Catching Junior Tate, the new action-comedy from filmmaking duo Karl and Rhonda Wilson, co-owners of 2DB Productions, takes the audience down the dusty trail from Florida to Mexico, where bounty hunters, crooked cops and mobster thugs vie for custody of the eponymous fugitive, Junior Tate, and his multi-carat cargo.
Starring Jesse St. Louis as Tate and Christopher Wynn as the bounty hunter hired to track him down, Catching Junior Tate is the second feature-length film from 2DB, where Karl serves as writer/director and Rhonda as producer. The pair released Breaking Up With Rosie on the festival circuit last year, where it won “Best Florida Production” at the Gasparilla International Film Festival.
About 100 people auditioned for Rosie, according to the Wilsons. This time, more than 700 actors read for a part, with some coming from as far out-of-state as New York City.
This time, 2DB decided to go bigger all-around, but although the story is international, the filmmakers report they were able to film entirely within a 3 hour radius of the Sarasota-Manatee area. In addition to shooting at familiar locations such as The Coffee Loft on N. Tamiami and Sarasota BMW, Florida’s varied landscape provided the red dirt roads and dive bars needed for the south-of-the-border mise-en-scene the Wilsons envisioned.
Hyphen overload aside, it’s an impressive feat. With the exception of some CGI mountains in the background, everything you see in the film is genuine Florida.
“You would not believe the looks we were able to find,” said Karl. “The locations here are beautiful.”
Henry Lawrence, local politician and former Oakland Raider, and China “The Dragon” Smith, WBF North American Heavyweight Champion, both make appearances in the film, as does local film fixture Mark Troy, the actor/filmmaker behind ManaSota Films.
Both Wilsons credit ManaSota Films as an excellent resource for aspiring local filmmakers, citing its utility as a focal point for the film community and an effective gatherer of local talent from which artists can staff their projects. All said, it seems the opinion of the minds behind 2DB that this is a good time to be making films in Sarasota.
“It’s very film friendly,” said Karl. “When we shot Breaking Up With Rosie, the film commission was very helpful. It’s one thing if Joe Filmmaker calls the airport and says ‘Hey can we shoot some stuff there?’ and it’s another thing if the commission calls.”
“Jeanne Corcoran and her entire staff are really amazing,” added Rhonda. “They’re very supportive, no matter how small or how large your budget is. They were always willing to help out.”
With filming complete, Catching Junior Tate is currently in the editing phase and will hopefully be hitting the festival circuit as early as this fall.
Watch the teaser, “The Legend of Junior Tate,” here: http://vimeo.com/79747602