THE INSIDER: SFF Rewind with Director Steve Tatone!
Beautiful Noise was one of the most popular films at last year's festival. The combination of a fantastic musical soundtrack, handsome production values, an engaging cast and an inspiring storyline made this locally produced feature a favorite for many. Now director Steve Tatone is tackling a thriller with Armand Assante titled Blind Pass and planning a return to the Beautiful Noise franchise. We caught up with him recently and this is what he had to say!
INSIDER: What has been happening with Beautiful Noise since it played at the festival?
STEVE TATONE: The film played exceptionally well at SFF and other film festivals. Because of the strong audience reactions at SFF and elsewhere, I decided (after consulting several colleagues in the industry) to pull back on Beautiful Noise and concentrate on the next film in the franchise, Serenade. The new movie focuses on events that took place before Beautiful Noise and will have a little better budget. The plan is then to focus on distributing Serenade either through traditional means or digitally following the Ed Burns model, and then releasing Beautiful Noise afterward so that the films play in chronological order.
INSIDER: What else can you tell us about the Beautiful Noise franchise?
STEVE TATONE: It's been a very interesting journey with the film. It's taught me a lot. The soundtrack album was a smash in regards of one out of four people who saw the movie bought the soundtrack (now available on iTunes, Amazon, etc.) on the spot. The focus right now is on the overall franchise that includes a potential TV pilot and possible stage play. This requires a well thought out strategy. We hit on something with a unique storyline filled with original songs and I need to provide the best opportunity to expose all the potential of it.
INSIDER: Tell us about your new movie Blind Pass. What genre is this film? What is it about?
STEVE TATONE: The journey of Blind Pass could only be called amazing. It's a thriller. Quite frankly it was supposed to be a quick production meant to keep the people in my group tuned up. Go out and shoot a small film on a very small budget. Shoot it in 10 to 12 days and just have some fun with it. I wrote the first draft in 10 days. Then the script took on a life of its own. People who saw it encouraged me to take another look at what I had written because they felt it had the potential to be more than a quick little film.
The next thing I knew I had Armand Assante calling from Europe saying he had just read the script and would love to play this one character. It just took off from there. I was blessed to get people with the reputation and standing of Armand Assante, Chris McKenna (CW's 90210, NCIS: LA), Michael McGlone (Ed Burns' The Brothers McMullen, Crash the TV Series, The Bone Collector), Ed Lauter (currently in The Artist) and more. Add to that local talent highlighted by Danielle White who moved back to Sarasota to participate in this film and return to the Beautiful Noise franchise. It's really been a whirlwind. I finished the last draft for Blind Pass over the summer and started shooting late this past fall. Blind Pass turned into something unique and edgy and completely different from Beautiful Noise.
INSIDER: Was Blind Pass shot locally?
STEVE TATONE: We shot for a few weeks in Sarasota and then nine days in Ireland and another four or five days in Sarasota. We just wrapped principal photography last month and I'm looking forward to the postproduction process.
INSIDER: Did you have a higher budget for Blind Pass? And if so, was that a result of Beautiful Noise's success?
STEVE TATONE: Without question the splash we made at the Sarasota film Festival really put our company Midnight Pass Productions on the map, not only here locally but also in the general entertainment business. Not that we set the world on fire, but when we saw the reaction of people realizing that there was a feature film company in Sarasota it was a lot easier for me to knock on a few doors locally to get the locations and a little bit bigger budget.
Don't be mistaken by all the name actors. Everybody worked for scale and back-end profit participation to get this movie made. It looks like a $20 million film but the budget was not that much more than Beautiful Noise. This is still an ultra low-budget film. I was able to make an incredible film with another incredible soundtrack-though this movie one is not a musical-because we were met with open arms by people saying, 'Oh you're the ones who made Beautiful Noise'. They had seen it, heard about it, read about it. We found that we had an amazing support system in place when we went to make Blind Pass. People seem to be really thrilled with the fact that there is a full-blooded feature film company here in town making indie films that have a chance to get worldwide distribution.
INSIDER: You sound like a man on a mission. Tell us more about your overall goals.
STEVE TATONE: We're on a mission to prove two things. One, taking a nod from Ed Burns, that you don't need to spend millions of dollars to make a great film in this digital age and Two, if the words are on the page, if you have a great story, it will attract talent both in front of and behind the camera who will participate at a very low cost.
It's a really exciting time for Sarasota filmmaking and for our company in particular. I think we've got a tiger by the tail, a potential sleeper hit, and I'm just going to be careful and take my time and do as much postproduction as I can right here in town and then surprise folks later this year when will begin submitting it to film festivals.
I'm also on a mission to make the industry see Sarasota as a hotbed for independent filmmaking. I think people were pleasantly surprised by Beautiful Noise and I believe they will be absolutely floored to see what we've accomplished on Blind Pass. This will look like a studio film.
Then this should lead to what I believe will be a substantially bigger budget for Serenade which is kind of Beautiful Noise on steroids. I think it will play on the same kind of platform as big-budget Hollywood musicals. And I think the key to it is that we're being very bold in our approach with the story that is filled with original songs. I'm really proud that it is born and bred here in Sarasota.
Photographs provided by Rod Millington
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