Al Bravo Studios and Chemical Mind Studios Release New Feature 2 Bedroom 1 Bath
“Not many people in this industry have goals. Everybody just wants to make a movie and make it big.”
By Bel Hernandez
Al Bravo’s first film as producer, The Wailer/La Llorona was made for $100K and estimated to have grossed over a million dollars in its DVD release. It could have made more in Mexico and Latin America if it wasn’t for the fact that it is the #1 pirated English Language independent film there. This film would be the genesis of his ultimate goal – to own a mini studio, and is well on track. On September 5th Al Bravo Studios will release 2 Bedroom 1 Bath, a horror flick a la Rosemary’s Baby, the first indie film to be produced and distributed under his banner.
Bravo knows his audience. He knows Latinos command the highest share of audience in the horror/thriller genre, linked to generations growing up listening to folk stories centered on topics like Santería and urban legends featuring tragic characters like La Llorona.
With a combined $4.6 billion dollars in box office grosses of the top 100 horror films, the genre not just relegated to the Latino community. So when fellow executive producer Dino dos Santos came to Bravo for a script to produce, Stanley Yung’s horror script 2 Bedroom 1 Bath was selected.
2 Bedroom 1 Bath is the story of a young couple; Rachel (Michelle Hicks) and Kevin Foster (Andrew E. Walker) who have finally found their dream home only to have it quickly turn into a horrifying nightmare. Strange occurrences in the apartment begin to invade Kevin’s dreams and challenge Rachel’s sanity. The hauntings are so terrorizing that Kevin is forced to delve into the history of their new home, and he uncovers a shocking past that threatens to destroy his and Rachel’s future. Co-staring alongside Hicks (Mullholland Drive, The Shield) and Walker (Steel Toes, Against the Wall) are Eric Roberts (The Expendables, The Dark Knight), Costas Mandylor (Saw series), and Dee Wallace (The Howling, E.T.).
“I’m a businessperson and am in the business of making films,” Bravo explains. “I partnered with producer Dino dos Santos. He called me and said ‘I have money to do a film and I want you to produce it for me.’” Bravo also gives us a clue into the business of making horror flicks; one of them is knowing which actors can get your film sold and casting accordingly. In the case of 2 Bedroom 1 Bath although there are a few Latinos in the cast, where Latinos shine is behind the camera. In addition to himself and Dino Dos Santos there is executive producer Dulcilene Chick Reed, and up-and-coming cinematographer Carmen Cabana. The film was shot in March of 2013 for 21 days in New Orleans, to take advantage of the tax incentives, and in Los Angeles for three days of pick-ups.
Noted for being one of Hollywood’s most promising independent producers, Bravo creates films that explore a variety of genres, describing his approach as “American with a Latino touch” — his touch. Five films with the Bravo touch have been produced under his shingle.
Bravo continues to study the industry and for the structure of his Al Bravo Studios he takes his cue from Avi Lerner’s Millennium Films. Millennium Films is one of the longest-running independent film companies with over 300 movies on their roster and most known for The Expendables franchise. Millennium produces, finances and handles all its own international distribution.
“Lerner is a very smart guy and he started out in distribution,” Bravo tells us and he adds “My goal is to be of that era.” He goes on to explains how plans to follow the Millennium model. “Not many people in this industry have goals, everybody just wants to make a movie and make it big. My goal is to actually create my studio, where we come with everything — with our own financing, development of our own scripts; do the production and post production, the marketing, and our own distribution, not only DVD but also theatrical.”
Without knowing it, Bravo has been preparing to achieve this “goal” since he began working at the age of 16 as an extra on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV show. He appeared in so many episodes, the producers had to retire him and offered him a job as a PA. He used it as a learning experience. He made it his “business” to learn all he could as his trajectory took him from PA, to extra casting, then principal casting, to 1st AD, and ultimately in all the producing roles.
He credits his entrepreneurial spirit to his dad. His father, in the 90’s owned a furniture manufacturing company. Since Bravo knew early on he wanted to be in the entertainment business, instead of going to college like his brothers, when he was asked by his parents what he wanted to do, he asked his parents to set him up with a furniture store so he could continue to pursue what he knew was his calling.
His biggest supporter, his mother, believed in him through the rough times and all through the struggle of finding the financing for his first movie. While his brothers complained he was a free loader, his mother was there for him and even lent her house for The Wailer shoot. For 10 days, she was holed up in a tiny portion of her home while over 40 cast and crew members laid siege to her home, shooting in the cabana built in her back yard for what would double as a village in Mexico, while vehicles and cranes rolled around her back yard.
Although the The Wailer was cast with several Latinos and non-Latinos, and took place in Mexico, Bravo was by no means making a Latino angst or border movie. “I am not focused on the Mexicans coming over the border thing,” he says. “There are a lot of people that are already doing that and I have not interest in doing so”.
In addition to his recent films, Bravo has worked on films like The Terminal with Tom Hanks and Diego Luna, Criminal with John C. Reilly working as extra casting. He co- produced The Chicago 8 which was a $1.2 million dollar movie and oversaw a cast and crew of over 50 people. And he’s produced all genres. He was even hired to produce a Jewish orthodox musical, a period piece called, The Heart That Sings. He has also worked on TV doing the cast coordinating for TV shows like Moesha and The Parkers. However, it is in the independent world that Bravo has staked his claim.
Bravo is known in the independent scene as one of the few producers that can put together a low budget movie and make it look like a high production film. He explains that he does so by putting all the money into the production not his pocket, something he is proud to say he did again with 2 Bedroom 1 Bath. “2 Bedroom 1 Bath is a film I feel most happy about,” he proudly says. “It’s studio quality and when you look at it, you will get everything you would get out of a studio film.”
It is why Lionsgate has already expressed interest in the DVD distribution, but Bravo is holding off. “We’ve been offered money for the film but we are not letting it go”, he says. “It’s DVD distribution, but it’s not what I want for the film.” So Al Bravo Studios will be doing the limited release of the film and for the first time, will be adding a marketing element, furthering the expansion of the studio, which will help both the theatrical, and later the DVD release.
Bravo’s distribution strategy includes a September 5th release. “There is no horror [that weekend] and all the action films have passed, so there is nothing else,” Bravo explains. Adding, “It’s all about the timing”. But as confident as he sounds, Bravo is also realistic. This is after all his first attempt at distributing a film. “There s a lot of factors and we’ll see how we do with this one. I’m not getting my hopes up,” he says. But then he assures us, “One thing I do know for a fact is the movie is competitive enough and people will say this is a good film. It’s a good quality film.”
Keeping his goal in mind, Bravo never loses confidence that he will achieve it.
About Al Bravo Studios:
Al Bravo Studios is an independent film studio that prides itself on its commitment to the art of filmmaking and its continued support of independent projects. Since 2005, the company has been dedicated to producing quality products – such as The Wailer (La Llorona), The Chicago 8 and Un Día en el Banco (A Day at the Bank) – and opening doors for talented filmmakers from all different backgrounds and levels of experience. For additional information, please visit www.albravostudios.com.
For more information, visit www.2b1bmovie.com. Watch trailers at http://2b1bmovie.com/#videos and click on http://2b1bmovie.com/#theaters for dates and show times.