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Sundance report: Music stars changing the movie scenery

January 28th, 2011 Posted in Arts and Life

Story & Photo by Ben Hansen
Special to Hard News Cafe

PARK CITY–The music industry has always played a pivotal role in Hollywood. A good musical score goes hand in hand with strong acting, a good script, and special effects to create a masterpiece. At the 2011 Sundance Film Festival however, two major players in the music industry have decided to take Hollywood into their own hands.

On Saturday, the House of Hype LIVEstyle Lounge was buzzing with anticipation, as multi-platinum rapper Curtis Jackson (AKA 50 Cent) announced that he had joined with WBO champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Randall Emmett to move forward with Cheetah Vision, a film production company. Cheetah has already partnered with Lionsgate on a $200,000,000 10-picture deal.

Jackson wanted to talk about the future of Cheetah Vision. He expressed a desire to work with other production companies, partnering with them on different projects, and collaborating with investors to make quality material. His sincerity and drive were expressed openly, as he stated to the press, “I look forward to being part of some really great projects that have the kind of artistic integrity that I’ll be proud of. Even after I’m gone, these pictures will be there for people to watch.”

One day later, the House of Blues on Main Street was another hotspot for media attention, this time as legendary rock guitarist Saul Hudson (better known as Slash) announced the formation of Slasher films with Rob Eric and Michael Williams.

Slash emitted his passion for the horror film industry and explained the formation of Slasher Film, as he stated, “Rob Eric and I had a great conversation a little over a year ago about horror movies. We had this extensive conversation and he found that I’m a huge horror movie fan. By the end of the evening, he thought that it would be great if I started a production company called Slasher pictures or Slasher films. He called me up the next morning and asked if I’d like to do that. I thought this was a killer idea – probably the last thing that I’d expect for someone to ask from me. It is my favorite subject.

“About a year later, he gave me a script for a story with a tentative title called Nothing to Fear, written by Jonathan Mills. This is an amazing story about an American, God-fearing, Catholic family that gets lured into a small town called Stahl. Unbeknownst to them, this is one of the seven gateways to hell. The town, specifically the priest of the neighborhood, has brought them in basically to….what’s the best way to put it? A lot of bad stuff happens.”

Other movies that Slasher films are working on include Theorum, The Other Kingdom, and Wake the Dead. Some of the writing and directing talent that has already been tapped for their projects include horror favorites Vincenzo Natali, Phillip Eisner, Steve Niles.

Is it good that music stars are playing a larger role in the film industry? If their passion can transcend the music industry, shouldn’t they too be able to contribute to Hollywood? If so, Sundance is the perfect launching pad for these types of announcements. As Jackson stated during his press conference, “It’s always exciting to come out here. You are in an environment where everyone loves film.”


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