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Avon Filmmaker Refocuses Previously Hollywood-Bound Movie on Local Production, Fundraising

Avon's Brian Spectre, owner of Farmington Valley production company Atlantian Films, still has plans to donate a portion of the proceeds for feature film, Mindscapes to cancer research and awareness.

When negotiations with Hollywood for Avon filmmaker Brian Smith's Mindscapes science fiction trilogy boiled down to a choice between selling the script but not being involved and keeping his local actors and crew, the choice was simple.

"When it came down to negotiating with the major film studios, I had to say, 'no' because they basically said, 'because you have a cancer history, we're not going to insure you guys,'" said Smith, who goes by Brian Spectre in the film world. "And also they finally said, 'We'd like to just buy your script. We're not going to bring your crew and you to Hollywood,' which was the overall plan in the first place. So I had to make a decision and the decision was no because my crew and the people I work with are more important to me."

The Hollywood studios also wanted to take the film outside of Connecticut when he and his Atlantian Films, LLC production company staff "wanted to have it here."

While Spectre said the major studios "wanted to make more of a franchise" out of his Mindscapes trilogy, he decided in August to "go back to the indie route."

“We want the people, especially in the Northwest corner, to feel like they're a part of this," said Steve Emirzian, a Canton resident and Spectre's colleague at Atlantian Films.

Spectre previously said he began writing the Mindscapes screenplay while undergoing chemotherapy during a 20-year battle against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In Mindscapes, James Michael (Spectre), a CIA agent with telepathic abilities — a Mindscape — enters the mind of a senator’s daughter to wake her up from a coma. He races to find a secret code hidden in her psyche before rogue Mindscape Gerth (Emirzian) can harness the Mindscapes' power for evil.

Many people involved in the film are cancer patients or survivors or cared for a loved one with cancer. Spectre wants to give them a creative outlet through the film and, in doing so, hope.

Back at the indie level, Atlantian Films is requesting donations to help fund the production of the film and raise money for a new Sony F5 video camera to shoot in the dark. Donated equipment is also welcomed, Spectre said. As of Feb. 15, Atlantian Films had reached $950 of its $10,000 goal on its indiegogo.com fundraising page.

Atlantian Films, which recently relocated to New Hartford, reached a film distribution agreement this week for Mindscapes with a Los Angeles-based company that "distributes worldwide," Spectre said in an email.

Avon's Maura Fitzgerald and Nancy Anstey are now the producers of Spectre's feature film and the production company is looking for an executive producer.

Atlantian Films has already "shot quite a bit of footage," Production Manager Laurie Comstock Ferguson, of New Hartford, said. Spectre and Collinsville resident Akis Yerocosta, second unit director of photography, said they plan on reshooting Mindscapes in high-definition. Yerocosta said the project is moving in a good direction and that "we’re a little anxious to get filming."

"We'd like to be shooting in March," Emirzian said.

Hollywood or not, Spectre's original mission has not changed. His focus is still on making a film shot mostly in Connecticut using local talent. He plans to film in towns spanning from Avon and the Farmington Valley to Danbury, as well as some out-of-state locations like  New York, Maine and possibly Florida.

As a cancer survivor, Spectre has long planned on donating a portion of the proceeds from Mindscapes to combat cancer. So, Fitzgerald said that she is working on obtaining non-profit status for Atlantian Films by the end of the year.

Spectre also has plans to open a film school, including cancer survivors and patients, to teach the art of film in conjunction with the Mindscapes project. But the opportunity will be open to anyone. The program is currently running on an informal basis, by request, and is presently free of charge.

Atlantian Films is also seeking volunteers to be involved in the film for everything from extras to behind-the-scenes roles to help with tasks like catering, costuming, lighting and seeking filming locations, Fitzgerald said. Anyone interested can contact Fitzgerald at 658-7099 or mfitzgerald@simplyeventfull.com.

As Fitzgerald puts it, Good Will Hunting was an independent film shot in the Boston area.

“Why can’t we do that here in Connecticut?" she said.

You can donate to Atlantian Films for the Mindscapes at www.indiegogo.com/projects/mindscapes or send donations to Atlantian Films, LLC  at 34 Tamara Circle, Avon, CT 06001. A short video with information about the project is also available on the indiegogo.com page. You can also donate through www.paypal.com or email Atlantianfilms1@gmail.com for more information. Atlantian Film's Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Atlantianfilms.

End cancer now February 16, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Contact mfitzgerald@simplyeventfull.com she can give you the current status of the 5013c
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) February 16, 2013 at 02:08 PM
As reported in the story, Atlantian Films is working on gaining non-profit status by the end of the year. I've forwarded your question to their staff to ask about whether donations are tax-deductible. Jessie Sawyer Editor, Avon Patch
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) February 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM
I just got an answer from 'Mindscapes' Producer Maura Fitzgerald: "We are in the process of applying for the state and federal 501(c)3. Once these are approved all donations will be tax deductible. Individuals will receive a letter from Atlantian Films informing them that their generous donation is now tax deductible." Hope this helps! Thanks for reading Avon Patch.
Liz Lukas February 16, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Just to be clear, nonprofit status covers a lot of potential corporate structures. Even if it becomes nonprofit, it must actually be a charitable organization, i.e. 501(c)(3) status - which is a reference to federal tax code, or similar designation before donations would be tax deductible to donors (there are other parts of the tax code that allow donationsn to be tax deductible). It would be interesting to compare crowd-sourced efforts for other businesses to film-making such as this. For example, Kickstarter. It would be interesting to learn about any organizations in the region that participate in Kickstarter - story idea? Note to the author - you have some typos, name capitalization and use of form instead of from.
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) February 16, 2013 at 02:42 PM
Thanks for catching those, Liz. They've been corrected. My apologies. If any other independent filmmakers (specifically ones in the Farmington Valley) would like to share how you've raised money for your film project, please tell us in the comments or email me at Jessie.Sawyer@patch.com. Thanks!
Joe Anderson February 16, 2013 at 06:51 PM
This sounds really great, looks like this will be an incredible movie with a unique topic that is hardly talk about in hollywood or that matter ever displayed in Hollywood movies. I'm an Actor and would love to know more about the project. I did have a question or 2 if you don't mind. 1). What Studio were you dealing with. I have a few connections myself. 2). Why couldn't you make a deal, since it sounds like you had a pretty good thing going on. Hollywood loves unique stories and this is something they would love to develope into a feature. There should be a problem to get this Feature started. I'm an actor myself and would love to be part of your project, I'll get in touch with you.
Stephen Emirzian February 16, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Hi Joe, we'd definitely keep you in mind as an actor since we intend to give priority to those in the Valley. We can't legally name the studios but they were big. Also, it's not that we couldn't make a deal it's just what they were asking of us was too great a price in terms of giving up CT locations and the local crew that Brian had come to respect. Brian's dream has always been to make films in CT and to show appreciation and loyalty to his friends and family. The cancer issue was a major concern. Even though it's illegal to discriminate that often doesn't stop organizations and companies from doing the wrong thing all to make a buck. Brian intends to create a film school for those who are often tossed aside because of illness. We respect that.
Spock Doc February 16, 2013 at 07:35 PM
you need to check your spelling too- just sayin'.... ; )
Stephen Emirzian February 16, 2013 at 09:17 PM
You may also wish to join us on Facebook by like our Atlantian Films page or joining the "Friends of the Farmington Valley Film Commission" to get updates on any productions going on in or near the Farmington Valley.
Liz Lukas February 16, 2013 at 10:42 PM
Point taken (although comments are not anyone's work product). Also, I don't get paid as a member of a profession in which attention to detail in the form of proofing is a basic element. If one doesn't push for quality, one chooses to live with mediocrity.
pblack February 18, 2013 at 09:29 PM
My son is a very successful entertainment lawyer in Hollywood. He represents virtually every major studio and quite a few independents as well. As an Avon resident, I was excited about the news of a local film maker living here in town. When I heard about Atlantian Film's quest to make a film with Hollywood, I asked my son what he knew about it. He checked his sources at the studios, and told me that nothing of the sort had ever crossed a single desk at any of the studios. I'm starting to think that this whole "Hollywood" thing is nothing but a fabrication on the part of Atlantian Films to get attention. I asked my son about what "legal" obligations Atlantian would have regarding not revealing the names of the studios it had dealings with and he told me "none whatsoever". If there was no contract, there is no legal agreement to violate. Perhaps you should dig a bit deeper into this story. I smell something fishy. P. Black
Friend of Joe's February 18, 2013 at 09:55 PM
Easy cowgirl! Don't get your petticoat in a bunch! I read the article and it doesn't make any sense. Why would anyone turn down money? Brian could use that money to start his school. Now he has nothing and is going around begging for money and isn't even a legal non-profit company! That's just, as they say on the prairie, "loco"!
End cancer now February 19, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Always a bully picking on the cancer survivors! He said it was more important to do the movie with his own film company then sell out his script! Duh!! They also said they would not insure them due to cancer. That sounds like discrimination.Watch the tv interview! I have an idea. Lets get your lawyer son get them a deal with all of those 300 plus Hollywood Film companies he works with! I am sure Atlantian will be most grateful instead of bullying comments! My friend passed away two years ago and worked with Atlantian. Don't ruin something good!
Blah blah February 27, 2013 at 06:00 AM
Please do not donate. He is not legit.
Stephen Emirzian February 28, 2013 at 05:04 AM
Got to love people like "Blah blah" who's too afraid to use a legitimate name but feels it necessary to spew hatred and lies. Why are you so frightened, "Blah blah?" What exactly isn't "legit" (besides your name)? People attacking those with cancer or ill health are pathetic. Get a life.
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) March 01, 2013 at 04:41 AM
Folks, I had to remove a comment that violated our terms of use. Please be respectful and refrain from personal attacks. Jessie Sawyer Editor, Avon Patch
Blah blah blah March 01, 2013 at 04:56 AM
No freedom of speech here? Nothing vulgar was said.
Jessie Sawyer (Editor) March 01, 2013 at 05:26 AM
You can review our terms of use here for a reminder about what's acceptable in the comments. Comments violating our terms of use will be removed. http://avon.patch.com/terms
G. McCurdy March 01, 2013 at 11:50 AM
There is no freedom of speech right for privately owned property or websites. Free speech is only relevant in respect of a forum owned by the government, e.g. a public square or a public school.
Colleen Kerwick,Esq. March 01, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Dear Blah Blah: Atlantian Films was incorporated in January 2013 and is in the process of obtaining charitable status. We are in pre-production on a feature film called "Mindscapes", which has received Hollywood and international interest. Kindly cease and desist from making libelous comments under any of your aliases. It's the same IP address. We would rather not obtain an injunction against you, as our time is better spent benefiting cancer survivors, local businesses and the arts. Thank you Colleen Kerwick, Esq.
Blah blah blah March 02, 2013 at 03:50 AM
My comments are my opinion, and the comment which was found offensive, was deleted within minutes. If I intended to continue to share my opinion on the subject, I would have done so then.
Sonya Chrucky August 22, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Omg Brian, how are u, Sonya
Maura fitzgerald April 18, 2014 at 12:18 PM
As of December 27th 2013, Cancer Survivors Who Can Charities, Inc. obtained their 501(c)(3) from the IRS. We are also registered in the State of CT under Non for Profit Organizations.
Maura fitzgerald April 18, 2014 at 12:21 PM
As of December 27, 2013 Cancer Survivors Who Can Charities, Inc. affiliated with Atlantian Films, LLC, achieved their 501(c)(3) status from the IRS.
Maura fitzgerald April 18, 2014 at 12:27 PM
CSWC Charities Inc. is a registered non for profit in CT under the Consumer Protection Agency ... https://www.elicense.ct.gov/Lookup/LicenseLookup.aspx

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