Legion Industries Battles Tension in Courtroom Drama

Photo from open casting call and pitch speech filming. Left to right: Antonio Greco, Chris Koveleski and Stephen DePrisco.

Photo from open casting call and pitch speech filming. Left to right: Antonio Greco, Chris Koveleski and Stephen DePrisco.

If you’ve ever dreamed of living it up like Jack Warner for a day, local filmmaking team Legion Industries Inc. can give you that chance with their current Indiegogo campaign. Comprised of recent Temple grads and current students, Legion will be transforming their senior thesis project into a film worthy of professional release, but they need $6,500 to see it through.

An interview with Executive Producer Antonio Greco gives you the rundown on why it’s a film worth funding.

Can you give me some background on Legion Industries? How it started, where the name comes from?

The name came from founder Steve DePrisco’s affinity for being Italian. He chose legion for the Roman empire, to illustrate the strength of the organization. He started Legion when he was about 15 years old, his father helped him get the funds together, and it became a legitimate company. He started off making money by doing little film jobs for people in the area, filming weddings, dance recitals. And as time went on he started doing commercials and things of that nature.

I ran into Steve in my junior year of college at Temple University, and we were in a class together. And I said, hey the last project you did was pretty good, maybe we should work together. I got introduced to his entire company, all of which are his friends.

What’s your role in Legion?

Because we’re still starting out, everyone wears a bunch of different hats. And for the time being, even though I like the creative side I’m the Executive Producer. When it comes to all production matters, for any film we do I have to find the location, the talent, the way to raise the money, permits. Anything that they need I produce, and then they use what I can give them.

So you’re red tape guy.

Yes, but also if it fails then I’m red target guy.

Tell me about everyone else on the team.

There’s Julie Furdella, who graduated with me back in May from Temple with a Psychology degree. She’s a grad student now at Penn. She’s very intelligent and a very good writer. She helps us spell-check everything, gives us feedback, and uses her knowledge of psychology to help us when it comes to making a story plot deeper.

There’s Britney, who on this film is the Assistant Director. She pretty much does everything. She’s also another extremely handy, kind, almost motherly type of person even though she’s only 21. She’s very in tune with everyone’s emotional state and tries to hold everyone together.

There’s Steve who is the head of the organization. I should’ve talked about him first but he won’t mind. He’s very Type A, task oriented. He gets his business taken care of when it comes down to it, but he’s also just a big kid. He’s also a very awkward guy who dresses like an old Italian man. But he’s actually a very intelligent, focused film director who has his own business, which is more than a lot of people can say. He’s been through a lot in his life, which also ties into the film we’re working on now.

There’s also the Salamone brothers, they’re fraternal twins. Vince Salamone is the Art Director. He likes making comics, drawing landscapes, superheroes, all kinds of stuff. He made the poster for the film. He storyboards for us. He helps with shooting and shot lists. And he also looks like John Lennon, if John Lennon were to grow a beard and go metal.

Tell me more about the project you’re working on now.

It’s the first film we’re doing that’s meant for professional release.

The film is called Touch. It’s a very personal film for everyone on the crew, but especially Steve. It’s loosely based on Steve’s real life experience.

We started off the project as a senior thesis film. You have to have a script ready in your junior year and present it to the professor before you’re accepted to the class. If the professor rejects it you don’t get in. So this film was chosen out of a larger pool of scripts. And we decided even though we’re making a 15 minute version for the senior thesis, we’re going to make a 30 minute version that we can enter into festivals.

It’s about a girl longing for her mother, who abandoned her as a child. She’s a teenager now, and as teenagers do she rebels. Her mother decides to come back into the picture about this time, and she’s going out with someone who claims he was sexually abused as a child. Now when the girl falls into this crowd – her mother who’s going in and out of her life, and this guy who’s probably trouble – she cooks up this whole story about sexual abuse from her father as a young child. And they have to go to court.

Steve knows that people go through this, and he wanted to show the tension when people you love and trust will falsify claims of sexual abuse. The horror of hurting someone that you love. This is a big family drama. It’s a broken family that’s getting destroyed because the girl has to follow through with the testimony, and her brother has to refute the testimony. And they’re fighting now. To hurt another person to gain the favor of someone else who already hurt you is a never ending cycle of pain and confusion.

Photo from open casting call and pitch speech filming.

Photo from open casting call and pitch speech filming.

Are you aiming for specific film festivals?

We’re trying to find festivals that have to do with issues of social justice and also family dramas. I’m looking into Sundance, if we can meet their minimum for shorts.

You have an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the project. How’s that going?

We’re trying to raise the money to make the film right now. We already have such a beautiful cast. We were just doing a table read about a week ago. They all love each other, it feels like a huge family.

A lot of people have been touched by something like this. Everyone’s felt family tension before, and it brought everyone together to talk about it.

This is our first foray into the big leagues. People are not going to be kinder to you because you’re a bunch of students on the cusp of the rest of your career. We need the funding not just to make the film, but to help give Steve peace of mind, because this is therapeutic for him. To help him understand what happened by seeing things play out in front of him. And also to get the message out there about the twisted nature of making false claims and what it does to everyone around you.

It’s something that’s very relatable. We’ve all been falsely accused of something, and we’ve all had people we love hurt us. But in a situation like this it’s hard not to get choked up or get angry and feel the emotions of the people who are going through it, because it’s so unfair.

What will the money be going towards?

Most of it will be going towards paying the talent. And they absolutely deserve it. They’re so kind. They work with us without question. We can’t make this without them. It was all on paper until the table read – it was so tense in the room you could cut it with a knife, there was screaming, there was shouting – all according to the script. They took in the script, internalized it, and let it back out, and it felt so real it was incredible.

The money will also go to the festivals. We’re trying to make sure we send it to as many as possible, because for every three that you send in there’s maybe one that will respond. It can get pricey.

We’re covering our equipment, the crew, and if we have extra money we want to try to spring for a court room in City Hall.

Legion and InLiquid have teamed up in the past to film a video for Benefit v.13. How was that experience for you and what was your impression of the event?

I actually really enjoyed myself. Some of the artists were so excited and proud to show off their work. It was a nice environment, easy enough to talk to people. People were willing to give their opinion on the art, everyone seemed relaxed and happy. I thought it was a wonderful experience. I had my little vest and tie so I felt fancy.

It was inspiring to see people putting up their work. Because when you make something, it’s part of you, part of how you understand the world. And you’re putting it out there, so it takes a lot to show that to a bunch of strangers mixing around in a room. You have no idea what they’re going to see, there’s all these eyes on it. It takes a lot of courage. And when someone gave a review, I loved seeing the way an artist’s face would light up.

To support Legion Industries’ current project, visit their Indiegogo campaign here.

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