Wednesday, April 04, 2012


There appears to be some nefarious activity happening with regard to "Shadow Falls". An unknown entity has setup and created an IMDb (Internet Movie Database) account for the film without our permission. Additionally, this unknown entity is claiming the movie has a release date and is "completed". Nothing could be further from the truth.

Let's set the record straight. "Shadow Falls" was a demo-reel/proof-of-concept reel produced in 2005. It was shot exclusively as a showpiece to entice investment in the project. Ultimately the film was never funded and shelved. It was to our great surprise to see the listing show up on IMDb recently. We noticed the listing on April 3rd. It was setup in late February, 2012.

After additional digging we noticed that the same unknown entity also uploaded the demo-reel to YouTube under their own account with the heading "Shadow Falls Trailer #1 Starring Johnny Simmons". While it is true that Mr. Simmons does appear briefly in the demo-reel, it is not and has never been a starring vehicle for Mr. Simmons. It is unfortunate that they are trying to use Mr. Simmons name to increase awareness of their scam (or whatever their motivations are).

We are very concerned that someone is out there misrepresenting the title, grievously misusing our I.P., and is promoting a film that simply does not exist.

To our cast and crew who helped produce the "Shadow Falls" demo-reel we are taking full steps and measures to remedy this issue immediately.

Team Starway

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Introducing the U.S. Poster for "The Blackout"

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cannes Film Festival Info

"The Blackout" will be screened at Cannes on Thursday, May 14th at 5:30pm and on Sunday, May 17th at 1:30pm (both screenings in the Gray 4 screening room). Contact Michael Paszt at Cinemavault Releasing for more information at the Cannes Booth Riviera G5/H8 +33 (0)4 92 99 32 15.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Starway Pictures is proud to announce that it has officially signed with Cinemavault Releasing for the exclusive worldwide (including Canada and Latin America) sales and distribution rights to the motion picture "The Blackout". Starway began negotiations with Cinemavault during the Sundance Film Festival. Cinemavault will also serve as the official home video distributor for the movie in Canada.

"The Blackout" will be teased at MIPTV this week and will be screened for buyers at Cannes in May. We are looking forward to a long relationship with Cinemavault Releasing.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Dead: The Haven Chronicles :: Chapter Two: Haven & The Duke

The second chapter in the exclusive Web series THE DEAD: THE HAVEN CHRONICLES is now playing on -- "Chapter Two: Haven & The Duke." If you haven't already, please check out "Chapter One: Manny Gallardo"

Please give the Flash Video player a few moments to load the video (you may see a blank black screen for a moment or two).

Originally shot during the summer of 1998, THE DEAD was an ambitious digital featurette in many ways unique to itself. It was one of the first projects to use the brand new emerging technology of digital video (shot with a Sony VX1000).

Starring Barbara Streifel Sanders (as Haven), James Martinez (as Jimmy) and Jonathan Carter Schall (as The Duke). The Dead tells the dark and surreal tale of the rise and fall of a scorned hit woman seduced into the dark and seductive goth underworld.

The world this dark fable unfolds within is partly real and mostly a digital creation. Many have commented that the look and feel is like "a living graphic novel." Many of the sets built were only partial. Painting in the rest of the set or location was a main cost savings feature for production. Many street exteriors, cityscapes and backdrops are hand painted and digitally composited giving the film a ghostly and surreal quality.

So please enjoy this newly released Web series edition of THE DEAD: The Haven Chronicles. Now playing Chapters One and Two.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Canon Event & Birns & Sawyer

I have been invited to speak at Birns & Sawyer, the famous camera facility in downtown Hollywood, about our experiences using Canon's XL-H1 high-definition camera on "The Blackout". The event takes place on Wednesday, April 30th from 6:00pm - 9:00pm. I will be showing a few select scenes from the movie as well as discussing our digital HD workflow.

The event will most likely sell out. If you'd like to attend you must RSVP using the link below:

Canon Video – NAB Recap (4/30/08)

From its inception in 1954, Birns and Sawyer has been a premiere rental and sales firm of motion picture equipment in the United States. Birns and Sawyer has been a Hollywood standard for quality and dependability for the last fifty years and continues to assist the needs of filmmakers and progress with new technology.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

First Teaser Trailer for THE BLACKOUT Debuts!

Starway Pictures is pleased to announce the debut of the first Teaser Trailer for the feature-film production of THE BLACKOUT. A more in-depth Feature Trailer will debut at a later time. Post-Production on the science-fiction disaster film is in the final stages and will make it's premiere soon.

Starway Pictures invites you to take your first footstep into the darkness of the blackout...


Check out the THE BLACKOUT MOVIE BLOG here!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

On behalf of Starway Pictures and Team Blackout we'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday!

Monday, November 26, 2007


Don't forget to check out THE BLACKOUT Movie Blog for regular updates.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

THE BLACKOUT - Post Production Update

Since we wrapped production at the tail end of August, we have been full-tilt into post-production and editing of the movie.

First, the hyper-technical issues that needed to be resolved before editing could commence. (Apologies in advance for the techno-babble and geek talk, but it must be said.) Because we shot the film with the Canon XLH1 and captured all the footage direct to disc (bypassing HDV and tape all together,) and because neither the Blackmagic or AJA HD capture cards support Canon's HD-SDI implementation, we were forced to capture the 24 fps image at 29.97 fps, which meant that all the footage needed to be inverse-telecined using a reverse 3:2 pulldown.

Now, originally, we thought we could use the Compressor application, which is part of Apple's Final Cut Pro 2 suite, to "batch" convert the footage. Unfortunately, Compressor did not like the 10-bit ProRes codec we captured the footage in, so we had to convert the footage using Apple's Cinema Tools application instead. The downside to this was that every shot needed to be converted by hand, one by one. Ugh. So it took nearly 4-weeks to convert all the footage before it could be cut.

We finally got started cutting picture in earnest toward the end of September. As of this posting, we have completed Reels #1 - #3 and are well into Reel #4 of the movie. Why reels, you ask? Isn't this a digital movie? The answer is that it's easier to compartmentalize the movie in traditional film "reels" which run 18-20 minutes in length and as movies are still being distributed traditionally on 35mm film they must ultimately be broken into individual 2000 foot reels for shipping (usually 5 to 7 reels total, depending on the overall length of the movie). Because of this, you want to control where that splice is, so it's not in the middle of a scene, but rather in-between scenes. We anticipate our film being five reels (100 minutes or so in length).

Considering we're just over 63 minutes into the rough cut of the movie and that we've only been editing for about six weeks, we think we're making very good time, but because we lost an entire month to conversions, we are "technically" behind our internal schedule by a couple of weeks. Hopefully we can continue to make up time by trodging forward at a steady clip and have a full first rough cut of the movie by Christmas. Our "rough" cuts, however, are actually pretty polished. Preliminary color correction, sound effects and temp track music is already in place.

Now it should be noted that the film takes longer to cut as each reel progresses because the action gets tighter, the scenes get more complicated, and there are 5-6 times more physical edits than, say, the first reel where it's mostly dialogue and setup.About two weeks ago we also conducted a special effects test of the The Beast's tail. Even though we produced a full size physical tail for The Beast, we did not use it very much during the shoot. It was heavy and cumbersome and very difficult to puppeteer. We simply couldn't waste any valuable time on multiple takes due to the tail, so we eliminated it in favor of inserting it digitally in post. This was a leap of faith in many ways, and if we couldn't successfully insert the tail digitally ourselves, we would be in trouble.

Well, I'm happy to say that our first tail effects shots have been resoundingly successful. For many of these shots we will be using Adobe After Effects CS3's new "puppeteer" tool. This tool uses a flat 2D image and allows you to set joint points and then puppeteer the 2D image in 3D space. It's very cool, very effective, and very fast to use. We will, however, have to use either a miniature tail shot practically or a full 3D CGI tail for other shots.

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas soon to follow we're looking forward to our next round of shooting. We will be shooting on the streets of downtown Los Angeles as businesses and shops are decorated for the holidays and people are milling about doing their Christmas shopping. We will also be shooting establishing shots of the Delano building exterior during the day, afternoon and at night. This will help us to cut together the opening sequence of the movie.

After that, we anticipate shooting the actor playing the news anchor at The Studio/Stage for insertion into the television shots. We will also suit up The Beast again to shoot additional pickup shots, FX plates, and various FX diddies for post-production effects work.

We expect to have another update for everyone after the holidays.

Until then, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Cameras and Lenses by Canon

A brief wrap up of Canon's involvement with the Starway Pictures' production of THE BLACKOUT is over at the Blackout Blog.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Production of THE BLACKOUT wraps!

The team behind the production of Starway Pictures' THE BLACKOUT has wrapped principal photography after 27 days of shooting. The production began production on July 30th in downtown Los Angeles, continued in the basement of City Lofts on Spring Street and finished at the Studio/Stage.

Post-Production will begin next week.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Clip from Peter Jackson's "Crossing the Line"

Many independent filmmakers having been following the development of the new REDONE camera which is being built from scratch by a small team in Irvine California and is the brainchild of Jim Jannard, the founder of Oakley. Team RED had put out a call to filmmakers to test their prototype cameras and Peter Jackson answered the call. So they all got on board the Oakley Bombardier Business Jet and flew down to New Zealand for a weekend.

Much to their surprise, Peter Jackson had no intention of just shooting test charts. He had a script, a production team, costumes, actors, special effects, props, and two vintage WW1 bi-planes. And Peter Jackson proceeded to shoot a 12-minute World War 1 short in all sorts of conditions including trench warfare, complete with explosions, as well as an aerial dog fight.

Thirty seconds of that footage has been put Online. Remember, this was a "camera test". Here are a couple mirrors:

Watch Clip

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"The Dead" Available for iPod, iPhone and Apple TV

Starway Pictures Online presention of "The Dead - Chapter 1: Manny Gallardo" is now available for download on the iPod, the upcoming iPhone and Apple TV.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Starway Pictures presents: THE DEAD

And they say miracles don't happen! After far too many years sitting on a dark, cold, lonely shelf the chronicles of Haven, Jimmy and The Duke can finally be told in the Web version of THE DEAD.

It is a visual narrative told with an hallucinogenic flare that is often fragmented, non-linear, esoteric and ephemeral.

This Online exclusive will be told in multiple chapters starting with CHAPTER ONE: MANNY GALLARDO. With a little luck we'll release subsequent chapters over a period of time (still to be determined).

A note from the director:

Originally shot during the summer of 1998, THE DEAD was an ambitious digital featurette in many ways unique to itself. It was one of the first projects to use the brand new emerging technology of digital video. The world this dark fable unfolds within is partly real and mostly a digital creation. Many have commented that the look and feel is like "a living graphic novel." Unfortunately, the release of "The Matrix" and "Kill Bill - Volumes 1 & 2" killed the project before its completion. There are major striking similarities between the production design of THE DEAD and "The Matrix", namely the Trinity character resembling Haven. However, it was the plot of "Kill Bill" that was the final nail in THE DEAD's coffin.

The tragic part of this tale is that many people put a lot of hard work into shooting THE DEAD and the fruits of their labor have gone unseen. Many of the key sequences were already finished. So it made sense to finally start releasing some of these sequences to the Online world.

It will take some time and effort to get the last chapter into shape for presentation, as most of it still requires digital set extensions and digital environments. But I look forward to everyone having a chance to see this once beloved project.

Robert Sanders

Starway Website Updated

Please visit the updated Starway Pictures Website. We have added brand new mini-sites for SHADOW POINT (formerly Shadow Falls) and THE TWENTY-THIRD LETTER. Plus the mini-sites for our short films have all been completely updated.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Hi Def DVD Format War is Over

If there's one big story coming out of the CES show in Vegas right now, it's an indication as to which competing high-definition DVD format will prevail. HD-DVD or BluRay?

Porn appears to have chosen sides. These two articles back up my premise:

CES 2007: HD DVD versus Blu-ray - The porn industry says HD DVD

1080p Porn? Blu-ray Says 'No Thanks'

Both of these stores indicate that HD-DVD is the format that the porn industry will ultimately support. And anyone who follows consumer electronics trends where formats are competing for market share, it's always the format used by the porn industry that emerges as the victor. I find it odd that BluRay intentionally chose not to be involved with the porn industry.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"We may laugh down the dream, For the dream breaks and flies; And we trust now the gleam, For the gleam never dies;— So it's off now the load, For we know the night's call, And we know now the road And the road leads us all."
–from the Edwin Arlington Robinson poem "Twilight Song."