New Kaiju Short SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ to Premiere at San Diego Comicon & Wonderfest
Godzilla-themed satire featuring STAR TREK’s George Takei
Author: Robert Troch and Jim Cirile
Official Movie Site: SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ
At long last SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ is here!
What is it? Why is it here?
SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ is an independent family film that ANY kaiju fan can appreciate, and any non-kaiju fan can enjoy. A satire starring David Gassman (RAYMAN series, THE BOURNE IDENTITY), Alixx Schotland, Ayla Guttman and the legendary George Takei (STAR TREK, HEROES), SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ is a 17 minute short film written by Jim Cirile and Aaron Schnore, produced by John Reefer, Jim Cirile, Robert Troch, Julien Calderbank and directed by Julien Calderbank. The story goes like this…
Jesse (David Gasman) is the world’s biggest Japanese monster movie fan. Trapped in a stultifying insurance job and a deteriorating marriage, the only bright spot in his life is his obsession with a certain Japanese monster, which he shares with his adorable 7-year-old daughter Cassie (Ayla Guttman). Jesse’s power attorney wife Mary (Alixx Schottland) drags them into counseling, where Jesse reluctantly promises he will forgo all things monstrous for one week to focus on the family.
But when Jesse sees a rare monster toy on display at NYC’s Monster Sushi, he challenges proprietor Ono (George Takei) to a Japanese monster trivia contest. If Jesse wins, he gets the coveted toy. If he loses, he owes Ono $1,000. Ono accepts on one condition: Jesse must face a representative from Monster Sushi’s legendary Japanese monster movie archivist Matsuhisa Jin. Jesse goes into geek overdrive preparing for the showdown. But on the eve of the event, Mary leaves him. Devastated, Jesse is a no-show. But wise Ono has one last surprise up his sleeve that may just pull the family back together.
MAKING OF THE GODZ
So far the film (in an earlier, longer version) has only screened at the Big Island Film Festival in Hawaii, but a newer and better version is premiering this month at the San Diego Comicon on Saturday July 26, and at Wonderfest in Louisville Kentucky July 19-20.
Writer/producer Jim Cirile said, “Making SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Here was a chance to condense everything I’d learned about screenwriting into a 20-minute movie. It had to be funny, yet have heart. It had to have three acts, just like a feature. But most importantly, it was an excuse to geek out. Godzilla and Star Trek in the same movie? Man, I’m all over it. GODZ wound up costing $50,000— way more than our original budget— and taking a year to make due to endless production and post-production hassles.”
“But at the end of the day, I am damn proud of both the film and the core creative team who continually dug deep and made this thing a reality. From landing a STAR TREK icon to getting the rights to use the classic Blue Oyster Cult hit “Godzilla”, getting this film done at the level we’d hoped (with limited resources) was a tough fight all the way, but I think I speak for all the creative team when I say it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I hope the fun and excitement we all had working on this passion project, so personal to us, shows in the finished film.”
Producer Robert Troch explained, “‘This is sick. I gotta do something with this.’ That was what my friend, Aaron Schnore said the first time he stepped into the domain that is my kaiju collection. A roomful of monster toys and model kits. Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Gamera, King Kong, Dracula, Frankenstein….ehh you get the idea. Aaron was a struggling screenwriter and every now and then we would meet up and he would say ‘I haven’t forgotten that room. There is a script in there somewhere.’ Fast forward a few years and guess what? He called me up one day to ask me if I could look over a draft. Hmmmm I thought. It’s funny, and hidden in there is some of me. Am I really that obsessive I asked myself? It didn’t matter because the ending made it all ok! I made some suggestions and he sent me a new and better draft. I was getting excited. Aaron is a guy who walks his talk. He writes scripts and then gets them made into movies! As it went along it became a labor of love and I forked over a bunch of money to keep the production going. One scene was even filmed in my kaiju room. Although, to be fair it is way too massive to actually all show up on the screen. Heh, heh.”
Troch continued, “Anyway, filming had commenced and no one had been cast in the pivotal part of Ono, the owner of Monster Sushi. All the while Jim had been trying to get George Takei but I really didn’t think it was going to happen. Then lightning struck! At practically the ninth hour Takei was on board. He loved the script an would be in NYC that week to do the HOWARD STERN show. We were on. I was thrilled to be there when he came in to do his scenes. Especially being that I am an old STAR TREK fan and actually have tried to do so-so impersonations of Takei. Now I got to hear the real thing. He is truly a nice guy too. A pleasure to work with.”
“Once shooting was completed the real problems started. Endless technical problems, personality conflicts and lack of funds caused nothing but headaches and delays. What should have taken 3-4 months took 16 months! Yikes. We managed to push through it all though and I hope everyone can enjoy it. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming and well…..it’s got Godzilla!”
Writer Aaron Schnore said “Basically I was sitting in Monster Sushi one night, looking at the toy monsters, and thinking about how I wanted to do something w/ Robert’s toy collection…and the idea hit me…what if someone like him encountered a super rare Godzilla toy at a sushi restaurant and, to his wife’s chagrin, he become obsessed with winning it?”
GODZ CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
JULIEN CALDERBANK (Director/Producer) is a writer, producer, director, visionary. He is respected and known in NYC as an expert reader of people, loyal and fun, a master problem solver, a fearless, tenacious, dogged optimist who knows when to be soft, and when to say “just pick up the f***ing glass and move over there.” Julien is (in)famous for speaking his mind, for saying what he means and meaning what he says, for staying true to himself and to others, because he believes that cinematic truth begins within. He dreams of a new Hollywood, where truth, not money, reigns supreme. Amen, brother.
He wrote, produced, and directed the political thriller short film and underground hit, THEY DIED FOR YOU AND ME. He also wrote, produced and directed the zany experimental comedy THE LAST SUPPER. His award-winning short film VERNE’S TURN, is a haunting journey into the minds of an incestuous family.
He has also worked as Assistant Director on various projects such as the rapper Eyez’s music video, “THE DEVIL IS EVERYWHERE,” which aired on BET. Next up: SLOUCHING TOWARDS BETHLEHEM which he is writing and directing, a creepy short film with an original take on the Second Coming.
JIM CIRILE (writer/executive producer) is the founder of Coverage, Ink, a leading independent screenplay analysis and development service, with whom he developed the screenplay for SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ. He writes the Agent’s Hot Sheet column for Creative Screenwriting magazine and has sold, optioned or written for hire dozens of scripts.
His produced credits include comedy/action movies BOUNTY HUNTERS, HAWK’S VENGEANCE, BOUNTY HUNTERS 2: HARDBALL and the not-quite cult legend BANNED, about a dead Brit punk rock star who takes over the body of a Milquetoast jazz musician. Jim lives in LA and has been a Trekker since he was a wee lad. E-mail him at email@example.com.
AARON F. SCHNORE (Co-writer/Associate Producer) co-wrote the feature script for INSIDE A CHANGE with Rik Cordero. He co-wrote and co-produced the award-winning short film AVENUE X with Phil Roc, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, screened at dozens of festivals internationally, and won the Best Director award at the Gotham International Film & Video Festival.
Aaron also co-wrote the medical thriller WHITE CURE (directed by Fernando Scarpa), and the acclaimed hip-hop/horror short film RHYME ANIMAL (directed by Phil Roc). Next up: AFTER PARTY BABIES, a sexy, tragi-comic short film about a lovers’ triangle gone awry, directed by Henry Cruz, with cinematography by the world-renowned Hermes Marco.
Aaron is a past Grand Prize winner of the Writer’s Network screenwriting competition (sponsored by Fade In: magazine), a past Project Greenlight Top 50 finalist, a Top 20 Final Draft finalist, a Sundance Lab and Outfest Lab finalist, and more. He has a degree in English from The College of William & Mary and Screenwriting from New York University. Give him a shout out: firstname.lastname@example.org
ROBERT TROCH (Executive Producer) attended NYU (school of film and TV) for 1½ years way back in the early 80s. In between then and now he played rock drums in various bands, renovated buildings, became a competitive runner, taught Yoga AND founded Institute of Injury Free Athletics (personal training and nutrition).
He also never gave up on his love of monsters, especially Godzilla— thus his becoming an executive producer of SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ. Guess you could say he has now come around full circle back to film again. He is now moving on to another film project, and is the co-founder of Transistor Films. Also feels VERY strongly that Boris Karloff never got the Oscar he richly deserved. Robert@transistor-films.com