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Tuesday, 22 February, 2011 2:42 AM
'eCupid' to make its world premiere at Detroit's Burton Theatre
Advance screening of new film to take place during 2011 Detroit Independent Film Festival
DETROIT -- Last year, Hollywood actor Nicholas Downs came to the Detroit Independent Film Festival (DIFF) to promote the hit movie, Is It Just Me? Then, he starred in a nationwide commercial for McDonald's called, Me Time Frappe. This year, Downs is coming back to DIFF to promote the new film, eCupid, one that he co-produced. Both motion pictures were directed by J.C. Calciano, who will be on hand for the screening and the question-and-answer session afterwards.
"I'm from Iowa originally," Downs said in an exclusive phone interview. "I started doing whatever I could right out of high school, a lot of local projects. I've got a local agent there. I did some local commercials, industrial videos. Then, a feature film came called Harvest of Fire. I got to know the director on that, his name's Arthur Seidelman and kept in touch with him. I decided I really needed to move to one of the coasts, New York or Los Angeles if I was going to keep it up and make a go for it as a profession."
He added: "I moved to Los Angeles because I didn't want any more snowy winters. I came out to Los Angeles and got an agent and manager and just started working on my career and have been there ever since. I've been working in the last four years just being able to just act without having any other job or source of income. Acting has been my full income."
Could you tell me a little about the success that you've had with Is It Just Me?
" Is It Just Me? has been doing very well," the actor said. "It actually won Best Feature at the Detroit Independent Film Festival. Since then, it got into about 45 film festivals. It's actually still getting into film festivals to date. Just this month into next month, it plays in two different film festivals, both in Australia. It had a really good DVD/VOD release. It came out on Netflix, Amazon.com, TLA (the distributor) so it's also on their site where you can get the DVD and stream it there. Also, you can get it off Blockbuster and many, many online distribution companies. It's been doing really well. It got really good reviews and ended up winning other awards."
What should audiences expect to see when they watch eCupid?
"J.C.'s origin of that is It's a Wonderful Life," Downs explained. "That story gave him the idea for eCupid. It's obviously a much more updated dealing with technology. It's about a guy that downloads an app to find his true love. The app actually is a guardian angel-type app that comes into his life in a mysterious way and teaches him a lesson about love, life and gives him everything he thinks he wants. But, he soon learns that too much of a good thing really isn't that great of a thing and that the grass isn't always greener. Ultimately, what he really wants and needs has always been right by his side."
Since you were one of the co-producers of the film, did you enjoy that more than acting?
"I'd honestly say no, I did not," the actor responded. "Because I love acting so much. That's my career is acting. I'm working on a short film right now called Some Money. I just love being on set in general. But I really love being on set as an actor. For me though, I look at the co-producing as there are parts that I do enjoy. I get to see other sides of filmmaking that you normally don't get to see as an actor. You don't get to see the insides and out and the inner workings and the post-production, pre-production. It opens your eyes to a whole another world of the movie making process. I find it's necessary as an actor to learn that side of things."
The advance screening of eCupid is scheduled for Friday, March 11 at 8 p.m. inside the Burton Theatre in Detroit.
"This is going to be a preliminary, special screening that they're going to do," he said. "It will be one of the first times that audiences will be seeing it. I think it's going to be back at the Burton Theatre, which was a wonderful venue to screen in. It's a wonderful eccentric place to see a film. The audience was really wonderful last year. It was a great audience, a really good mixture of different people from different backgrounds. That was so neat to see. We're really hoping that this year that it has that same kind of pull to it. People that missed Is It Just Me? last year and want to see what J.C., the filmmaker, can do, they'll hopefully come around this time as well."
What's next for you career wise after eCupid?
"Is It Just Me? is out and it can be rented or bought now," Downs added. "eCupid will be doing the festival circuit, the one that I co-produced this year and it will be coming out in the fall of 2011. Basically, the same way around the same time that Is It Just Me? did, sort of a pre-holiday release. I'm working on a short film right now called Some Money, which is a wonderful project and a wonderful character. I'm in the middle of shooting it right now. It's going extremely well. I'm working on a music video at the end of this month for a young, up-and-coming artist. I'm also working on the Steam Room Stories with J.C. and we're putting those out."
DIFF Executive Director Robert Butler is excited to host the advance screening of eCupid. He said the Calciano will be on hand to answer questions from the audience at the conclusion of the movie.
"We have J.C. Calciano's world premiere of eCupid," Butler added. "We're premiering his film on Friday night, which will be March 11. He's the writer-director of our big hit last year titled, Is It Just Me? We're looking forward to having J.C. out at the festival as well."
Tickets for the world premiere of "eCupid" are $10 and can be purchased online or at the Burton Theatre box office. The Burton Theatre is located at 3420 Cass Ave., Detroit, MI 48201. For more information on the Detroit Independent Film Festival, call (248) 762-1615 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
Nicholas Downs (pictured center) came to Detroit last year to promote the film "Is It Just Me?" Director J.C. Calciano (pictured right) will return to the Motor City to promote "eCupid" on March 11, 2011.
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