SHANGRI-LA Selected for Austin Film Festival
The episodic comedy SHANGRI-LA is an official selection of the Austin Film Festival. Episodes 1-3 will have two screenings: 9:45pm, Sunday October 27th at The Hideout Theatre and 3:45pm Tuesday October 29th at the Rollin Theatre. Filmmaking duo Nick Sommer and Drew Rosas will be in attendance at both screenings; in addition to Sommer, who also stars in the series, other cast members, to be announced, will be in attendance.
After successfully releasing two comedy/horror features (Blood Junkie 2010, Billy Club 2013), Sommer and Rosas teamed up once again to re-invent the reel with their episodic comedy project Shangri-LA. The unconventional episodic comedy follows an ensemble cast of unique and memorable characters trying to "make it" in Hollywood while surviving on the streets of Los Angeles.
With empty pockets and big dreams, the characters in SHANGRI-LA use any means necessary to navigate the underbelly of Hollywood on a quest to find their true paradise. The show follows Nicky Kaplow (Sommer), an urban survivalist living off the land in the City of Angles. After a nervous breakdown causes Nicky to abandon his life of excess as a semi-famous infomercial personality, he has finally found a place of solace living as a homeless homesteader in the urban jungle. Nicky navigates through the hidden wilds of L.A. encountering a cast of outsiders all struggling to climb their way up the Hollywood ladder while Nicky climbs his way back down.
Much like the characters in their show, Sommer and Rosas became disenchanted with the conventions of the Hollywood entertainment achine and wanted to create a project that exposes the absurdities of the film industry they encounted when moving to Los Angeles. With an original premise, loads of talent and a whole lot of sweat-equity, this two-man production team built an entire season of television from the ground up.
The prolific film duo co-wrote, co-produced and co-created the series with Rosas shooting, directing, editing, and composing the music, and Sommer heading up production design, props and wardrobe while co-directing and acting.
After debuting a proof of concept pilot episode at the 2016 LA Film Festival, the duo harnessed the momentum behind the series to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign and independently financed all 13 episodes in Season 1. In addition to winning several festival awards, SHANGRI-LA received a fiscal sponsorship grant from the Los Angeles-based organization Film Independent to assist with the finishing funds for Season 1, which recently launched online with Amazon Prime Video.
The AFF Official Selection will mark a new chapter for SHANGRI-LA when they take the screen in Austin after their summer long world tour screening episodes 10 times on 3 different contenents.
"We're taking the web out of web series," said Sommer. "This screening is a chance for us to bring SHANGRI-LA to a new audience as part of a major Film Festival."
Over the past 6 months the series has screened at live events in Los Angeles, New York, Melbourne, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Oakland, Spain, Italy and New Jersey.
"We wanted to take our show on the road to connect with the viewers in person like an indie rock band tour when they release a new album. So we setup a North American tour and traveled from city to city in our minivan, playing the series at independent theaters and film festivals", said Rosas.
The series stars Nick Sommer (Billy Club, Blood Junkie), Jessie Kahnweiler (The Skinny, Meet my Rapist), Mark Borchardt (American Movie, The Late Show with David Letterman), Mathew Dunlop (Noah, Billy Club), Mark Escribano, Sean Hanley, Laura Patalano (Alex Inc, Gente-fied) and Dan Aho (Contagion, Man of Steel), with Original Music by Nato Feelz(Rocketman, Ma, Pet Cemetery).