By Katy Savage
Rutland filmmaker David Giancola has produced 25 features since the early 1990s.
He was determined to try something different with his latest—a sci-fi movie called “Axcellerator.”
“Axcellerator” is the first digital movie his company, Edgewood Productions, has made.
He swapped his film cameras for high definition digital camera and 48 terabyte hard drives.
“We’re in a different business model,” he said.
The technology makes it easier to add special effects. Giancola hopes the higher definition will translate on the big screen.
“I always think my newest film is my best,” he said.
“Axcellerator” is Giancola’s first to be accepted to the Boston Science Fiction Film Festival in February and the Sci-Fi London Film Festival in May.
“My films are not usually festival films,” Giancola said. “That’s exciting.”
Giancola’s most successful feature so far is the Christmas movie, “Moonlight and Mistletoe,” which was shot in Chester in 2008 and later sold to Hallmark. “Axcellerator” is more fast paced. The film follows a story of a car thief who gets hijacked by a young man with a teleportation device who later meets the girl of his dreams.
It features actors Sam J. Jones (“Flash Gordon”), Sean Young (“Blade Runner 2049”), John James, and Maxwell Caulfield, along with newcomers Ryan Wesen and Laura James (“America’s Next Top Model).
Like all of Giancola’s films, the movie features local places and local people. Locals will recognize Killington Resort’s K-1 gondola, the Diamond Run Mall, the Rutland Free Library, downtown Rutland and Magic Mountain Ski Resort on the big screen. They will also appreciate cameo appearances by Ron Marcus of Freeman Marcus Jewelers and Lenny Montuori of Big Lenny’s Hot Dogs.
Executive producer and actor John James, who has worked with Giancola since 1999, was looking for an exciting film to make.
The two were working on a children’s movie together but stopped mid-stream to work on “Axcellerator”.
“David and I went through a zillion ideas,” James said of the new movie.
Giancola co-wrote the screenplay with young screenwriter Mike Ford of upstate New York.
“It was something that had been kicking around the office for a while,” Giancola said.
“Axcellerator” took twice as long to finish than Giancola’s other movies due to the different technology used. But the digital film fits his new business model.
“Edgewood’s new plan is work with the best stuff you can get—don’t own it because it’s going to change in six months,” he said.
Top-of-the-line cameras Giancola used at the time are already being replaced with better lenses. “[Making films] is less profitable and more risky than they’ve ever been,” Giancola said. “We’re stepping over 20 dollar bills to pick up dimes because of the digital revolution.”
Giancola, a Rutland native, is determined to continue making films locally, though he admitted doing so presents challenges.
Giancola’s crew got in trouble the first day of shooting “Axcellerator” for using blank weapons in downtown Rutland.
“It upset a lot of people,” he said. “The police knew about it and everyone knew about it. It caused a lot more of a ruckus than we initially intended.
“People always dig it after the fact,” he added.
“Axcellerator” will soon be available for streaming on all digital platforms. The Paramount Theatre will present two screenings of the movie on Friday, Jan. 25, at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children.
Cast and crew members, including Sam J. Jones, John James, Ryan Wesen, Laura James, comedian Woody Keppel and John Romeo, are expected to attend an after party.
Giancola and James are already talking about a sequel.
“We think it’s going to be very successful,” James said. “Based on that and how the story ends lends itself to having more.”
Photo courtesy Edgewood Studios
Laura James and Ryan Wesen by River St. bridge