Below, I've pasted an article about Film Group II, a Columbus-based production company formed by one of the producers on Beyond Dream's Door, Dyrk Ashton.
Movie Venture Betting On Ohio
By Ann Fisher
COLUMBUS -- This town is a far cry from Hollywood. From all appearances there are no stars, no elaborate movie sets, and few sources of creative and production talent.
Yet three Columbus-area men are betting they have everything they need to make high-quality, money-making films without the pricey accoutrements of Tinseltown.
Dyrk Ashton, a Perrysburg native, and his partners, Ralph Colelli and Mark Burson, have spent more than a year measuring the risk of independent film-making in Ohio.
While working on their venture, Film Group II, they have learned that Ohio has something else, too, an intangible élan in short supply in the bastions of celluloid, said Mr. Ashton, 27.
"The enthusiasm in Ohio is much higher than it is in L.A. or New York," he said. "Out there, it's old hat, it's business as usual. Here, it's much fresher; it's new."
Mr. Ashton, who has a master's degree in cinema production from Ohio Status University, produced the feature film "Beyond Dream's Door," a horror fantasy that has been screened at the Milan and Cannes film festivals and the American Film market.
Mr. Colelli, 43, also an OSU graduate, is an award-winning producer of several commercials and documentaries. He co-wrote and directed the feature-length film "The Second Degree," which has been released in theaters in Europe and other foreign markets.
Mr. Burson, 30, a graduate of Ohio University, recently was awarded a 1990 Oho Arts Council grant to help complete his feature-length film, "First You Live, Then You Die."
Those credentials, combined with what one Ohio industry observer called "considerable connections" in the industry, and the increasing call for films for markets such as video rentals and cable television, provide most of what's needed to compete in the multi-billion dollar movie market, Mr. Ashton said.
He describes their company as a "very small independent," that will target special audiences, making films for about $750,000 to $1.2 million "that will look like they cost $3 to $5 million."
The missing element now is financial backing. Hoping to fill that need, the partners are hosting a party here tonight to introduce their new venture to local media and potential investors.
"It's a very difficult for an independent without a lot of backing, and not more than one picture, to really make it," said Robert W. Wagner, a professor emeritus at the Ohio statue university, and a member of the board of directors of Film Group II.
But R.J. Cavallaro, president of Columbus-based stepping stone entertainment, a sort-of branch office for west coast producers seeking Midwest talent, said film group II's plan is doable.
"I think it's a realistic goal," Mr. Cavallaro said. "But I think it's going to be tough for them… they're going to have to have good story ideas and they're going to have to have good distribution."
Ms. Lapolla, director of the Ohio Film Bureau, said her agency, part of he state Department of Development, tries to help projects like Film Group II.
"A good percentage of these are low-budge, independent producers and they need our assistance … with cutting red tape, or help with finding a location," she said.
Since 1976, when the bureau opened, outside film companies have spent about $65 to $70 million in Ohio and have created some 40,000 temporary jobs, she said.