Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Brothers banking on 8-minute film

The scenario reads like the opening to a joke you would tell friends at a house party.

But Brian and Dean Ronalds aren't looking for cheap chuckles over cocktails or material for the water cooler on Monday.

They're gunning for a spot in the movie industry.

The Ronalds brothers are no strangers to Arizona's growing independent film tapestry, having shot eight films in the last four years.

They hope their latest offering, an eight-minute dark comedy called Little Victim, gets them noticed.

Shot in May, Little Victim matched the brothers with screen veterans Robert Wagner and Lori Singer, along with Phoenix actress Laura Durant.

Here's the setup: Two men meet in a parking garage. One has good news, the other not-so-good news.

We could go on, but, hey, the movie's eight minutes long.

"Making a short film is just like a feature film, just on a smaller scale," said Brian Ronalds, 32, who acts in the film and also produced it. "You put a lot of care and effort into both."

Little Victim will be screened at 7:15 and 8:15 p.m. Thursday at Harkins Valley Art Theatre in Tempe, and Aug. 27 in Los Angeles. Ronalds' younger brother, Dean, directs.

The brothers have been building their resumé on the indy scene since moving to Gilbert from Los Angeles in 2001. This year, the Phoenix Film Festival named the Ronalds brothers Arizona Filmmakers of the Year.

The pair, however, are looking for more than just eight minutes of fame.

They recently gave up jobs at Qwest to take the plunge as feature-length movie artists. They are working on a feature-length version of The Netherbeast of Berm-Tech Industries Inc., a 2004 horror-comedy short film written by Bruce Dellis.

The original Netherbeast was six minutes long. Scottsdale cardiologist Kevin Berman agreed to be the executive producer of the full-length installment, which is scheduled to begin shooting in October or November.

"We're calculated risk takers," said Dean Ronalds, 29.

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