Calasanz and the Movie “Crossing the Line”: The Real Story (part 3)

Two years before the movie process, Marcello started writing the script and Richard Venture, a script writer from Hollywood, trained with me. Venture was the first to write this movie for me, he got busy and still gave me a good draft but not enough to make a movie. That is where Marcello came in. Marcello wrote many drafts but none could be used. He said, “Calasanz, the China Town script was redone more than 30 times and that was why it became the best.” He convinced me that nothing was wrong. Many obstacles happened even before starting the movie. For example, I got hurt; it was one of the biggest blows to my career because the injury did not have to happen. It could have been prevented by these people who convinced me that I was safe in the place they brought me to, but they could not help me escape from a demonstration with someone who almost cost me my life and my dream. I built my name by doing demonstrations for people. I never had to hurt anyone and no one hurt me. But on this day my skill was so beyond my opponent’s. I got pushed to stand up and do a demonstration with a chef who was a Thai boxer. I humiliated him so much that he could not take it. The people with me knew that I did not want to participate in any more demos, not until I finished my movie. I built my name by humiliating people, especially street fighters, without hurting them.

As I got to this restaurant, the only thing that I could think of was that I did not want to participate in any demos until after the movie. I already knew that many people were jealous of my skills plus, I had a popular show on Cablevision’s public access channel. The chef was following the Calasanz Show for a long time and recognized me and planned for a demo. His intentions were to humiliate me. In the end he was the one who became the victim of humility without me having to hurt him. The chef set his mind to wanting to hurt me no matter what. He was cooking for us and as I go to sit down, this guy, at close range, delivered a kick so hard to my ankle that I injured my tibia. I tried not to go to any bars or restaurants until the movie was complete and I did anyway. These people who convinced me to go had the also persuaded me to do this demo at the restaurant, all I was really there for was to convince someone to train at my school, but the people with me wanted to see me in action. I am sure they wanted me to prove myself, which was the last thing I needed, by this time I proved myself enough. Someday I will get into the rest of what went on that day at the restaurant.

This injury caused a delay in the making of the movie and lots of money but not compared to the money that Marcello cost me. The day we started filming the movie we did not follow a script, I took my story away from him and he came up with something that was done at the spot. The script was no more and it was mostly improvised. The movie was supposed to be a low budget film and already $350,000 was spent during the first two weeks. By the time the movie was finished over $1 million dollars had been spent and we owed money to everyone. I knew that I would pay up, but the toughest part to take was all the people that we let down, including grocery store owner Stew Leonard who helped us the most. But Coast Entertainment Corporation did not have to file bankruptcy. Everyone, one way or the other got paid. Some were compensated with a membership to my school, some of them received a membership and a cash settlement. Many of the investors came to me and asked why I did that, or that I should close the company. I did not close, but I paid everyone personally.

You should know that in order to pay everyone faster, I came with these ideas. Every time something has gone wrong, I have proved that I can come up with some sort of idea or advertisement in order to recover. I have never been wrong, but 95% of the time, those that I have dealt with let me down. It does not mean that those people did it purposely. Those that know me are aware of my strong personality and loud voice, sometimes I make people angry. Those two things have cost me a great deal. Today, I understand that I overwhelmed some of those that worked with me, including my students that I have always done business with since day one.

 

To be continued…

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

Calasanz and the Movie “Crossing the Line” The Real Story – part 2

In 1987, two students came to my door and signed as private students, their names are John and Marcello and a friendship between us started immediately. Marcello who later became a director of commercials, wanted to do the same for me and he did. This is where Marcello got his start, he did not charge too much money because he needed the experience. He knew that it was my dream to make this movie and we started to collaborate. Marcello and I went to restaurants to talk about the movie, we always talked about the movie, I told him of my dream to make a successful film. I told him countless times that if this movie failed that it would shatter that dream. My father always believed in preventing a bad thing from happening and those words stuck with me. Marcello never had a finished script but I trusted him and he always convinced me by saying something like “Don’t worry, I know what I am doing.”

I thought about this movie for eight years and asked myself all the time, can this young guy direct it? Over the years I had always spent lots of time with various people to discuss business deals to prevent those bad things from happening if I could. I don’t believe in contracts but instead in mutual agreements. I did everything I could in those eight years to prevent any mistakes and I know now that everything I did was taken for granted. “Marcello,” I said time and time again, “This movie determines my success and my career.” We were best friends, such good friends that when he moved to the city he sent me letters to tell me what he was doing, how his life was, and how hard and how much skill he was going to put into my movie.

What I did not know about Marcello was that he was working for one thing, to make a trailer for himself in order to sell himself as a movie director. So much money was wasted on the first attempt at making this movie and Marcello wanted a second attempt at it. I did everything to get more money and gave Marcello a second chance like I always do because I don’t believe in giving up on people. As we started the movie, I opened an account where the money to make the movie would be deposited with the producer and Marcello on that account. The first budget for the movie was gone after two weeks so this was the reason for opening another account. Within two weeks the money was gone. There were checks written to buy products that I never knew about. Two years later, somebody close to the producer came and told me that over $100,000 was taken and I was so trusting and sincere that I believed that these people were just human. Even without knowing the producer, I trusted him, he was Marcello‘s friend. One thing I noticed that when the first budget was gone, the producer felt so bad that he gave me his credit card for to charge $10,000 which I paid him as he finished shooting the movie. That should have told me that something was not right because people do not do that. Did the producer feel bad or did he just not want me to look into where the money had gone?

To be continued…

Calasanz young athletes

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

 

Calasanz and the Movie “Crossing the Line”: The Real Story (part 1)

When I first came to the United States I wanted to make my mark, I wanted to make a name for myself. Upon entering this country I had a goal in mind and I said it over and over again, “I came here to make a movie.” I heard what Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others had to go through in Hollywood with the politics involved in making it big and I did not want to follow that path. Even Bruce Lee went back to China because of those same politics. I kept going and would not falter on my decision, I wanted to make this movie in the U.S., not my home country of the Dominican Republic. Besides, I was only training in martial arts in the Dominican Republic part time. I was respected the first time I entered a martial arts school because of my natural ability and most of all I never slacked off.  You should also understand that I was a bit of a show off, if someone wanted to take a photo with me or asked me to do a full split, I did it immediately. All that showing off surprises me when I look back at it but I enjoyed showing off my skills and I do have a strong respect for martial arts and the instructors that had a hand in my training, especially Tameyoshi Sakemoto. I gained the trust and heart of Sakemoto because I possessed a gift to be a naturally gifted martial artist and I never abused that gift. Most of my fights were won without fighting, anyone that wanted to discuss martial arts with me understood my skills and knew that I required and deserved respect. There were some cases where I won a fight but I was fortunate that it was not too serious a fight because even though I was in good shape maybe my diet was not so good, maybe I worked too hard, put too much pressure on myself, or  made too many mistakes. When you are training hard and put that amount of pressure on yourself, regardless of how good a shape you are in, you would not be at your strongest with all that stress.

When I was eight years old when I taught my four year old brother how to hurt another kid who was bullying him. Between eight and 12 years old I knew how to take a big step forward and deliver the hardest kick to a cow that connected on its belly. There is an empty space that this animal has, I would love to know the name of that specific muscle, you hit it hard and they go down for at least one minute! I used to do that all the time, until one day I got caught, before the cow got up my father came and knew exactly what happened.

As I start training in martial arts, all my friends realized that I had a talent for what I was doing. They realized that no one on the farms in the Dominican Republic could trade kicking with me including his elders. I could easily win a fight just by kicking. Fighting was something came easy to me, I could look at a person and immediately knew when to strike, bite, punch, or kick them. I would take examples from today’s self defense techniques like MMA and Wing Chun Chi Sau and I would know where to strike just by looking at a person‘s body. I loved martial arts but my father begged me to get into boxing but I wanted more than just beating someone as a sport.

In 1975 my father and I went to see a movie made famous by Bruce Lee titled “Enter the Dragon.” I knew right away that I wanted to make a film. I started planning a trip to the U.S. I knew that I could make a business out of movies and acting. I did not want to just teach anymore, I knew that I wanted to be on the big screen. I wanted to do exactly what Bruce was did. At this point I already had a diploma and a job at a bank. I was able to convince my job to let me take a break to go to the U.S. to study. I applied for a visa and got accepted to the University of Bridgeport. When I got to the university I didn’t open a book, I was more focused on anything and everything to do with martial arts. This journey to get to the U.S. and make something of myself was realized when I opened my school. After opening the school, the idea I had long ago to make a movie would finally be reality.

To be continued….

Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness

507 Westport Ave.Norwalk,CT06851

1-800-414-9544

www.calasanz.com

www.interdojo.com

www.the-perfectfit.com

www.westportboxing.com

The Story Behind Calasanz’s “Crossing the Line” Part 2

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. 

Images and videos of Calasanz Martial Arts

Only The Strong

Only The Strong was a 1993 martial arts movie that showcased the ancient art of Capoeira. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that combines fighting with dancing, and musical and vocal accompaniment. This art originated in Angola and was brought to Brazil by African slaves in the 16th Century. Slave masters banned slaves from practicing any type of martial art for fear of rebellion. To keep their fighting skills sharp, slaves disguised this fighting art in dance like movements. In this movie, a karate champion stationed in South America for the US Army, returns to his home in America to find his former high school infested with drug dealers and criminals. He takes on a clean up project by teaching the art of Capoeira to others in hopes of eliminating the menace in his community. The movie features Mark Dacascos and Paco Christian Prieto and includes appearances by Calasanz.

Exciting images and videos of Calasanz Martial Arts.

Crossing The Line

In the movie Crossing The Line, Calasanz stars as Jose Fernandez, a hard hitting kickboxer and martial arts instructor. Jose rises to stardom after winning the world championship. His popularity attracts the attention of Jimmy Scarfone, a local hoodlum and owner of sleazy strip clubs, who becomes obsessed with the fighter’s new celebrity status, and begins to stalk him. Jose’s every move becomes the subject of Scarfone’s Americas Most Violent Videos. Soon Scarfone finds the ordinary life of a fighter is not exciting enough and sets about to change that. A series of violent encounters, lead to the eventual kidnapping of the champion. Awesome fight scenes make Calasanz’s debut a must-see for the martial arts enthusiast. Crossing The Line was produced in Fairfield County, CT by Coast Entertainment. The movie played in theaters on the East Coast and in the Dominican Republic, where Calasanz is a national hero.

Calasanz Karate, Kung-Fu, Kickboxing, Boxing, & Physical Arts.

Rumors about Crossing the Line Movie

Rumor posted on You Tube:

I heard a couple of people who trained with him lost their shirts investing in his “movie”. One guy in Greenwich was supposed to have lost 90k.

My Response

You’ve heard incorrectly. There were problems with the movie due to money and materials stolen for the project by insiders who proved to be untrustworthy. While it true that the movie cost close to $1.4 million to produce and a large portion of the funds were borrowed, please note that everyone who invested in the movie was paid back with interest over a two-year period. His attorneys and close business associates advised Calasanz to file for bankruptcy, but instead he chose to do the right thing and pay each investor back. We have all the canceled checks and documentation from our accountant. We are ready, willing and able to go toe-to-toe with anyone who says otherwise and wishes to publicly come forward to discredit Calasanz.

As for the “guy in Greenwich,” we have news for you. You and the rest of society are paying for this man’s irresponsibility. How is that? This man ran up his credit cards, lived the “high life” and arrogantly thumbed his nose at society. When this scoundrel was so deep in the financial hole that he couldn’t stand it any more, he filed for bankruptcy.

Also understand we did not borrow money from this guy he invested voluntarily however; this guy was paid back with interest, the exception of $8,000. Calasanz paid this remaining $8,000 due directly to the Trustee for the Bankruptcy Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Once he saddled society with his debt, the “guy in Greenwich” bragged to Calasanz about getting a bunch of new credit cards and how he was so happy to be custom building his brand new dream home. We have the canceled checks made payable to the Trustee for the U.S. District Court and are ready, willing and able to stand by this assertion. So much for the “guy in Greenwich.”

BTW, the movie was an “investment.” Investors take risks and part of that risk is losing everything. These people were lucky enough to have dealt with someone like Calasanz who was not willing to throw them on some bankruptcy schedule to absolve his obligation. Why don’t you identify yourself instead of hiding behind a screen name like a coward? Are you some jealous martial artist teaching out of your basement or garage that has never really made it in the business and has to trash others in order to make yourself feel good?