Chic Spotlight: Rebel Pilgrim Productions
A Strange Brand of Happy will be released in theaters September 13, 2013
Cincy Chic:What’s the story behind Rebel Pilgrim Productions/A Strange Brand of Happy?
Joe Boyd and Brad Wise, founders of Rebel Pilgrim Productions and producers of A Strange Brand of Happy: We started Rebel Pilgrim Productions to tell stories of hope from Cincinnati. Personally, I (Boyd) grew up in Ohio and made my way to Las Vegas and Los Angeles for 13 years before moving home about six years ago with a hunch that we could make movies here. It’s been a longer journey but we’re finding our stride.
I (Wise) had the initial idea for A Strange Brand of Happy when I was driving to my friend’s wedding in West Virginia back on December 31, 2008.
Cincy Chic: What’s the local tie to the organization and film?
Boyd, Wise: Our main office for Rebel Pilgrim Productions is in Cincinnati. Currently, we have five full-time employees working out of our downtown offices. We produce all of our movies from Cincinnati and shoot as many in the region as we can. a Strange Brand of Happy is 100 percent Cincinnati – written, produced, set, shot and edited entirely in Cincinnati. Our dream is to see a full studio based here.
We wanted A Strange Brand of Happy to be a love letter to Cincinnati. Whenever possible, we tried to pick exterior shots that showed off the city. We partnered with local favorites like Dewey’s Pizza and Graeter’s and even shot scenes there.
Cincy Chic: Can you tell us more about the film and your production company?
Boyd, Wise: This movie is an underdog story. We don’t easily fit into a marketable box. Nobody is out there making movies that feel like Napoleon Dynamite meets Office Space that authentically talk about faith. And not many Indie films at this budget make it into theaters. We’re the first move to partner with SEATZY, an online ticket reservation tool who’s tagline is, “We Make Movies Happen.” That’s what we’re trying to do. Take this little move made in Cincinnati and show Hollywood that we (RPP and Cincinnati) belong in their storytelling club. Readers can also check out this section of our website www.rebelpilgrim.com to learn more about the company and film.
Cincy Chic: Why are you so proud of the Queen City?
Boyd, Wise: I (Boyd) think Cincinnati is in the middle of a rebirth. There was a day when Cincinnati on the cutting edge of culture and commerce. For a while now, we’ve been more or less ignored as the “rust belt” or part of the “flyover states.” I love New York and Los Angeles, but I also believe something special and world-changing is happening here. I’m excited to play a small role in it.
The architecture and eclectic neighborhoods provide a beautiful and very cinematic backdrop. We shot in Hyde Park, Norwood, the Gateway Quarter, near the Big Mac bridge, Shot Vine and Oakley. That is a wide variety of unique looks all found in one city.
I (Wise) love the entrepreneurial spirit of this town. There’s a sense that anything is possible if you have the motive to go for it. People all over this city are turning their dreams and crazy ideas into their profession. Walking through Over-the-Rhine during City Flea is an explosion of inspiration for me. That “nothing is impossible” spirit is the story of making this movie.
Cincy Chic: Does Rebel Pilgrim Productions have anything new on the horizon?
Boyd, Wise: Well, A Strange Brand of Happy is coming out in theaters nationwide September 13 and we are currently shooting a drama called Hope Bridge that is slated for a theatrical release in 2014. The film stars Booboo Stewart (Twilight, X-Men) and Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, Soul Surfer). We also have several other projects in development for 2014 including ReGifter, a family-friendly Christmas movie and Reckless Faith, the true story of Cincinnati natives Beth and todd Guckenberger. We also have a short from our video division, helping businesses and non-profits better tell their stories of hope to the world.
To learn more about Rebel Pilgrim Productions, A Strange Brand of Happy and upcoming projects, visit www.rebelpilgrim.com.