It was announced tonight that CP Prods. principals Michael Cerenzie and Christine Peters have started a genre division and will partner with Mississippi-based Ghostrider Entertainment to co-finance a slate of 10 fright films in the next three years with budgets between $8 million and $20 million. The first film sounds pretty damn cool, Padraig Reynolds’ Rites of Spring. Read on for details on the film and watch this spot for more as soon as it comes in.
CP’s genre division will be spearheaded by Eric Thompson, who formerly ran the Maverick Films genre label Maverick Red; he came to CP Prods. when he signed his Doomsday Twin Prods. label to a first-look deal with the production company.
“Rites of Spring,” will be written and directed by Padraig Reynolds, and is about what happens when a father, intent on avenging his murdered son, crosses paths with a serial killer targeting teens.
The intention is to make two to three films each year, the majority of which will be shot in Mississippi and surrounding areas. That will allow the productions to tap into tax credits and financial incentives being promoted by the Mississippi Film Office to fuel post-Hurricane Katrina economic growth.
“What is exciting about the fund is it will create more content and mitigate financial risk, while revitalizing the Mississippi area and help get people back to work,” said Cerenzie, who said he has a co-financing partner standing by for pictures that fall on the larger end of the budget scale. Cerenzie said Paramount will get first crack at distribution through CP’s first look with the studio.
Cerenzie most recently produced “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” just wrapped “Black Water Transit” and is prepping Harvey Keitel starrer “Chaos,” which Daphna Kastner wrote and will direct. Cerenzie and Peters produce with Keitel, and Martin Scorsese is exec producer.
Benton grew up in Mississippi and most recently has been an equipment supplier and production manager on motion capture films. He returned to the state after Katrina and began putting together the consortium fund to help boost filmmaking. He’s still raising the funds, but said 60% of the money is in place.
“These dollars are real and we are scheduled to complete the fund and register it by the end of May so we can start production in June,” he said.
Benton said Ghostrider’s parent company, Red Planet Entertainment, is in talks to acquire 84 acres of land in Mississippi, with plans to construct production facilities near the U. of Southern Mississippi Film School campus.