Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Riot Studios Starts Production in Austin on 'Believe Me'

From our friends at Lovell-Fairchild Communications...

First Feature for Young, Trendsetting Filmmakers, Creators of 'Beware of Christians'

Riot Studios - creators of the surprise hit documentary BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS—begins filming today in Austin on its first feature film: BELIEVE ME. Comedy, satire, heist movie . .  BELIEVE ME poses a simple question: “Why believe someone just because they have a microphone?”

Featuring Alex Russell (CHRONICLE) and Happy EndingsZachary Knighton in a cast of rising stars, BELIEVE ME is the debut feature of Riot’s award-winning director Will Bakke.

“BELIEVE ME questions the power we give people just because they have a platform,” said Bakke, who also co-wrote the film. “We ask the question in a comedy about four college guys who see that people automatically follow authority, then these friends figure out how to use that for their own gain.”

In BELIEVE ME, Sam Atwell (Russell) stands on the stage as thousands of fans go wild.  Smart, charismatic, handsome, he moves them with his message, and when he calls for donations to his charity, the money pours in.

And by the way, Sam doesn’t believe a word he’s saying.

Just months earlier he was a typical college senior focused on keg stands, hookups and graduating. But a surprise tuition bill threatens his dream of law school and leaves him thousands of dollars in the hole. Convincing his three roommates they can make a killing exploiting the gullible church crowd, they start a sham charity and begin campaigning across the country, raising funds for a cause as fake as their message.

But Sam's got girl problems. He cares about Callie, the tour manager, who actually believes what he’s saying. When Callie discovers where the money is going, it's Sam's moment of truth.

On the final night of the tour, before a packed auditorium but alone in the spotlight, it’s time for Sam Atwell to figure out what he really believes.

“BELIEVE ME is a parody on religious scandals,” said Co-Producer and Co-Writer Michael Allen. “It holds up a mirror for viewers to see themselves and their assumptions from a new perspective.”

“There’s a reason 84 percent of us believed in Santa Claus as children,” Bakke said. “It’s because parents told us he was real. The question isn’t why did we fall for it. It’s why do we keep accepting something as true just because someone says it is.”

Besides Russell and Knighton, BELIEVE ME features Johanna Braddy (EASY A), Miles Fisher (FINAL DESTINATION 5), Sinqua Walls (Teen Wolf) and Max Adler (Glee), with Christopher McDonald (Boardwalk Empire) as Ken.

With a 20-day production schedule in and around Austin, BELIEVE ME begins filming today and wraps Aug. 25. The film launches in theaters in 2014.

BELIEVE ME is produced by Alex Carroll and co-produced by Sandya Shardanand, Gary Cogill and Steve Markham, with John Rutland as director of photography and J.C. Cantu as casting director.

Riot Studios made headlines in 2012 with the unique content and distribution model of its second documentary BEWARE OF CHRISTIANS. The film followed Riot’s Bakke, Allen and Carroll around Europe as they gathered man-on-the-street interviews about Christianity and Christians—part college road comedy, part thought-provoking dialogue on how trying to follow Jesus in the 21st century might look. Bypassing typical film distribution, Riot pioneered a “name your own price” model on a nationwide tour of college campuses.