ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jeffrey F. Jackson was on a mission to finish his film. Four years later, he’s ready to release it to the world.
“This has really been an incredibly long time coming,” he says. “It’s been a complicated process and we’re finally done with it.”
Jackson used to be involved with the defunct Taos Talking Film Festival, which gave a land grant prize to the winner of the festival.
When the festival was running, the filmmaker with the top film was given five acres of land in Taos. Winners included Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s film school chair Chris Eyre for his film “Smoke Signals” and Gary Walkow. Walkow was the first land-grant winner and is the writer of “Ghost Phone: Phone Calls from the Dead.”
The film follows William Pierce, played by Nelson Franklin, who has a direct hotline to the afterworld: his dead fiancée’s cellphone. Here’s the problem – the dead only talk to him.
In this dark romantic comedy, Pierce straddles this world and the next, jumping through hurdles to appease those who have crossed over, in an attempt to exonerate himself from a murder charge, prove his sanity and find closure with his fiancée. Yes, she’s dead, but she’ll go to any lengths to make their relationship work, including asking Will to do the unthinkable: join her on the other side.
“It’s been a thrill to work on this project,” Jackson says. “We have a lot of incredible talent in the cast.”
Starring alongside Franklin is Melissa Ordway, Alex Kingston and Katie Lowes.
Franklin is currently in the CBS show, “The Millers,” while Ordway is a veteran of the soap opera “Young and the Restless.” Kingston was on “ER” for numerous seasons and Lowes is currently appearing in ABC’s “Scandal.”
While the movie was filmed in Los Angeles, the entire post-production process took place in Taos at Taos Land and Film Company.
Jackson says the entire cast has experience, yet it’s difficult to find some footing because the project is still an independent film.
This is why Jackson has come up with a plan.
He’s released the film into Mitchell Theatres in northern New Mexico, Colorado and Oklahoma. The local theaters are Dreamcatcher 10 in Española, Starlight 8 in Los Lunas and Storyteller Cinema 7 in Taos. To get some people in the seats, he is going to have one lucky winner get five acres of land in Taos.
“This is beginning of a plan to resurrect the Taos Talking Film Festival,” he says. “We’re making the land prize the star of this show. It’s what helped the film festival become a coveted festival back in the day.”
Jackson says the contest is simple, buy a ticket to see “Ghost Phone” at a participating theater from Dec. 6-19 and hold on to your ticket stub. On Dec. 23, the winner will be announced.
“We’ve had to think outside of the box on this one and I think people will enjoy this film,” he says. “It’s important for us to give this a try and see what happens.”
Star-studded ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ : Former Santa Fe resident Emile Hirsch is getting some big time on the TV screen today and Monday. Hirsch stars in the TV miniseries “Bonnie and Clyde,” which airs on Lifetime, A&E and History channels beginning at 7 tonight and then at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9. Also starring with Hirsch is actor Lane Garrison, who plays Clyde’s brother, Buck Barrow. To read more on Garrison and his role in the miniseries, visit ABQjournal.com/reelnm.
Grab a book, see a movie: Author Joe R. Lansdale will be reading and signing at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at op.cit. books, 500 Montezuma in Santa Fe. The accomplished writer will then head to the Jean Cocteau Cinema for a screening of his film, “Christmas with the Dead.” For more on Lansdale, visit ABQjournal.com/reelnm.