Frank Failla. The movie is a rom-com set in the 90s that follows a “nerd who becomes friends with the most intimidating girl in school because he believes she has a video that could prove the existence of aliens.” You can watch for free on Tubi TV and you can learn more about the movie from our interview with the director.

I love the 90s, UFOs, and rom-coms. The independent film UFO Club speaks directly to me, and I had the absolute pleasure of reading the original script and getting to see this movie go from the page to the screen. The flick’s writer & director Steven Tsapelas chatted with My Hollywood Dream to share more details on making the movie and how you can see it.

Who?

UFO Club was produced through the Long Island-based production company In the Garage Productions, run by husband and wife Ken Frank and Shawna Brandle; it was also made possible by film producer David Rheingold, who regularly champions independent film projects that he believes in. We have an incredible cast of younger actors, including Spencer Gonzalez as the lead William, Eloise Gordon as Alex, Paolo Kossi in the role of Johnny and Josiah Schneider as Chris. Our editor was the amazing Vaj Potenza.

Oh, and I wrote and directed it!

What?

In the year 1998, a nerdy high schooler named William has to strike up a friendship with an intimidating classmate named Alex because he believes she has a videotape that will not only prove the existence of aliens, but will also exonerate his recently incarcerated mentor, UFOlogist Dr. Peter Greenport (Jerry Colpitts). It’s a movie very much informed by my high school experience, combining my then love of The X-Files, with elements of some of my favorite time-appropriate teen rom-coms, like She’s All That and Can’t Hardly Wait. It’s a pure throwback, with a lot of heart, and a fun sci-fi element.

Where?

The film is set in a fictional town on Long Island, and was filmed in some really iconic Long Island locations: including All-American Burger in Massapequa, the Malverne Cinema, and my very own high school in Bethpage. However, we filmed most of the movie in Connecticut, in and around my home.

When?

We filmed UFO Club in the summer of 2021; for many of us, this was our first time back on set after quarantine and it was great to get together and make something. Truly, it was a communal experience. It is set in the year 1998, the year before I graduated high school, and there was something comforting about the nostalgia of “living” in that time period. In filming UFO Club, we really tried to evoke a sense of the late 90s: however, we made not sure to exaggerate that time period, instead trying to play it as real and mundane as the 90s actually felt to those that lived in it. Mostly, this was done through the removal of modern tech, along with the addition of some classic tech: cordless home phones, old tube TVs, and we even found a functioning payphone for one scene.

Why?

In high school, I was in an actual UFO Club in my high school. A guest speaker came to the class and raffled off a video of a purported UFO crash on Long Island; however, the raffle was won by a girl who drew her own name. My nerdy group of male friends knew we’d never see this tape, because a girl would never invite us over their house. I always thought that was an amusing idea: in order for us to see the tape, we’d have to get outside of our comfort zone and TALK to a girl.

This concept was in the back of my head when I met Ken Frank at the Long Island International Film Expo in 2019. He wrote and directed Family Obligations, which won Best Feature that year. We got to talking and found we had a lot of similarities. He had such a great experience making a movie that he convinced me I should do it, too.

Actually, one of the biggest reasons I wanted to make it is because I wanted to involve my family: my wife Ana, our kids Stella and Linus. I used to produce short films and web content with my friends when we were in our 20s, but had been so busy with my day job and raising kids, that I stepped away from it for a while. The opportunity to show kids that you CAN create something, from start to finish, was a major factor in my wanting to do this. And Stella & Linus were very involved. They act in the movie, helped create some props, and were just involved from the beginning to the end. We’re talking about making another movie now (Bigfoot Club) and, once again, the main reason I want to make it is to get them involved.

How?

We’ve had a very successful festival run: winning Best Feature at Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival; Best Comedy Feature and Best Writer at the Chain NYC Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Long Island International Film Expo. Because of that, we were picked up for distribution through My Spotlight Independent, a division of My Production Limited, and are now available on a few platforms: Amazon Prime, Tubi and My Spotlight Independent’s own streaming service. There will be more platforms throughout the year, and we’re excited that more people will be able to watch UFO Club!

Watch Online:

Rent/Purchase:

The Last Days of Capitalism was written and directed by Adam Mervis and stars Mike Faiola and Sarah Harper. The independent drama is about a man and woman who “begin a complex affair over 72 hours in a Las Vegas penthouse” where “both have secrets, and getting to the bottom of those—without the inevitability of money getting in the way—will be a challenge.” Last year we talked to the movie’s producer Mark Stolaroff and spotlighted the film (The 5Ws and How: The Last Days of Capitalism).

You can watch The Last Days of Capitalism on Amazon Prime.

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Six Years Gone from writer and director Warren Dudley is a powerful indie drama that focuses on a single mom whose 11 year old daughter goes missing and how her world comes apart in the aftermath. The cast is led by Veronica Jean Trickettt and features Sarah Priddy, Russell Shaw, Anna Griffiths, and Glenn Salvage. You can learn more about the movie in our spotlight interview with Dudley and you can watch the movie for free on Tubi TV.

Official Description: “Six years after the case of her daughter’s abduction has gone cold, Carrie Dawson is about to put everything on the line to end her nightmare.

Six Years Gone is distributed by Indie Rights Movies.

We are super excited to present our latest indie film spotlight for the crime drama Solid Rock Trust, from director, writer, producer, and editor Rick Ives (IMDb). Last month we took a look at the movie’s trailer and we are so happy to take a deeper dive into the indie.

Who?
This film is written and directed by me, Rick Ives. My directorial debut comes on the heels of working alongside top editorial staff, bringing household stories to life such as Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 3(2023), Ms. Marvel (2022), and Loki (2021). I’ve also been editing low budget features for about 6 years, but it’s my experience on large productions is really what paved the way to the creation of Solid Rock Trust. The stars are Koko Marshall (A Perfect Host, The One You’re With) and Alexander Hearth, along with a deep supporting cast of voice actors. Koko really steals the show as a hacker with a library of languages and accents she uses to misdirect everyone she’s interacting with. The film is worth a watch just for the performance alone. Seeing her switch in and out of accents, characters, and emotions right before your eyes is a magic trick.

What?
Armed with only a laptop, a collection of cell phones and her own wits, hacker Maddie orchestrates a bank heist from an abandoned building. Guiding a team of strangers, she uses her repertoire of accents and personas to conceal her true identity. Inevitably, as things begin to spin out of her control, Maddie must fight to overcome an avalanche of double crossings and obstacles that escalate in complexity as time runs out! Set in an old condemned warehouse, audiences remain on Maddie’s end of the phone call, leaving them asking who they can trust, if not themselves? Part of the game I wanted to play with the audience was to meet every expectation someone will have for a bank heist film and show it to them in a way they’ve never seen before. We have everything in here, but in a way that feels fresh and plays with the tropes.

Where?
I’m in love with abandoned buildings and urban photography, so this film was set right in the middle of one. I also wanted something visually interesting enough to hold our attention for the length of the film but still represented the type of background our main character came from as well as how she felt inside. We searched all over the Atlanta area for properties that were film friendly and matched the tone we wanted, but ultimately found a location only 2 miles away from home. Many people have commented that it must have been a custom built set for the film, but the abandoned auto shop is completely authentic. The desk and computer monitor props were the only things that were not already there.

When?
This film was shot in 2021 and is rolling out now to various platforms. The time period it’s set in is another story. I wanted to keep it purposefully ambiguous, although based on the technology, it would be set some time between 2005 and 2023. I was tired of seeing so many hackers in movies with top of the line, futuristic technology and software. What would it be like to watch someone work who had to patch something together with second hand materials and low tech items that would be harder to trace?

Why?
This film was made as proof that a low budget independent feature can look and feel just as intense and professional as a studio release if the filmmakers have an exciting character driven script, and are smart about what to show and how to film it. We have an amazing lead performance that shows a talented, smart, confident woman who is also deeply flawed and pushed to her limits. Sit back and watch a plot unfold as it begs you to try and keep up with a twist and turn every 10-15 minutes from start to finish.

How?
Solid Rock Trust is available wherever Tubi plays for free as well as Amazon, Youtube Movies, and Google Play for rental. As of June 2023 it will be available worldwide on youtube with more platforms becoming available all the time.

Watch Online:

Detours was written and produced by Mara Lesemann and directed by Robert McCaskill. The movie is a drama about a recently single woman and her widowed father as they drive from New York City to Saint Petersburg, Florida. You can check out our full spotlight on Detours here and you can watch the movie for free on Tubi.

Detours stars Tara Westwood, Carlo Fiorletta, Paul Sorvino, Michael Cerveris, Deirdre O’Connell, Debargo Sanyal, Vanessa Aspilla, and Richard Kind.