When the World’s deadliest hitman is outmaneuvered by his younger clone, he finds himself unable to protect the only two people he has ever cared for. The Agency, deeming the hitman as a threat, sends a never-ending barrage of assassins led by his younger, more agile self to eliminate him. Faced with this threat, the hitman must undertake the most serious mission of his career: to rescue a young girl from the Agency and from a life as an assassin.
The young, teenage girl is a victim of the agency’s genetic experimentation program designed to create perfect assassins. Now back in agency hands thanks to his clone, the innocent girl is forced into a brutal assassin-indoctrination program. If the hitman cannot find her in time, she risks being primed to become the agency’s new premiere contract killer.
Though our hitman has lost hope for his own redemption, he has found a sense of purpose in the rescue of the young girl. Along his journey he realizes his clone is also a victim of the agency’s sins. He knows that he must save the girl from the life of a hitman and that to find redemption for himself, he must save his clone’s soul.
When the World’s deadliest hitman is outmaneuvered by a new rival - a younger, genetically engineered clone of himself - he finds his abilities aren't enough to protect the only two people he has ever cared for.
Can a Killer also be a Savior?
For years I have been told I could not direct a feature-length action movie. My family was supportive, my friends cheered me on, but it was my own body that made it impossible. For most of my thirty-four years I have fought with debilitating fibromyalgia and an assortment of other secondary conditions. Being in the top 5% of severity of fibromyalgia sufferers meant I could not physically handle the typical filming schedules, which has limited my ability to advance my career.
Undaunted I pursued my dreams and over the course of three years I wrote, directed, and produced a 52+ minute feature. Because of my experiences being marginalized due to my physical limitations I have become passionate about the issue of discrimination in our society. Because of these experiences, I created Contract: Redemption as an indictment on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Instead of making a preachy film though, I wanted the audience to be completely unaware of the film’s purpose. Through making diversity invisible to the audience, the true achievement of the film can be realized – that having a gender-balanced film has no negative affect on a film’s success (and if my guess is right, a positive one). In this way studio executives can be shown the merit of diversity in front and behind camera.
It is exactly for this reason that I chose to write Contract: Redemption as a film inspired by an existing Hollywood narrative: Hitman. By using this preexisting framework as a springboard for social commentary, Redemption can be a proof that male-centric narratives can easily be adapted to far-exceed the Bechtel test by having a gender-balanced cast where women are as powerful as men and are not sexually objectified.
Something I hope Contract: Redemption can add to the diversity discussion in cinema is the need for opportunities for people with, for lack of a more encompassing term, ‘disabilities.’ I worked hard to created an environment and production schedule that enabled both myself and my crew-members with epilepsy, M.S., schizophrenia, PTSD, diabetes, physical impairments, and various other limitations to contribute significantly in the creation of the film. By actively seeking out and catering to people with all forms of disabilities, I showed that given the opportunity, people previously shut out like myself can play a vital role in the making of a quality film.
It is with unspeakable joy I can report that in January of 2016 I started an alternative medicine treatment that has resolved my fibromyalgia. I am still deep in rehab and have many more months before I am stable but I can now say without a doubt that I have a bright and promising career in film ahead of me. That said, I would not trade my past struggles for anything because it has shaped me as a person, made me a better storyteller, and allowed me to see a need that the film industry has a responsibility to address. I am grateful to be the one to start that process.
CAST & CREW BIOs
JEREMY ANDREW DAVIS
WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER
Jeremy Andrew Davis writes, directs, and produces films that serve to be a force of positive change in the world by blending contemporary issues into immersive, entertaining stories.
Jeremy’s films examine the human condition, exploring themes such as equality, disability, education, and faith, while critically portraying injustice. While this might imply that his films are heavy, these themes are instead subtle undercurrents running below the entertaining surface.
With a mission to be a force of positive change, Jeremy also is proud to serves as co-Vice President of the Canton Film Fest and as Producer of Flite Test.
Theresa Wylie has been working professionally in the film industry since 2010. Starting off as an actor and a writer, Terry then discovered she had a natural aptitude as a producer. Terry's attention to detail and efficient communication makes her a natural born coordinator for all elements of production.
One of Terry's best qualities is her creative tenacity. When given limited funds and impossible requirements she has been able to produce unbelievable locations. Some of her producing credits include the award winning short film Hi, the documentary The Legacies of Music, and of course Contract: Redemption.
Jacob Keeton’s career as a filmmaker and documentarian is well-rounded with a multitude of experiences and credits. In the last three years alone, he has produced over 40 films, including one feature.
Jacob delivers on stories that captivate the audience. Jacob’s skill set is enhanced by his ability to produce powerfully moving narratives executed in elegant simplicity. His approach allows the maximum efficiency of the budget so that the production’s impact is maximized through its resources. Jacob is also dedicated to expanding his horizons as a filmmaker. In addition to producing his own work he has earned credits on Hollywood productions like Alex Cross, and independent films including 25 Hill.
Beyond working professionally as a filmmaker, Jacob is passionate about giving back. Jacob works with low-income and troubled teens, bettering their hopes of a brighter future by teaching them the art of filmmaking.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Ryan Galbraith is an accomplished filmmaker who is dedicated to the craft of storytelling. Ryan has a passion for the ambitious blending together big vision and complex elements. With a commitment to excellence, Ryan shows he is able to deliver on the most challenging of projects.
Ryan’s most recent short film The Invitation was an ambitious production. What set this film apart was the setting of the story took place in the 1920’s. Leading his team of producers, Ryan networked and organized support for the film, gaining access to historic locations, procuring vintage costumes, props, set pieces, and period automobiles.
It is this kind of attention to detail that sets Ryan apart as a professional. With Ryan committed to the mechanics of a project, you know it will run as a well-oiled machine and come in on time and on budget.
Played by MIKE CHASTAIN
Mike Chastain has had a lifelong passion for acting. He holds an impressive resume having been a lead supporting actor as well as a movie extra in various movies such as Draft Day, CPT America Winter Soldier, and the Avengers. Prior to his acting career Mike spent 22 years in the Army as a Cavalry Scout, M1 Armor Crewmember, and as a Combat Engineer Officer. After Mike's retirement and subsequent honorable discharge from the Army, he once again recommitted to his passion for acting. Mike’s several years of Martial Arts training combined with Weapons and Army Combatives training paired with his acting talent give him unique experience and qualifications for the role of the hitman.
Played by AJ NOLD
AJ Nold is an accomplished actress in the local independent film scene. Beyond having the right look for the innocent girl’s character, AJ’s extensive background in martial arts training makes her a perfect choice for the role. AJ has proven her ability to capture the complex inner turmoil of the girl’s character. Being able to bring to life the anguish of first being forced into the life of an assassin, then having her genetic makeup compromised, all on top of the normal trials of being a teenage girl will make Vikki’s character one of the most-loved in Contract: Redemption.
Played by DYLAN MCCAUGHIN
Dylan McCaughin comes from a unique background. He started training in martial arts at age 12 and has claimed the title of State Champion multiple years over and became National Champion in sparring, self-defense, and kata in 2006. Looking to expand his abilities Dylan was inspired by Russian Free Runner, Oleg Vorslav and began studying Parkour and Free Running. He went on to start a Parkour and martial arts themed YouTube channel in 2012, which has since gotten a quarter of a million views. Currently Dylan is expanding his abilities to acting. With a lead role in one award-winning film already, Dylan is making good strides toward fulfilling his goal of being the next Jason Statham. Dylan’s extensive martial art and Parkour background give him the unique ability to play the role of a young, highly agile and dangerous hit-man.
Played by SUMERLYN HAYNES
Sumerlyn Haynes began her acting career at an early age, participating in local productions and school plays. She eventually went on to study acting at Cuyahoga Community College where she learned the art of theater. She has recently studied under local director/producer JW Myers, LA casting director Toby Guidry, and private acting coach Aaron Speiser. She has played lead roles in several films including Young Harvest, The Butchers, The Audition, and Sam vs. Many. She has also done background work for feature film productions such as The Avengers, Foxcatcher, and The Wind is Watching. Aside from acting, Sumerlyn developed a love for the art of dance. She studied classical ballet for 4 years at the Music Settlement in Cleveland, Ohio and she acquired the title of lead choreographer for the Los Discos modern dance troop at Ohio University. Sumerlyn's acting and dance training has well prepared her for the role of Elegy in the film production, Contract: Redemption.
Played by SHELIA WEISS
Shelia Weiss’ career started a decade ago. The source of her inspiration came at the end of one of the famous Harry Potter movies. In awe at the very thought of participating in something that brings such magical things to life, she dove in, searching for anything that she could start acting in locally. What she discovered was a whole other world, right there in her very back yard. She's worked on a wide array of projects from "guerrilla" shoestring shoots, to films with a healthy budget, acting alongside famous actor Michael Madsen. In 2012 she was nominated for Best Ohio Supporting Actress at the Indie Gathering, "...an honor I never expected, but will always greatly appreciate." Often compared, by both friends and strangers, to Seven of Nine, a well-known character in the Star Trek series, she found even more motivation to seek out the coveted roles in the cold-hearted yet powerful persuasion. So when the opportunity came along to represent Contract: Redemption's Izabella Vagan, it was a truly empowering kind of role she's always admired and dreamt of acquiring. "I only hope to do it justice as it’s not every day one comes across an opportunity to embody a female mastermind villain.”
Played by DANIELA SIMMS
Daniela Simms is an Italian born actress, living for the past 20 years in Ohio, after having spent her childhood and teen years living in Italy and Philadelphia. She has dedicated herself to the acting profession and has appeared in many local independent films and commercials. Her acting skills has garnered her an award nomination as well as the respect of her fellow film professionals. Daniela embodies both the look and presence of the hit-man’s handler from the games. Due to her rich cultural background and an affinity toward learning languages Daniela further brings to life the character of the handler in her performance of the character’s accent and speaking patterns. Daniela is looking forward to using all of these characteristics to effectively translate the character of the handler from the game onto the big screen.
Played by DENNY CASTIGLIONE
As the Northeast Ohio film industry builds critical momentum and notoriety, Denny Castiglione has emerged from background artist in various independent and feature films shot in Northeast Ohio (most recently Draft Day and Miss Meadows) into a variety of supporting and feature roles including Double Stroke of Genius’ The Big Day (Frank Gallardo), Detective Frank Delgado in MAD Vista Productions’ Cleanland, ForteKnox Productions’ Moonshine Kingdom (Mr. Ziggatoni), and Ghost Walk Productions’ The Haunting of Dawson Falls (Andy Rhodes). A devoted 'home town boy', Castiglione is heavily invested in shining a favorable light on the film industry in Ohio and contributing to both its quality and growth going forward. Proud of his Italian-American heritage, Castiglione looks forward to the portrayal of the Sicilian priest in Contract: Redemption. Says Castiglione of the role, “This is a great opportunity to blend my heritage and Italian language skills with my catholic faith in a film role. It’s a custom fit!”
Q: Where was Contract: Redemption filmed?
A: We filmed Contract Redemption all over Northeast Ohio including in Cleveland, Canton, Perry Twp, and Strasburg. Most of our locations were abandoned buildings which was both fun and challenging. We ran generators for power at several locations. At these abandoned locations we had to take frequent breaks for the cast and crew to leave for access to facilities with running water. Most people’s favorite location is the abandoned church. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, a year or so after we filmed the church was torn down. It was an honor to give such an epic building life and purpose one last time.
Q: How did you secure your locations... or did you shoot guerilla style?
A: In short, we asked. Unlike many independent filmmakers we do not believe in guerilla filmmaking - especially when fight scenes and/or prop weapons are involved. Some locations were difficult to track down who owned them but with the help of local municipalities we were ale to get in contact with and get permission from all owners. A key to getting difficult locations especially at no cost is providing proof of liability insurance. After that, we made sure to communicate with local fire and police the details of when and where we were filming. An added bonus of doing it this way is you tend to gain fans of your film amongst local authorities.
Q: How did you perform the backflip off the roof?
A: In many ways Contract: Redemption was reverse-engineered. I (Jeremy) started with what resources we had or knew we could get and built the script around that. Dylan's Parkour abilities were one of the major inspirations for the film. I knew how high he could perform the backflip safely without a mat, wrote the scene into the script, and then scouted for locations that would be suitable to pull it off. We ended up doing two takes of the jump and then filmed a clean landing without a roll at a later date.
Q: How long has it taken to complete the film?
A: I wrote the script in about a month. We took a couple of months for revisions and development then followed three months of pre-production. Production itself was 15 days including pickups, which if you know anything about shooting an action movie is an insanely small amount of time. One of our days we filmed a total of nine action sequences including some of our biggest stunts. Compare this to other low-budget action films and they’ll often take three days for one fight scene.
Post-production is where we had the vast majority of time. Because we were working with volunteer crew, everyone had to work on the project in-between paid work. It took almost exactly three years from first draft to cast and crew screening of the final film.
Q: 52 minutes 30 seconds seems a strange runtime for a feature film. Why did you choose that length?
A: We intend Contract: Redemption to play like a TV pilot where we have a completed story but also leave questions unanswered for future episodes. Coming in at just under an hour gives us the ability to submit to festivals with TV pilot categories (typically they have a 60 min max) but being over 50 minutes also lets us submit the project as a feature film to festivals that don’t have episodic content as a category.
Q: How big was your budget for this film?
A: I don’t want to give specific numbers at this time so I’ll just say micro. Thankfully we had fantastic community involvement and support, which enabled us to secure all of our locations for free plus we had a great team of skilled people who all worked as volunteers because they believed in the vision of the project.
Title: Contract: Redemption
Duration: 52.5 minutes
Audience: Ages 13+
Aspect Ratio: 21:9 anamorphic (2.35:1)
Camera: RED Scarlet, GH3, GH2
Format: 1920 x 810 HD; 29.97p
Premiered: April 28, 2017
Copyright © 2017 Jeremy Andrew Davis
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