Jersey City couple Guy and Dana Patton have done stage productions, web and festival comedic shorts, and a few independent television pilots. Both have been on the sets of features as extras or filled in as crew for small independent productions done by friends. They had always talked about making their own feature, and they had a small germ of an idea. And so Pearl was born.
Shot locally in Jersey City and Hoboken, New Jersey, the film features locations such as Grace Church, Canco Lofts, and DCs Tavern.
Pearl debuted last year at Golden Door International Film Festival in Jersey City where it won “Best Local Feature”. The debut took place at the Landmark Lowes Jersey Theatre.
Pearl went on to screen in Manhattan at Anthology Film Archives, The YOFI Festival, and at several other venues.
Pearl with be representing Jersey City on the West Coast at the 10th Annual Action on Film Fest in Monrovia, California in August 2014.
The filmmakers recently signed a deal with Cut Entertainment Group for distribution in the United States and overseas.
More about Pearl
Pearl is an intense action-thriller with a compelling story that keeps you engaged until the very last frame. Consumed by a horrific event in her past, a woman is driven to violent retribution, and soon discovers that there can be no getting even. Her only ally: a meth-making genius who manipulates her for her own ends, while she wages a vigilante campaign against a powerful drug lord and his thug army. A detective, investigating a series of grisly homicides, begins to uncover the truth about her, and the role he himself played in her origins. But can he find her in time to stop the killing, and to save her from herself?
“We wanted to have a baby. I’m not getting any younger, and I didn’t want to be an old dad. I kept saying to my wife that I felt like it was now or never for a baby. But she said that we should make the movie first,” explains writer/director Guy Patton.
“I thought if we can’t make it happen before we have a baby, there’s no way in hell we’ll get it together after. And I didn’t want to have any regrets or resentment for not making this dream we had happen,” added Dana Patton, who plays Pearl.
They were interested in the thriller genre, and wanted Dana to be the lead. They had an idea for an 80’s style action movie… an homage to Death Wish-style vigilante films, but with a female protagonist. “I’d never seen one that was credible: usually women in these films are sex objects, or smooth spy-types who weigh 90lbs, beating up men twice their size; I wanted to do something more realistic and gritty-that was the idea…” according to Guy. And it might have stayed an idea, were it not for an unexpected invitation.
Some friends had a timeshare in Cancun, and the couple looked at the getaway as an opportunity for clarity in a relaxing environment. They brought a laptop with them, and developed a synopsis, a detailed outline, plot and character descriptions, all in a week’s time. With the story quickly forming, Guy returned home with a clear vision and began tapping out pages of dialogue.
Then, much like Pearl’s family in the movie, the Pattons were the victims of a home invasion. An intruder broke in to their home while they slept upstairs, setting off their burglar alarm. Guy raced downstairs and mercifully, the thief fled out the back door. No one was hurt, but their laptop, along with the script for Pearl, was gone. In his excitement to finish the project, Guy hadn’t made a backup. The movie dream almost died that day.
“I felt sick. I couldn’t imagine going back to square one and starting over. I wanted to give up. Even more than the violation of someone having been in our house while we were asleep, I was so angry about them having stolen all our progress on this thing we were building. But after a couple days the depression gave way to determination. So I got back to work,” said Guy.
As the film’s protagonist, Pearl, Dana was required to perform dangerous stunts, so she had to train to do it all herself. For over a year, she went to the gym for several hours a day before and after work to train, and without a nutritionist, caterer, personal chef, or any of those Hollywood trappings, she relied on the classes at the gym that came with her membership, training for a Tough Mudder race, and a few weeks of personal training to form a plan to get in shape for the action scenes.
They got incredibly lucky with casting. Scott Morales brings a self-deprecating yet cocky humor to Pearl’s meth addicted sidekick Erik. Justin Brown lends a beautiful intensity to the villain Tre. And George Morafetis who plays Detective John Wyatt created a character with remarkable warmth and depth. The supporting cast surprises with heart and intensity, rounding out a rich cast.
For more information about Pearl email firstname.lastname@example.org.