‘Shade’ Opens Philadelphia Film Festival; Natives Sylvester Stallone, Joe Nicolo, Carl Mazzocone and Dina Merrill Involved in SHADE, Premiering April 8
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PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–March 25, 2004
Ensemble Cast Includes Stuart Townsend; Gabriel Byrne; Thandie Newton; Jamie Foxx; Melanie Griffith and Sylvester Stallone
RKO Pictures has teamed with Philadelphia-area natives Joe Nicolo (Executive Producer), Carl Mazzocone (Co-Producer), Dina Merrill, and Philadelphia’s favorite son Sylvester Stallone, to bring some brotherly love–card shark style–to the Philadelphia Film Festival with the premiere of SHADE. A gritty poker picture about grifters and card mechanics in the shadowy world of the L.A. and Las Vegas underground, SHADE’s ensemble cast includes Stuart Townsend (Queen of the Damned), Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects), Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible 2), Jamie Foxx (Any Given Sunday), Melanie Griffith (Working Girl), Hal Holbrook (Magnum Force), Patrick Bauchau (Carnivale) and Sylvester Stallone (Rocky, Copland). The high-stakes card game thriller has been selected as the opening night film at The Philadelphia Film Festival on April 8th. SHADE is an RKO Pictures Production in association with Merv Griffin Entertainment, Hammond Entertainment, Judgment Pictures and Cobalt Media Group.
Hammond Entertainment brought Nicolo into the project after Hammond optioned SHADE from Merv Griffin Productions. RKO Pictures then joined the project as a financier, producer and distributor. The films other producers include Ted Hartley, Merv Griffin, Chris Hammond and David Schnepp.
The film is directed by first-time director, Damian Nieman, who also wrote the script. Nieman, a former card mechanic and poker player, knows this world first-hand having honed his skills at the famous Magic Castle in Los Angeles.
This is the first feature film for Nicolo, the former president and owner of Philadelphia-based Ruffhouse /Columbia Records. At Ruffhouse, he was responsible for launching the careers of Lauryn Hill, The Fugees, Cypress Hill, Wyclef Jean, and Kris/Kross. During his 10 years at Columbia Records, Nicolo also produced Billy Joel’s Grammy nominated album “River Of Dreams” and worked with such musical icons as James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones. In the spring of 2000, Nicolo sold Ruffhouse Records to Sony and started Judgment Pictures in Conshohocken.
“We’re excited to share this film with our family and friends,” said Nicolo. “How great to be recognized in your home town. I guess I was very fortunate because I had a great, great cast and production crew on this film. I think the quality of the movie speaks for itself.”
Carl Mazzocone is a 21-year veteran of the film business and is President of Main Line Pictures. He most recently produced Dumb & Dumberer as well as the controversial Julian Sands film, Boxing Helena.
“I love SHADE and had a great time working on the film,” said Mazzocone. “Every low-budget production is a challenge, especially when working with big stars; yet this film captured something special from the start. The material attracted an exceptional cast and crew–probably the best I’ve ever worked with. It’s a rare experience when 150 cast and crew members come together on a picture, endure long stressful hours of tedious work and in the process become as close as a family. I give Joe Nicolo a lot of credit for that. First off, it takes a lot of courage to finance an independent movie. Joe openly placed his trust in us all, which filters down and empowers everyone to do their best.”
ABOUT RKO. RKO is the oldest continuously operated entertainment company in the world, dating back to 1882, and boasting a film and script library of over 1,100 titles. Known for developing, producing, and distributing feature film and television programs for worldwide consumption, the RKO brand with its world-renowned “globe and radio tower” logo is being expanded into an array of new areas. RKO recently produced Never Gonna Dance, a Broadway musical stage adaptation of the 1936 Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film, Swing Time. The Company also has a number of projects under development with other studios, Suspicion (Dimension), Monkey’s Paw (Dreamworks) and Every Girl Should be Married (Paramount). SHADE opens in select cities nationwide on May 7.
SHADE: an RKO Pictures Production in association with Merv Griffin Entertainment, Hammond Entertainment, Judgment Pictures and Cobalt Media Group
Ted Hartley Producer
Merv Griffin Producer
David Schnepp Producer
Chris Hammond Producer
Joe Nicolo Executive Producer
Bo Hopkins Executive Producer
Carl Mazzocone Co-Producer
Written and Directed By: Damien Nieman
Stuart Townsend Vernon
Gabriel Byrne Miller
Thandie Newton Tiffany
Jamie Foxx Jennings
Melanie Griffith Eve
Sylvester Stallone Stevens
Hal Holbrook The Professor
Patrick Bauchau Melini
Dina Merrill Dina
Bo Hopkins Scarne
Jason Cerbone Young Stevens
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