Gary and I left career stability at about the same time, almost….wow…four years ago. Believing in our passions and dreams, we threw caution out the door to pursue something more….and we weren’t even married yet. After 10 years with Nielsen I followed my heart and my passions to sip, travel and write about the stories behind our favorite beverage….a luscious glass of lingering, velvety wine.
Gary left his career of 24 years with WFAA-TV as film critic and performing arts reviewer, as well as the often host of Good Morning Texas, to make films, going into business with Richard Toussaint, Derrick Evers and Wade Barker. Richard and Gary had many long discussions about the outlook for the company as they began, focusing on making films with quality, substance and depth, in addition to commercial approachability. Once Lascaux Films was established Gary called on a few past relationships, asking if scripts he had been given to read in his critic days were ever taken to the next step of production.
A call to Dallas native, and head of Latitude Productions, Curtis Burch proved worthwhile as a screenplay that Gary loved was still in the development phase. “Words and Pictures,” written by Gerald Di Pego had one of Gary’s favorite directors attached, Fred Schepsi, and the handsome Brit, Clive Owen interested in the leading male part. Over the course of the next year and a half the process to film “Words and Pictures” began with Latitude in partnership with Lascaux, shooting last March in Vancouver, premiering at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival in a sold-out, Saturday night gala screening, and happily, finding a distribution partner for a May 2014 release shortly after the festival closed.
While working on “Words and Pictures” the Lascaux team invested in “The Starck Project,” as did I, believing in our dear friends Michael and Melina Cain, and their M3 Films producing team, to tell this story about Dallas, TX in the 1980’s when fashion was everything, the television series Dallas was the top of the ratings chart, the Republican Convention was coming and MDMA, or ecstasy, was legal…the story of the Starck Club is as much a story of the process of opening, and eventually closing the club, as it was a look at the city during that time, post Kennedy, the transition from disco to electric dance music, free love pre-HIV and AIDS, but if you were different there wasn’t a place you could go an call your own…until Starck.
A few years ago, shortly after Lascaux was formed, three young men (former classmates of Gary’s oldest daughter) walked into his office with a proposal to help them get a Christian based documentary out to the country by going on tour. Lascaux helped put them on tour with an investment that the three men, now of the company Riot Studios, paid back to Lascaux within a month. Seeing the determination and understanding the drive these guys had Lascaux immediately went into business with them. Last summer Riot Studios filmed a christian based comedy, the first of its kind that we have seen, called “Believe Me.” Made on an incredibly small budget, but with incredibly production quality and some great talent – Nick Offerman, Alex Russel, Christopher McDonald, Miles Fischer, with Will Bakke (one of the three heads of Riot Studios) directing. It is funny, dark, different and witty…exactly what I would expect from Will.
April 3, 2014 the 8th annual Dallas International Film Festival will begin, opening with a screening of “Words and Pictures” for the evening gala event at the new Dallas City Performance Hall, followed through the festival by screenings of “Believe Me” on Saturday, April 5, and “The Starck Project” on April 12 at the Texas Theater.
To say I am proud is an understatement….when you finally see work you have focused on for 3 1/2 years coming to fruition the sense of accomplishment is a great reward…especially as this is just the start for Gary and Lascaux Films. Tickets available on the DIFF site starting Monday.