Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Joy A Film About Groceries and The Meaning Of Life

Red Love Film’s feature film Joy - starring Evan Boymel and Julie Marie Hassett - is now released through and other retailers like Best Buy and Barnes & Noble.  ITN will be taking the film to MIPCOM and AFM for international.

What can the perfect cake teach us about love and loss? Have you ever passed someone at the grocery store and wondered what is going on in their life? What can a 1997 Michigan Pinot Grigio teach us about the unexpected death of a loved one? What's on your grocery list?

These questions and more are asked in Joy. When the death of their father doesn't bring sisters closer together, it takes an unexpected journey to make them realize the importance of finding joy in life by living each day to the fullest. In this feature comedy, these sisters learn about love, loss, and redemption while on a trip to quite possibly the most magical grocery store.

Joy is a magical reinterpretation of a true story.  After her sister and father passed away, both unexpectedly, actress Julie Marie Hassett conceived the script.  In awe of her family’s journey through grief and healing, she decided to make a film that would be a perfect explanation to fix grief, erase the fear of unknown, and heal.  Instead of finding those answers, she created a celebratory film that has been called by cast and crew, "the little film that could.”   It is our story of finding joy, told with bravery and humility, some great music, and a lot of joy.

Hassett began co-producing the film with her sister Elizabeth Joy, an MBA student at Xavier University, after their father passed away.  The goal for Julie, Liz and Red Love was to combine profitable feature film-making with support to the non-profit and philanthropic world.

No one knew how literal and personally this goal would be realized. When they were nearing completion of pre-production, Elizabeth and her twins passed away after 17 weeks of pregnancy.  Devastated, the film almost came to a complete halt, put on a shelf and left to move on to other projects. But encouraged by friends and family to finish the film for Liz, Julie decided to finish this for her and their family. Julie started the Foundation of Joy (www.FoundationofJoy.Org), a 501(c)(3) charity in honor of Elizabeth. The Foundation became a co-producer in the film and will benefit as a major investor from the sale of this film.  Foundation of Joy produces and creates art in the effort to educate, increase awareness, and raise money for the health, wellness, education and artistic development of children and women's reproductive healthcare and human rights.  We do this through art:  film, music, literature, and mixed media.  Art spreads joy.  We partner with nonprofits domestically and globally and we are dedicated in our participation in the UN Millennium Development Goals.

And the film did happen, and Liz posthumously became a producer on her first feature,  because of the generosity of the cast, crew, vendors, locations and the community at large who donated their time, energy and love to the film.  Actors who flew in from Los Angeles at a fraction of their rate, crew that came in from Chicago and New York on buses, or drove on their own dollar are just some of the many incredible efforts put forth to see this film made.

Joy is the latest completed film from Red Love Film (Joy, Salesgirl, Measure, Blue Marble Gang).  It’s a slice of life film mixed with a dose of the mystical – reminiscent of I [Heart] Huckabees, What the [Bleep] Do we Know and The Peaceful Warrior.

The film features Bootsy Collins as the “voice” of Jungle Jim’s International Market and stars Julie Marie Hassett who will be seen next in Blood Redd, directed by special effects guru Brad Palmer. Evan Boymel whose latest is Goats with David Duchovny and Minnie Driver. He’ll also be in the Joe Esterhaz penned film Lust. Vince Jolivette (partner, Rabbit Bandini films with James Franco) will appear alongside Franco in the film Maladies this winter.  These three also reteamed on Measure directed by DJay Brawner this past summer.  Brawner has been busy directing music videos for The Foo Fighters, Gym Class Heroes and commerciasl for Coors Light.

Our website is being built around our message of “Spread the Joy,” with a cookbook of cast and crew recipes that can be downloaded to “cook for your family,” postcards to write to friends and relatives - encouraging them to do selfless works on behalf of other people. It's a social movement - philanthropic in nature - not unlike the "Pay it Forward" idea.  There are also links that can be copied into Facebook. After just a few weeks of being online the Facebook Spread the Joy Cause is already a few hundred members strong.

The publicity for this film up to now has been very positive.  During production, the cast and crew were interviewed several times by local ABC affiliates, Julie was interviewed by Backstage West, and Filmstew and Yahoo news covered the project.

One fun highlight of this coverage was the story done when the cast and crew made a trip to the local Cincinnati chapter of Boys and Girls Club to make a donation on behalf of the Foundation.

On November 9th we held a private screening of the film at the Cincinnati Art Museum. On the evening of the event, a silent auction was hosted by The Foundation of Joy, which donated the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Club of Cincinnati, Union Bethel’s Off The Streets Program and Lonely Instruments for Needy Kids. I could immediately tell, after that screening, that we had “something.” The next day we received emails from the cast and crew.  Here’s a poignant excerpt from one such letter “in my dealing with loss, I have reflected on my interpretation of the theme of your film. I have considered putting thanks where it is due. I want to commend you on the positive message you seemed to convey in your film. I also want to commend you on your endeavors with children, adoption, and mentoring. These are all very important issues. Doing these good things may have been therapeutic in your recovery and spiritual well-being, but they also have a lasting impact on the others you come in contact with. You may even influence them to do the same in return.”

We’ve begun the soundtrack album of music “from and inspired” by the film which will be released by us through Lizzy Records. Intended to be completed and released soon, we hope to feature both the local bands, who were in the film and are on the brink of “breaking out,” and more bands with larger exposure, which we’re going to contact as the film builds in notoriety.  We hope this will be a reciprocal relationship, as their involvement will further increase the films popularity.
From the soundtrack, Bootsy Collins, The Hiders and Kim Taylor have received multiple nominations for the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.  Kim is on the verge of breakout success, having been featured on CBS' Flashpoint, NPR World Cafe, and has been written up in a number of articles in magazines from Performer Magazine to the Washington Post.

And from the music world, Bootsy Collins, of the famous Parliament Funkadelic, brings his funky persona and charming reggae inspired voice to the world of Jungle Jim's, playing the "voice" of the store.

I may be a bit biased, but I’ve seen how this film, and the process of making it has already touched so many people, I have to believe it’s a story worth telling and an effort worth supporting.


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