BETWEEN WARS - Shot in 9 days with one camera - A team that worked 15-hour days and nights during a heatwave in Philadelphia and the Bronx- No permits- No insurance- Barely any money to get food for cast and crew. Raw, independent filmmaking to the core.
“Working with Tom is exactly what independent filmmaking should be. Hit the ground running, roaming the streets, stealing shots, running and gunning. It’s as far away from Hollywood as you can get and that’s the way we like it. All passion, inspiration, and fearlessness. Tom is as indomitable and tenacious as they come and that’s what it takes to make a truly independent movie… without a studio, on a shoestring budget, and defying the odds. This one is all heart and a fuck-of-a lot of soul.”
– Michael Imperioli Goodfellas, Sopranos, Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for The Bone Collector
At the height of Sopranos’ fame, Michael Imperioli read Tom Phillips’ original script, BETWEEN WARS, during a screenwriting workshop at his STUDIO DANTE in NYC. He immediately agreed to come on board.
The screenplay, although optioned by Hollywood, sat on a shelf for nearly 2 years. At the same time, BETWEEN WARS co-writer and friend, Joe Panebianco, was diagnosed with ALS -Lou Gherig’s disease- which he continues to fight to this day. This heartbreaking situation fueled Phillips’ resolve to take the project into his own hands and shoot the film himself.
Inspired by Ed Burns, Guy Ritchie, early Scorsese, Abel Ferrara and Tarantino, true independent filmmaking had always been Phillips’ original vision for BETWEEN WARS, and Panebianco’s illness was the wake-up call he needed to make it happen. Production began in 2019.
Artists, raw actors, veteran actors, musicians, rappers, IG personalities, ex-cons, and the NYC and Philly arts community all banded together to shoot BETWEEN WARS in extreme conditions with no time and no budget.”
“As an artist, I knew breaking rules was imperative for this story,” recounts Phillips. “In fact, the more rules the artists involved wanted to break – the more dynamic the story became. Anyone who came to work on this project learned very quickly that this was a different flow and the players were creating something different. Allowing the actors on set to explore their ideas and use it in a way that would vibrate through the screen into the soul of the audience was the intention.”
The film takes a unique approach in camera technique, led by Emmy Award winner Director of Photography, Alastair Christopher, giving the audience the feeling that they are walking in the characters’ shoes…blurring the line between real life and the fictional lives on-screen. “I want the audience inside the story with our characters: living it, breathing it, feeling it on a level that moves them to rethink their own conditions in life,” says Phillips, who fell in love with the videography in ESPN’s 30 FOR 30 Felipe Lopez Story, found out who shot it and reached out to “Gee Lock” who immediately jumped on board.
Since the beginning, Michael Imperioli stayed loyal to his commitment to the script and plays “Sarge,” Marine-turned PTSD psychologist.
Lead, ShaunPaul Costello (“Franny Malloy”) fell in love with the story. He had a Red Weapon camera and tenacity to do it completely independently. “We cast as close to the characters as we could. We wanted real dialogue… people playing themselves or characters they knew well, so they were able to improv and own their roles completely,” says Phillips.
Next on board, Punk Rock/Hard Core music legend, Harley Flanagan. Having worked with him and wife Laura Flanagan on other projects, Phillips knew he was “McManus;” “He owned it right from the start,” says Phillips. Harley also came on as music supervisor, with his band, Cro-Mags contributing 3 tracks off their forthcoming 2020 album to be released by Mission Two Entertainment and Arising Empire.
Sean Michael Nugent (“Eddie”) was a friend of a friend. Turns out Phillips’ and Nugent’s fathers both owned neighborhood bars in the Bronx and Yonkers. Sean played Whitey Bulger in the King Pin Series on the History Channel, “so we knew he was Eddie,” says Phillips. “He was once that guy and knew exactly who the character was.”
Dom Chianese Jr. and Phillips met through IG and instantly hit it off. The role of “Carlo” was a perfect fit and he had worked with Imperioli the Sopranos. What could be better.
“Crazy Jimmy”- James Huddleston- was on board from the beginning. Phillips wrote the role specifically for him.
BETWEEN WARS puts an emphasis on very real human conditions, isolated individuals under agonizing circumstances and themes that dive into the fire of powerful societal issues.
“You will feel the pain, the torment, the love, insanity, and loneliness in all of our characters. We want the audience to really question that what they are experiencing; is it truly a movie or real life? Crossing the boundaries of reality and fiction is without a doubt a deliberate intention.”
2020 Global Pandemic:
INDEPENDENT THINKERS THRIVE ON THE UNKNOWN
Since it’s NEVER been “business as usual” for BETWEEN WARS, why would we wait around to have our future dictated now! So, in the spirit of true INDEPENDENCE, we are bringing BETWEEN WARS to the people, when the people need great storytelling the most… NOW!
BETWEEN WARS will be available to the public on Saturday, May 16th, 2020.
Please go to Betweenwarsthemovie.com for all the details and watch the movie.
A % of all proceeds will be given to Recalibrate