Catching up on the latest from veteran Vegas filmmakers

The Thompson brothers recently finished shooting Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West, starring Strip performer Gregory Popovich.
Josh Bell & Jason Harris

Don Barnhart

Previous work: The nationally touring comedian wrote, directed and starred in the thriller China Dolls, and starred in the documentary Finding the Funny.

Current projects: Barnhart is in production on Reefer Rendum, “a comedic yet serious look at the legalization of marijuana in America,” and is developing his novel Freeloader into a feature film.

Mike Conway

Previous work: Conway’s sci-fi/horror films War of the Planets, Exile and The Awakening have been released internationally on DVD and video on demand.

Current projects: Conway is in pre-production on a werewolf film titled Trauma Wolf and is gearing up for this year’s Las Vegas Indie Meet, an annual filmmaker networking event he hosts with his wife.

Sean Fallon & Charlotte Barrett

Previous work: The duo’s comedy feature Virgin Alexander, starring Rick Faugno of Jersey Boys, won a number of film-festival awards, including Best Feature at the Las Vegas Film Festival, and is now on DVD.

Current projects: Although still based in Vegas, Fallon and Barrett plan to shoot their next feature, ¡Ranchero!, “an action-comedy about a recently fired mailman who takes an illegal delivery job,” in Texas in 2014.

Christopher Robin Hood

Previous work: Hood’s 2009 heist thriller The Casino Job was released nationally on DVD.

Current projects: Hood’s production company Robin Hood Films is putting together a number of projects, including his own next feature, Dirty Dealing, another casino-based heist movie, starring Michael Madsen and C. Thomas Howell, which is being planned for a small theatrical release. After that, he plans to shoot Caribbean Cartel over the summer, “most likely in the Cayman Islands or Costa Rica, though the location is still somewhat up in the air.”

Lee Lanier

Previous work: The co-founder and executive director of Boulder City’s Dam Short Film Festival has directed a number of short films, and worked on computer animation for movies like Shrek and Antz.

Current projects: Lanier is working on financing for his feature debut, BedBugs, and “may shoot it overseas to maintain the production quality I originally envisioned.” His new short, South Seas Dream, is about to make the festival rounds.

Francisco Menéndez

Previous work: The head of UNLV’s film department has directed a number of features, including the recent Roger Corman-produced heist thriller Stealing Las Vegas, now available on DVD.

Current projects: Menéndez is hoping to shoot an untitled sci-fi film about a Mexican border guard in 3D, and is also “becoming seduced by shooting another Latino story,” which he imagines as a gritty, small-scale “quickie.”

Ted V. Mikels

Ted V. Mikels

Ted V. Mikels

Previous work: Mikels is a B-movie legend with five decades of experience, and is behind such cult classics as The Corpse Grinders, The Astro-Zombies and Girl in Gold Boots.

Current projects: Still active in his 80s, Mikels is executive producing a second sequel to The Corpse Grinders (shot in Barcelona, Spain) as well as a pet documentary titled Our Forever Friends, and is writing a screenplay titled Paranormal Extremes: Text Messages From the Dead, which he hopes to shoot in the next few months.

Albert Pyun

Previous work: The extremely prolific Pyun’s extensive B-movie experience includes cult films Cyborg, The Sword and the Sorcerer and the 1990 Captain America.

Current projects: Pyun’s Road to Hell, starring Michael Paré and local musician Roxy Gunn, is being converted to 3D and will be released nationally on 38 IMAX screens, starting January 28 in Honolulu. His films H.P. Lovecraft’s Cool Air, Bulletface, Cyborg Nemesis: The Dark Rift and Red Moon are all set for upcoming DVD release this year.

David Schmoeller

Previous work: UNLV film professor Schmoeller is known for directing the cult horror movies Puppet Master and Tourist Trap, and has recently been focusing on short films.

Current projects: Dark drama Little Monsters, Schmoeller’s first feature in 13 years, premiered in May 2012 at the Fantaspoa Film Festival in Brazil, and Schmoeller is hoping to set up a series of midnight screenings in Vegas, as well as more domestic festival appearances and an eventual DVD release.

Kelly Schwarze

Previous work: Schwarze directed the independent features The Indie Pendant and You People, and his documentary short Dad’s Vietnam: The War Experience of Greg Schwarze was nominated for a Pacific Southwest regional Emmy.

Current projects: Schwarze is planning to premiere his next feature, the “existential thriller” Territory 8, locally in May, with hopes for festival appearances and distribution to follow. He and his wife run the popular local film production facility Indie Film Factory.

Jerry & Mike Thompson

Previous work: The brothers’ first feature, Thor at the Bus Stop, played at several film festivals including CineVegas, had a local theatrical release and is available on DVD.

Current projects: The Thompsons just finished shooting their second feature, Popovich and the Voice of the Fabled American West, starring Strip performer Gregory Popovich, and are working on a web series with the Gazillionaire and Penny Pibbets of Absinthe.

Phil Valentine

Previous work: Valentine’s documentary feature Who Will Stand won 10 awards and was aired on the Documentary Channel.

Current projects: Valentine is working on two more docs: Women of War, about military sexual trauma, and Once a Marine, the story of Erica Gabor, “a highly decorated female Marine whose spotless record was not enough to keep her from being booted from the corps under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.”


Previous Discussion:

  • This year’s event features another packed lineup of short films, with more than 120 selections spread over 20-plus thematic programs and four days.

  • The three-day event—which will showcase more than 50 short films, along with one feature—kicks off with a free night of films at Backstage Bar and ...

  • Returning to the Palms, LVFF 2018 offers talked-about indie films shorts programs, animation, student films, parties and more.

  • Get More Film Stories
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