Deep in the Everglades of South Florida, a young man nervously awaits for a preacher to begin the proceedings that will bind him to the young maiden standing next to him, in the eyes of God and the federal government. As this young man sweats, the preacher takes a quick swig from his flask, the girl smiles sweetly, and his soon-to-be father-in-law cradles a shotgun as he stares at him intently.
This is the opening to the newest short film by Red Rocket Films. Titled "Shotgun," this 11-minute "deep swamp comedy" is about a couple thieves who do not get away clean with their crime. The movie, which premiered in March at the same swamp oasis where much of it was filmed, is the brainchild of veteran director/producer Ramiro "Ram" Hernandez. The Tattoo Times, Official Newsletter of Monster Steel, was on hand for the film's premier at Lucky's Speakeasy, smack dab in the middle of Big Cypress National Park.
According to Andrew Williams, the actor who plays the boozy, grumpy preacher and oversees media and the creative team for the national tattoo supply website as well, "Monster Steel got involved with this production because I work there."It worked out quite well because we needed some costume pieces like the belt buckle and necklaces that Monster Steel has in stock. Everyone there was so supportive of this project and was happy to help out."
Besides the flashy belt buckle and loaning out an employee, Monster Steel consulted on how to get the most realistic "fake," or temporary tattoo for the character of "Snake." Getting a temporary tattoo placed so prominently on the neck and face of the character to look real was important; considering the tattoo had to endure the harsh conditions of the Everglades.
"The tattoo is very important to my character," the actor who plays "Snake," the second thief, Derek Latta, told The Tattoo Times. "There is a question of whether he is called 'Snake' because of this huge cobra tattoo on his neck, or if he got the tattoo because everyone calls him 'Snake?' "
When pressed, Latta wouldn't surrender an answer, stating only that it is for the audience to decide.
Chris Madeira, COO of Monster Steel, believes supporting a short-film project like this makes good business sense.
"Even though the tattoo they used was fake, it still promotes an art form and a part of our society -- that is what we at Monster Steel are all about," he said.
Red Rocket Films and Monster Steel have something else in common; locality.
"It is important for Florida companies and organizations to help each other out, especially with what is happening in our industry as of late," said Ram Hernandez, who also co-wrote, directed and edited the film. Hernandez said film production and production support companies have fled Florida following the loss of a state incentive program geared to the industry.
"Red Rocket isn't going anywhere because the three of us (Hernandez and co-producers John McGilvary and Joe Fernandez) aren't going to move away from here," said Hernandez. "This is a great place to make all types of media. That is why we are working with other local groups to create and finance film projects close to home."
Hernandez said he is not exactly sure where this creative/e-commerce relationship between Red Rocket Films and Monster Steel might lead.
"At this time we're just grateful for their help with the short film," he said. "Once it is done with the festival circuit, we hope to finance a feature-length movie based on the concept. If that happens, who knows…?"