Making movies

Alphonse Polito owns ISO Pictures with Mark Carey. The production company recently completed work on a feature-length film in Reno, using locals for the acting and production. The film, which took three years to make, was done on a budget of $3,500. They had a private viewing on Jan. 8, but that's just the beginning.

So you guys made a movie. Tell me about it.

The Ashes of Brush Flats is the title. The quick pitch on this is it's a story about family, two brothers, as they struggle with the death of their father. It's the story of their struggle with lost love and revenge … Basically, we wanted to make a story about family, and so the quick rundown of what happens in the movie is these two brothers meet up to spread their dad's ashes after their father passes away in their hometown of Reno. The older brother is a degenerate gambler, and has a big debt to a bookie. And so the bookie wants to take claim on the inheritence money. … We're calling it a modern-day Western. And this lone man with a moral code rides into town to deal with all of his family issues, more problems continue, and he gets to ride out of town kind of alone.

You’re the lead actor?

Yes, correct. I’m the lead actor in the film. It was directed by Mark Carey. Together, he and I wrote the screenplay. We produced it, basically, using all local talent and resources—locations and residences. Everybody was really open to the idea of making a movie here. It took us three years, but after a lot of hard work and dedication, we were able to complete it.

Who were some of the other people who helped?

OK, on the acting side, we gained a ton of support and donations of time from Jeff Bellows. He’s a high school history teacher at North Valleys High School. I knew him from college and theater at the University of Nevada. I kind of looked him up, and I was like, “Man, you’d be perfect for the brother part.” He came in and kind of got his acting chops back, and he gave us a ton of time and had a fantastic performance. Larry Wilson, he plays Jimmy Fisher, so he’s our bad guy in the movie, and he does a fantastic job. He’s a local magician by trade. Other than that our cast is about 20 deep, people with speaking parts. … We had a huge amount of help from crew. Lance [Puckett] was another actor who crossed over [into production]. He plays J.P., the dad that passes away. Lance Puckett was generous, and he was so into it, he’d also help us on the crew side. He’d help us light and run cables, and he’d help us with our audio. Another guy was Kaleb Temple, he’s another one who had a small part in the movie, but then also helped immensely on the crew side. He gave multiple days. And the other person to mention on the crew side is Tyler Bourns, another one of those guys who donated a ton of time on the crew side. Those guys were fantastic, while making the movie. Then on the post-production side, we had one person help us with the visual effects, Cory Anderson. Those are the guys that I would single out. The long and the short of it was it was Mark Carey and myself making a movie. We had to take on every role; I did props and makeup and location scouting, and wardrobe.

Where did you get these skills?

We do production on a daily basis. We make TV commercials for a living. We’ve made a lot of local ads, casinos, and hospitals, to political ads, car dealerships, but we have a passion toward narrative work.

What’s the next step?

We’re sending it to film festivals to start a festival run in hopes of gaining accolades and more exposure for the film. Ideally, we’ll find a distribution deal of some kind, whether it’s video-on-demand or a limited theater release or something. [That's] the end goal with this particular project, but the other hope in gaining accolades and exposure is for somebody to say, “Wow, you did this with no money, what could you do with a budget? Hey, let me fund your next project.” We’re looking for financing for future projects and distribution on this one.