Eight years had passed since Calasanz came to the U.S. to make his movie and it seemed that that time was slipping away. His students goaded him constantly, asking him, “Hey Calasanz, when will we ever see this film?” Even though the time and circumstances were not ideal, Calasanz felt compelled to act and realize his dream.
One of Calasanz private students, an aspiring filmmaker who we’ll call Mike, wanted to help Calasanz with the film. So the team started by making a few commercials and eventually turned its attention to producing an independent film.
One of the first things they needed was a good script. Calasanz had been developing his version of the perfect script for over 10 years, but needed his ideas to be formalized by a professional. Another student who was a Hollywood scriptwriter gave Calasanz some good ideas, but it needed more work. Mike agreed to get the script in working order. This would require many revisions and Calasanz was assured that it would be ready.
Sounds good up until this point, but many obstacles got in the way. Calasanz suffered a shin injury in a bizarre situation that hampered his ability to train as well as keep his business afloat. (See:http://blog.calasanz.com/2009/05/27/how-one-out-of-control-cook-changed-my-life/) On the day that production was supposed to start, the script was nowhere near completion. Frustrated, Calasanz took his original script out of the director’s hands and from that point on; the movie became an improvised production.
Financial problems also plagued the movie. The first version of the film was not up to Calasanz standards and the only way to improve it was to invest more money into its production. While many involved in the making of the movie were well intentioned, inexperience proved to be very costly.
The price tag quickly escalated from a budget of $350,000 to almost a million dollars. Calasanz did whatever he could to raise the funds to make the movie, including borrowing from friends and students. When the movie did not produce the financial rewards expected, Calasanz was left with a pile of debt. Advised by many to discharge these debts in bankruptcy, Calasanz refused, and made it his mission to pay back all his investors with cash, memberships, or a combination of both.
In the eyes of the world, Calasanz may have failed because his movie wasn’t a blockbuster. In fact, Calasanz doesn’t look at it this way. The making of the movie had many successes beyond what you see on the screen. Calasanz was a pioneer in making movies in the State of Connecticut. Now in 2009, Connecticut is one of the premiere locations in the country for moviemakers. Calasanz made his vision come true in the 80’s and saw the potential for creative works in this state. Calasanz also used the making of the movie and the publicity surrounding it to promote his name, which has proved to be invaluable as far as promoting the goodwill of his martial arts business. He also learned there were many people who believed in him. That’s why it was so important for Calasanz not to file for bankruptcy.
Not many people out there can say that they actually made their own movie and paid for it. The movie played in theaters on the East Coast and also in the Dominican Republic, where Calasanz is a national hero. In the end, Crossing the Line was a great success. It all really depends on how you measure it.
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