We recently connected with indie film producer Mark Stolaroff, who also happens to be the founder of No Budget Film School. He chatted with us about his latest flick, The Last Days of Capitalism.
The Last Days of Capitalism was written and directed by Adam Mervis, the screenwriter of 21 Bridges (which was produced by the Russo Brothers and starred Chadwick Boseman), and National Champions (starring J.K. Simmons, Uzo Aduba, Timothy Olyphant, and many others). Unlike those studio films, Last Days was made on a micro-budget ($40k) and produced by long-time indie producer Mark Stolaroff (the founder of No Budget Film School) and Kenny Harrison, who was a classmate of Adam’s at Florida State University. The cast of two is comprised of veteran actor Mike Faiola (Awkward) and newcomer Sarah Harper. It was shot by AFI grad Bethany Michalski and edited by filmmaker David Au. The music was scored and collected by Alexander Burke, co-founder of the band Magnolia Memoir. This was Adam’s feature directorial debut. It was released by Indie Rights Movies.
Last Days is about a wealthy man who has been holed up high above Las Vegas in a penthouse hotel room for nearly a month, clearly suffering from some unnamed trauma. His night with a mysterious young woman turns into several nights, as he discovers that she is more than a match for him intellectually. She, too, is intrigued and while she initially stays because he is paying her, the two begin a complex relationship that could turn into something more than just lustful desire. But both have secrets, and getting to the bottom of those—without the inevitability of money getting in the way—will be a challenge. Despite the title, Last Days is NOT a political film.
Last Days was shot in 10 days in Las Vegas, entirely in a penthouse hotel room high above the city. We had no permits to shoot in the room, and somehow managed to sneak all our equipment up the elevator without anyone asking any questions. I mean, it’s Vegas, and a lot of crazy stuff happens there, so I don’t think anyone cared. The cast and crew drove up from Los Angeles, where everyone is based. We loaded Adam’s brother’s Suburban up with gear and caravanned to Vegas.
The film is set in the present and was shot in September 2019. It was completed in March 2020 and premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival, right before COVID shut everything down. It ended up playing a number of film festivals—virtually—winning several awards. It was released by Indie Rights Movies in November 2021. It is currently 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Director Adam Mervis got what he likes to call “The Typical Hollywood Screenwriter Treatment” on 21 Bridges, where the writer (and original creator) of the film has no control over the project. He wanted to make something that was entirely his own, so he adapted a play he’d written for the screen, something that could be made on a small enough budget that he wouldn’t get stopped from making it.
The Last Days of Capitalism can currently be seen on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and YouTube.