Id say about a month or so ago I had the pleasure of being 1 out of 3 guests to be featured on episode 9 of host Allison Howard’s talk show: “Lights, Camera, Action“! Extremely thankful that I was selected as 1 of the 3 guests and from that experience I learned that much more about the industry. Here is a briefing on what “Lights, Camera, Action” is all about –> “Lights, Camera, Action!” is a talk-show dedicated to telling the stories of working actors in the Washington D.C./Baltimore area. Each show allows the guests an opportunity to showcase and talk about their talents, how they began their journey into the acting business and past and present projects. <–
Not to mention that I got to plug past projects (Fang, All In The Game), current projects (Reminisce <a href="http://www.facebook.com/ReminisceTheFilm, http://www.facebook.com/ReminisceTheFilm, <strong>Girl Trouble http://www.facebook.com/GirlTroubleMovie) and future projects (Rebels and Rejects: Season 2) that I enjoyed working on and ones that havent begun filming yet!
So with that said please feel free to check it out below! Its rather long but it is definetly enlightening in regards to the industry(film/theater) alike I promise! Share it, Like it, and spread the word! As always thank you for your time and support everyone!
*New trailer for Gary Ugarek’s feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game]/Also the film now has distribution
Here is the new trailer for Gary Ugarek’s feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game]. The film stars: Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, Kelvin Page, Daniel Ross, Michael McMullin. Along with myself, and many more! In the film I play the role of “Flash”.
The trailer has been revamped by our distributors at: EyesWideOpenFilms. Also a street date has been set for the release of the film: October 16th! The film will be sold at retailers such as: Best Buy, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and many more!! Hope you enjoy the new trailer and also purchase a copy of the film online or in stores when the film is released!
Director: Gary Ugarek
Ontario, Vince, Lucky and Littles, friends since birth, brothers till death. Coming from nothing they have begun to find themselves engaged in the ruthless Baltimore drug trade. They will stop at nothing to take control of it all, including taking out the most powerful mobster of the city – Michael Caprisci. As they systematically begin terminating the competition they have to engage a tangled yet simplistic plan to get Caprisci out of the game using of all people, his son Nicki, a slick, fast talker who prefers booze and women over his father’s lifestyle. In the end, Nicki’s drug problem will aid the group in bringing his father down. As the plan develops, Ontario finds out that some of his own rank and file are conducting business behind his back. He needs to send a message to let them know who is in charge, but when one of his closest allies ends up starting a war, he has to make a decision on what is more important, business or friendship. So as the war begins, who will win? Or in this game…is there really a winner? Thug Life is an in depth look into the world of street crime and those who rule the streets.
“Thug Life: All in the Game” is a very realistic and believable gangster film that keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire time. Most of us have no idea what it’s like to live the way these guys do and I’m sure we are grateful we don’t either but the film does a terrific job at showing us that way of life in a in your face and powerful way. The decision to shoot the film in black and white was a very good idea as it adds plenty of grit, mood and style to the story.
The story follows a “firm” on the streets of Baltimore as they attempt their way up the latter to claim more territory in a bold and brutal scheme. The film depicts these guys as relentless and without regard for human life, in some cases not even their own. Sadly what is shown is reality, it happens everyday in almost every city, it’s pretty scary to see the way some parts of society behaves.
Director, Gary Ugarek did a brilliant job in creating a believable gangster film and his cast did an amazing job playing their characters in a realistic and powerful way. There are several very memorable scenes in the film, it is a film that stays with you long after it’s over. I would like to see a sequel for this, there’s plenty of story to tell if they choose to do so. I am not a big fan of the genre but this is certainly one of the more realistic of it’s kind I have seen.
If you like the genre then I highly recommend picking this film up when it comes out on DVD October 16th, you can Pre-order it HERE
“Thug Life: All in the Game” is a brutal and honest look at life on the streets, it’s not pretty but it sure is effective. I really enjoyed it and look forward to seeing what this talented film-maker has coming out next.
Released by Open Your Eyes Films
ALL IN THE GAME TRAILER
(re) Search my Trash interview with director Gary Ugarek on his feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game]
The good folks at (re) Search My Trash recently interviewed Filmmaker and good friend Gary Ugarek in regards to his feature length Urban Drama film [All In The Game]! Check out the interview below and a quote from the interviewer himself; Mike Habelfelner – ” Thug Life: All In The Game is beautifully filmed and wonderfully energetic movie about small fry crooks trying to make it big – in other words, exactly the kind of movie I like…
*To view the interview in its original written form PLEASE visit the site thru the link provided here at: http://www.searchmytrash.com/articles/garyugarek(7-12).shtml *
An Interview with Gary Ugarek, Director of Thug Life: All in the Game
July 2012Films directed by Gary Ugarek on (re)Search my Trash
Mike: Your new film Thug Life: All in the Game – in a few words, what is it about?
Gary: Drugs, Violence, and Sex.
(You said a few words,)
Mike: With Thug Life: All in the Game being a gangster film, is that a genre at all dear to you, and some of your genre favourites?
Gary: I am a fan of many genres, zombie horror, action films, modern day gangster films and the gangster flicks of the 30’s and 40’s. I am actually more of a fan of the original 1930’s Scarface than the Pacino remake.
I can’t say it is my all time fave because my tastes and likes in film change based on my mood and many other factors, but it is a genre I do enjoy.
Mike: With the majority of your cast being Afro-American, did the blaxploitation films of the 1970’s at all serve as a template for your movie?
Gary: No, I know about them and enjoy them, but that was not a route I wanted to take.
Mike: (Other) sources of inspiration for Thug Life: All in the Game?
Gary: There are only 3 sources of inspiration for All in the Game, HBO’s The Wire (3 of my cast members were cast members on The Wire), Pulp Fiction (for the violence and torture carried out by Lucky). Reservoir Dogs was the final because of the consistent and quality wide shots, something we did try to emulate on All in the Game.
The inspiration that came from Pulp Fiction in regards to the character of Lucky was this simple question: What would Marsellus Wallace do?
Mike: You’ve shot your movie entirely in black and white – would you like to elaborate on this and other stylistic decisions?
Gary: I wanted to do and urban gangster film and a black and white film as part of my film career, and since money is very hard to come by, even for us indie guys, and trying to pull off a full movie on $1,700 (budget for All in the Game), I said I might as well make it in B&W, so I kill two birds with one stone.
I filtered some test footage before I made the final decision, and of course all the B&W is done in post with filtering, but the main reason was to get another check-off on my film career. I am not sure how many films I will be able to make in the future, and with each movie my next one is further and further out, so I try to wrap what I want to do all in one project if I can. But I will admit after doing the test footage in B&W I fell in love with it, so you could say it was an artistic choice if you want.
Mike: How would you describe your directorial approach to your subject at hand?
Gary: I have grown quite a bit as a filmmaker, so when directing my actors I try to find real world scenarios to describe what I am looking for, or use a movie they may have seen for reference. However, these are folks who act for a living, so I tell them some information when I give them the script and expect them to carry it out the best they can. On set I will tweak their performance within a take or two.
Mike: I think one of the aspects that make Thug Life: All in the Game so very much alive is its choice of wonderfully run-down locations. So what can you tell us about your locations?
Gary: The warehouse is the Street Light warehouse and was in use many years ago. It is Baltimore City property. That location makes numerous appearances onThe Wire as well. The bar the gang hangs out in is an actual bar owned by one of the castmembers. It is a very popular East Baltimore hang-out, and one of the first places in Maryland to assist African Americans with voting when they were allowed to vote. So the building has a lot of history behind it.
Mike: What can you tell us about your principal cast, and how did you find them?
Gary: Lucky and Vince are Micaiah Jones and Chris Clanton. They played Little Man and Savino Bratton on The Wire. I met Micaiah through Nelson Irizarry who plays the leader – Ontario Banks. I met Nelson and Kelvin (who plays Littles) on the set of a 100% improv zombie film called Zombie Doomsday, in which I have a small cameo. After working with them I said one day I would sit down and write something they could appear in… All in the Game was that film. Nelson introduced me to a lot of the actors, and since I knew them from watchingThe Wire, it was a no-brainer to cast them in the film.
The great thing about indie filmmaking, there is always someone who knows someone who worked on a popular TV show, had a decent role people remember, and they just love to act. Plus we all had a blast making the film.
Mike: You also play a small role in Thug Life: All in the Game. A few words about Gary Ugarek, the actor?
Gary: No comment… I just wanted to set someone on fire.
Mike: A few words about the actual shoot and the on-set atmosphere?
Gary: The film took 12 days to shoot. We re-shot day one footage on Day 12. The actors hadn’t quite gel’d yet so I said I will see how days 2-11 go, and if they get better we will reshoot all of day 1. We did and it works much better. On the self-DVD/Blu-Ray-release I actually include a lot of the Day One-footage that was scrapped, and you also get to see it in color. Once you see the film and re-watch the Day One-scenes you can see the differences.
The on-set atmosphere was a lot of dick jokes. We took the work seriously, but it was just day-in day-out of smart-assery, and someone always claiming they had a bigger dick than the next guy. Even race jokes flew around the set. We all became great friends and everyone knew where we stood as individuals, but it never stopped anyone from being called OUT ON THEIR HERITAGE. I didn’t care if I was called a Cracker, DP #1 Habib Awan probably got the worst of it. Habib, who was born in the USA, sounds every bit American as the rest of us, just was constantly being bombarded with jokes about him not possibly liking the film and plotting to blow us up at the premiere. (To note: this was in 2011, so way before The Dark Knight Rises-shooting.) To us saying and talking about race and origin takes the stigma off of it.
Mike: What can you tell us about critical and audience reception of your film so far?
Gary: Critical has been good, I haven’t read any horrible reviews yet. Audience – it is definitely a crowd type film. I know at the Baltimore Screening when Nicky Caprisci makes his big announcement, a lot of folks got pretty emotional about it and cheered at his come-uppance. The film toes a fine line of PC and P-UC. This was not done for shock-and-awe factor, this is just how the real world is, even in 2011/2012, and when you shoot a film on this subject matter, you better expect anything and everything to come flying out.
Mike: Should need arise, will there ever be a Thug Life II?
Gary: There is a script for a spin-off film based on the character of Lucky, titledLucky, but it is still in early development. I also have a screenplay for All in the Game II that picks up right after the end of All in the Game 1. While they think they won the battle and won Caprisci’s territory, little did they know his only daughter has more balls than her bother and is 5 times more ruthless than her father. So the story picks up with the daughter getting wind and exacting revenge. When you’re in the drug trade. there is no end to the game. As it has been said, the game is rigged to get you to fail.
Also, the film is just titled ALL in the GAME, that is how I wrote it and directed it. The distributor changed the title and added Thug Life… I wasn’t crazy about it, but I said whatever, as long as All in the Game stays as a subtitle – so you will never here myself or a cast member call it Thug Life: All in the Game, we just call it All in the Game.
Gary: Go buy them… They are aweomse.
I was, but pushed it back until 2013. The film just needs a lot of money to be made, more than the normal budgets I work with. I actually discuss it in a YouTube video. It starts by me discussing the ending of Deadlands 2: Trapped, which is also on You Tube for free to watch, and a debate started up among viewers about the ending. I thought the ending was pretty obvious, but to some it was not so I ended up explaining it, then I touch upon Deadlands 3.
Mike: Why zombie movies, and your genre favourites?
Gary: Zombies are the only horror monster that scares the living shit out of me. Even at 41, I could have a terrifying-as-hell nightmare about zombies and still wake up in a sweat breathing heavy. I have some very vivid dreams. Deadlands 2: Trapped was based on a dream I had the combined Demons and The Return of the Living Dead, so that is how Deadlands 2: Trapped was born.
Plus I also look at it like, every zombie filmmaker is making their own survivalist training video based on the zombie apocalypse through their eyes. Mine is just another training film.
Mike: Any other films of yours you’d like to talk about, any other future projects?
Gary: Not really but thanks for asking. I just ask your readers check out my films and they can even leave comments on the IMDb page for the film or email me directly (through the official websites) to let me know their thoughts and opinions. I like reading feedback, especially those who have true feedback that can help me improve. What they like and didn’t like. I strive to make each film better, but how you do that is through feedback.
Mike: Directors who inspire you?
Gary: So many to list, but I do respect Tony Scott, he knows action. Richard Donner, Shane Black, George Romero for his contributions to zombie cinema. Sam Raimi, Dan O’ Bannon. And Luc Besson.
Mike: Your favourite movies?
Gary: Die Hard, Dawn of the Dead, The Return of the Living Dead, True Romance, Leon (aka The Professional),Pulp Fiction, Saturday Night Fever, Boogie Nights, Shooter, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood,Goodfellas, and many others.
Mike: … and of course, films you really deplored?
Gary: I have never really walked out of any movies except one. Collateral Damage with Arnold Schwarzenegger, that was bad, I just looked at my wife at the time and said I don’t know about you but I think this sucks and I am ready to head out. So we got up and left. I won’t say I deplored it, but I don’t care for The Dark Knight. When Heath Ledger was on screen the movie was dark sinister fun and entertaining, when he wasn’t it just seemed to meander looking for a purpose. I do deplore Avatar, not because it is a bad film, but because everyone thinks it is great film. It is really just a live action version of Ferngully, and while it looks great, it is only eye candy. Cameron has made better (Terminator 2, True Lies) and should be making even better films than those, not so-so flicks likeAvatar.
Mike: Your/your movie’s website, Facebook, whatever else?
Gary: Deadlands trilogy – www.playingwithdeadthings.com
All in the Game – www.allinthegamemovie.net
Myself – IMDb, Twitter @GaryUgarek, FBwww.facebook.com/DjfunkmasterG
Mike: Anything else you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Gary: I like Wonton soup.
Mike: Thanks for the interview!
Gary: Thanks for having me on, and glad you enjoyed the film.
Here is the new poster artwork for Gary Ugarek’s Independent feature length Crime Thriller [All In The Game] starring Nelson Irizarry, Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, and Kelvin “Drama” Page. Along with Mike McMullin, Daniel Ross, Joseph Durbin, myself, Vonn Harris and many more! So far the film has been selected into 3 Film festivals and the film is still making its rounds within the circuit! As you already know, any progress on the film will be noted and Ill be sure to tell you! As always, #StayTuned and #Enjoy
Gary Ugarek’s Independent Feature Length Crime Thriller [All In The Game] has been aquired for Distribution
Below is a review for Gary Ugarek’s Independent feature length crime thriller [All In The Game]starring Nelson Irizarry, Chris Clanton, Micaiah Jones, and Kelvin Page. Along with Mike McMullin, Daniel Ross, Joseph Durbin, myself, and Vonn Harris as well. A great review and its just a blessing to have had the opportunity to work alongside such a taleneted cast and crew! As always #StayTuned and enjoy!
All in the Game
By: Will Santana, Posted: April 09, 2012
The Movie itself:
Independent director Gary Ugarek has pleased zombie fans not once, but twice since his directorial debut. Now Gary attempts to please fans in his second favored genre, urban gangster films. Not ever viewing Gary’s previous two films due to my lack of interest in zombies, I actually was ecstatic win he made an official announcement with his third movie All in the Game. I’m a sucker for the urban genre. Whether it’s a high budget production, an independent one or even a rapper attempting to make a motion picture. Now, I’m sure Gary doesn’t have any attentions of being compared to a rapper wanting to have an impact in Hollywood (cough! Master P), and intends to hit viewers hard and correct. Now that’s gangsta.
The streets of B-More (Baltimore) trafficking groups are under the radar battling for territory. Ontario Banks (Nelson Irizarry) leads his gang but wants more than the average thug life. He preaches to his crew to have more expectations than just money, clothes and hoes. His crew is supported by the tactical, Vince (Chris Clanton), the enforcer, Lucky (Micaiah Jones) and trigger happy, Littles (Kelvin Page). Ontario wants nothing but his crew to be low profile, but on the other hand wants to move in on B-More rival, Michael Caprisi’s territory. With his crew and some help from the streets, Ontario must be smart, tactical, and daring in order to make his new move. Now that the plan is in effect, the streets of B-More are now at war and no one is safe.
For Gary’s debut into the gangster genre, I was really impressed how well the storyline was developed, and for a small independent film, the acting was superb. The movie had a bit of a slow start and was similar to many films I’ve seen in the past, but if you just hang in there, the suspense tends to build up with the violence and strategic moves. I did like that it didn’t take long for the characters to develop, and it was pretty easy to identify which kind of role each actor would have. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad at all that they developed so fast as the movie’s actual plot was somewhat unpredictable. Outside the main actors, the acting was quite poor, too stereotypical or a few scenes seemed to be exaggerated.
I was really impressed how speeches of growth were entertaining, even though these scenes slowed the pace of the movie, it didn’t impact the flow at all. I also like the split screen shots instead of the usual cross cutting that Alfred Hitchcock perfected. I did think at times the split screen method was unnecessary when the two cameras were in the same exact location and were probably 2 feet away from each other. Nelson, Chris and Micaiah had great chemistry and it worked with them being on the same crew. Kelvin Page’s character was the least convincing to me even though I understood his role. I felt a little should have been added to Kelvin’s character progression.
As the story unfolds in All in the Game, the movie comes pretty hard. The torture scenes may lack the special effects of a major Hollywood blockbuster but still can make you cringe. Gary truly got his money worth from Micaiah Jones as the enforcer, he was 100% convincing in his role as Lucky. Micaiah brings fear, power, humor, and a grimey presence to the screen. Chris Clanton had a smooth swag I wish Gary would have captured more. He played my favorite personality but was very limited to screen time. Chris’ portrayal of Vince is the one you can see making something more of his life than trafficking and living the violent life.
All in the Game wasn’t a letdown one bit. The gangster torture film has a slow start, but if you give it a chance and hang around long enough, you will witness an independent movie that can entertain just as much as any major blockbuster. The special effects are lacking due to the budget but the storyline and acting are so up to par. I have yet to see Ugarek’s zombie films, but I hope to see more from the urban genre. A fun hip-hop soundtrack and a tour of B-More added some more spice to a movie that’s already fun to enjoy. I wish I could loan my copy out to friends but I know they will bootleg this movie in a heartbeat and I can’t take any part of that as I support the independent film movies.
Movie Rating: 7/10
All in the Game is presented in full 1080p via Mpeg-2 encode and framed at 2.35:1. The black and white film from Ugarek’s looks really damn good on Blu-ray. Although the film was shot in color, the post conversion to black and white was done extremely well. For a small budget, damn, the contrast and black levels were top notch in high-def. Man, if you ever wonder how to set your contrast up, this is the movie to tweak it around with. White levels tend to bleed a bit on daylight shots while in the neighborhood. Facial detail is fairly impressive as moles, scars and other blemishes are easy to detect. The movie has a bit of depth to it adding an extended dimension. Grain seems to come and go, on a few night shots grain was a tad heavier and bothered a little. The transition to new scenes went pretty smooth for the most part.
I love, love, love the opening shots of Baltimore. With most movie’s settings taking place in New York, Atlanta or California, it was quite a treat to get a quick tour around a different environment. I also enjoyed the shots in Ontario’s crew base with the window. The camera focuses on dialogue from Kelvin and Chris but they’re in the background of the glass and you can still catch a glimpse of Nelson. My favorite shot was of Micaiah coming out of a hallway hitting a light bulb and all the shadows flashing, which also illustrates the greatness of the black levels.
Even with a killer score and soundtrack, the English Dolby Digital 5.1 track was the most disappointing section of the disc. The first minute of the movie audio has a glitch that really doesn’t affect the rest of the movie. Dialogue for the most part is clean and crisp but suffers with echoing at times, wind blowing and random street cars driving by. Inside of buildings the dynamic range really impressed and the musical soundtrack provided a fun lifting moment. I personally will need to contact Gary with a few of the hip-hop tracks that were in the movie. Rear speakers are used quite often and with a few background noises but were also disturbing on occasions. The hip-hop track uplifts the bass usage for sub-woofer fans. I’m sure the budget could have had an impact with the audio track, so it was still good enough for me overall.
Video Rating: 7/10, Audio Rating: 5/10
All in the Game has a lot to offer in the way of extras. You won’t be disappointed with these High-def features.
- Audio Commentary
- Saint Anger’s-You Heard Me: Music Video (HD 4 min)
- Teaser Trailer (HD 1 min)
- Original Day 1 Footage (with Deleted Scene) (HD 1 min)
- More Day 1 Footage (Deleted/Reshoots) (HD 4 min)
- Original Cut-The Three Amigos Torture Scene (HD 4 min)
- Fund Raising Promo (HD 2 min)
- In the Hot Seat (Cast Interviews) (HD 12 min)
- Bloopers- By the Balls (HD 2 min)
Extras Rating: 8/10
For his first film in the gangster genre, director Gary Ugarek has an extra base hit if you ask me. For the price I paid for my disc and the budget of the film, I feel I came out dead even. All in the Game will find a nice spot in my Blu-ray collection with my urban movie cases. Will Gary go back to his true passion of zombies or stay here? I hope he stays here as I will purchase his next film without any hesitation. A solid video transfer and blasting hip-hop soundtrack makes this a bonus from what I was expecting. Chris Clanton and Micaiah Jones were absolutely entertaining to watch and hope the two can team up some more on screen.
Overall Rating: 7/10