Filmio Presents, “5-25-77”
Hey there. We’re Filmio, a new kind of entertainment company building a platform for creators and fans to join together to create a sanctuary where everyone plays, anyone can create, and all share in the benefits. We have a goal of changing the way the entertainment industry works, like a Venture Capital firm for great films, TV shows and virtual reality. You know, the kind being purchased and released by Netflix and Amazon at an accelerating rate. Our model is simple: Fund, Create, Distribute. Simple enough, right?
We believe that for too long, Hollywood has been a closed system, where only a select few are able to participate. We’re ending that. Now. Starting with our first feature film release. A film called 5–25–77, a coming-of-age story about a sci-fi-obsessed teen filmmaker in his rural hometown and the amazing series of events that propelled him toward May 25, 1977. It’s a title you might be familiar with. Either because of the significance of the date… or because you’re one of the cult of fans who’ve been been impatiently waiting to see a film over 10 years in the making.
FILMIO is proud to present 5–25–77 on 5/25/17, (the 40th anniversary of the release of the original Star Wars, but you probably knew that!), not only because of the emotional power of its story, but because of the personal meaning that story holds for the original creative team, and for anyone who’s ever been a fan of well, anything!
It all began on May 25th, 1977. A Wednesday. A school day. On that day, forty years ago, a little-known film with minimal advertising and a ridiculously modest budget opened in theaters across America. Within 24 hours everyone knew its name.
Within 48 hours, everyone was standing in line to see it. And in the 40 years since its release, Star Wars and its hugely successful sequels have generated a combined worldwide box office of over 7.6 billion dollars — much of it due to repeat viewing by die-hard fans.
Imagine being the only teen-aged, sci-fi geek filmmaker in your tiny midwestern high school. Imagine believing Hollywood is the bright center of the universe and knowing you’re a resident of the town it’s farthest from. And for one magic week, you’re suddenly allowed a Wizard of Oz-like tour of your dream — guided by the very people who inspired it. Now imagine that week is over and you have to go back to “the edge of the edge of nowhere” and go on living as a perpetual outsider in the midst of everything and everyone you’ve ever cared about — and all the while the voice of Steven Spielberg is echoing in your mind, saying, “If you really want to be a part of all this, you need to move to L.A.” What do you choose?
The familiar territory of your past? Or the undiscovered country of your future? And what would happen if you tried to harness the power of Star Wars to force the Universe into letting you have both?
Patrick Read Johnson, the film’s Writer/Director, was one of the many fledgling filmmakers, coming of age in the late 70’s, for whom the first Star Wars movie was a formative cinematic experience, eventually setting him on a path that led from the small town of Wadsworth, Illinois to a career as a writer/director in Hollywood. His credits have included Spaced Invaders (Touchstone, 1990), Baby’s Day Out (20th Century Fox, 1994) and Angus (Turner Pictures, 1995), When Good Ghouls Go Bad (Fox Television), starring Christopher Lloyd, and, of course, the long-awaited 5–25–77, starring John Francis Daley and Austin Pendleton.
But in the spring of 1977, according to Producer Gary Kurtz, he was probably the first person outside of Industrial Light & Magic to see Star Wars, at a time when ILM was scrambling to complete VFX shots in time for its release on… 5–25–77.
The film hit Johnson like it hit most of world’s closeted sci-fi geeks (in other words, just about everyone!) But for Johnson there was a deeper meaning to the film. He was as moved as the next fan by Luke Skywalker’s desire to escape his backwater world. But he was far MORE excited and inspired by HOW George Lucas, Gary Kurtz, John Dykstra, and the other magicians that brought Star Wars to life, managed to do it, seemingly, with things a teenager might find lying around his garage.
“He’s not just some over-enthusiastic fan — Star Wars isn’t his true obsession,” according to Gary Kurtz, a Producer on Star Wars IV and V. “In the story of young Pat’s journey, it’s more like a catalyst that could either crystallize or annihilate his hopes and dreams. He comes to realize, late in the film, that his mission to get everyone into that theater is an unconscious attempt to change his hometown enough that he won’t have to leave it.”
Now that it’s finally time, we are delighted to share this film with fellow fans. This is a movie about a fan, made by a fan, made for fans. And that’s important because fans matter. Fans like you and us are the lifeblood of the movie business. Without fans, there would be no magic in the movies. To us, the magic is real because we take those movies with us into the world, and bring them to life beyond the screen. And that’s the true magic of the movies.
At Filmio, we’re all about the fans. That’s why you should stay targeted on this blog and keep coming back for more film-related content on a bi-weekly basis. In the meantime, check out this contest we’re running offering select fans (that’s right, maybe even you!) tickets to the San Diego International Film Festival with two All-Access VIP passes and a two-night stay at the iconic Del Coronado hotel. Not bad, right? We thought so.