Courtesy of Steelyard Pictures
An Ohio State alumnus is returning to Columbus and bringing with him a film that combines action, drama and science fiction - and allowed fans to make major decisions during the production process.
Through the film’s website anyone could provide input on casting, certain elements of the story and even edit a sequence of the film.
The film, “The Power of Few,” is a “religious conspiracy colliding with urban crime on a day of danger, mystery and possible transformation,” said Leone Marucci, the film’s writer, director and producer.
Its Columbus premiere is a homecoming for Marucci.
“The idea for the script came from my years at Ohio State,” said Marucci, who graduated from OSU with a degree in media studies. “It’s extremely exciting to be bringing it back to the place where it all began.
“The plot of the film “The Power of Few” is “a multiple perspective story where the story unfolds in the eyes of all of our characters and you get to see that through all of their different perspectives,” Marucci said.
Christopher Walken headlines the cast as Doke.
“The characters were influences that existed on High Street, some people I would cross paths with on the way to and from class,” he said.
In addition to a localized plot, Marucci provided an interactive way for fans to become involved in the actual making of the film.
Participants could submit their own video auditions to be cast in the film or vote for others’ videos.
“We found a young girl from Malta who kind of blew us away and she made it into the film,” Marucci said.
The girl they found, Stephanie Mejlaq, is cast in “The Power of Few” as Carmen.
The website also allowed users to vote on certain elements of the script and placement of characters’ tattoos.
In the film’s post production, participants could download a scene from the film and edit it themselves, and then re-upload it to the website.
“People from all around the world got their hands on the movie and kind of manipulated the scene,” Marucci said.
The film’s interactivity “supports the idea of a multiple-perspective type story,” he added.
It also reflects a shift in filmmaking to where anyone can produce a movie.
“People are making movies in their basements and garages now,” Marucci said. “We were excited to be able to open some doors and offer this to the world.”
The film was shot in New Orleans, but the setting was originally designed around 10th Avenue and High Street in Columbus.
New Orleans “is the most unique American city,” he said. “You can set your camera up and through the lens you can see the texture of that city.”
This city was chosen because the film takes place over the span of a single afternoon and needed to be filmed in a location with consistent weather, Marucci said.
In addition, Louisiana offers tax incentives that encourage filmmaking.
“When you’re independently financing, you have to look for those breaks,” Marucci said.
“The Power of Few” is the first feature film produced by Steelyard Pictures, a media production company Marucci helped found. The film was independently financed through private backers.
Marucci said he enjoys all aspects of filmmaking from producing to screenwriting to directing, and he doesn’t distinguish heavily between them.
“It all comes pretty natural to me,” he said. “It’s all filmmaking in the end.”
Marucci met with OSU students Wednesday afternoon at the Wexner Center for the Arts for a discussion on the film and answered questions from students.
The Film Studies Program and the Wexner Center for the Arts organized the event.
“This event is a great opportunity for students to meet someone working in the film studies industry,” said Matthew Swift, academic coordinator for the Film Studies Program, in an email. “(Marucci’s) experience will help provide them with real-world knowledge for entering into the film production industry from the unique perspective of an OSU graduate.”
About 10 students attended the event. Several agreed the opportunity was enriching.
“He was super informative and it was really awesome seeing someone from OSU who actually made it in the film industry,” said John Ross, a second-year in marketing and video production and vice president of the Film and Video Society.
Adam Skov, a second-year in international business and Chinese and president of the Film and Video Society, agreed.
“I thought he was really interesting and very in-depth,” Skov said.
Both students said they are planning on attending the film’s Columbus premiere.
Ross said he is most interested in seeing the film because of “the five different story lines.”
“Those are always fun movies to see how they put it all together,” he said.
“The Power of Few” is opening exclusively at the AMC Lennox in Columbus and Boardman Tinseltown in Youngstown, Ohio, on Friday and will run for at least a week.