Mano a Mano Wins At Desert Rock Film Festival

Mano a Mano Postcard 1 with LaurelsMano a Mano took home the Best Narrative Feature and Audience Choice awards at the Desert Rock Film Festival in 2015.

In the dark of night, a group of undocumented immigrants cross into the United States, unnoticed by the Border Patrol. Their journey, however, takes a dangerous turn when gunshots ring out and bodies begin to drop. Three survivors named Jose, Felix, and Chuy make it to dawn, but as the sun begins to beat down on them– Felix is suddenly shot and killed. Jose and Chuy discover they are being hunted by two vigilante minutemen in their pick-up truck, murdering anyone that crosses the border. Jose and Chuy must now decide whether to run or fight. And even if they survive, they must still find a way across the long, hot desert in search of a better life.

Desert Rock Awards croppedDirector: Matthew Dyer & Danny Torres
 Written by: Matthew Dyer
; Produced by Danny Torres, Jason Durdon, Austin Anderson
; Executive Produced by James Duval, Cassandra Cooper, Mesindo Pompa, Michael Sagat, Facé, Kirk D. Anderson, Arturo Sanchez.

Cast: Luis Villifranca, Mesindo Pompa, James Duval, Austin Anderson, Omar Santiago, Carlos Luis Orrala, P. David Miller, and Janelle Froehlich.

Check out Continuum Motion Pictures

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Production to Distribution

Production to Distribution
by Danny Torres
CEO Continuum Motion Pictures

Danny Torres CEO

Danny Torres CEO

When making a movie, it’s never too early to think about putting your film in the best position for distribution. The hope of all filmmakers is that their film finds an audience. The payoff for putting time, energy and money into a project is that in the end, you hope that people will love your work as much as you do. Over the past few years, I’ve talked to hundreds of filmmakers and have noticed a few pitfalls that independent producers and directors often fall into that make the road to distribution a little bumpier for them. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to address the different aspects of production and offer some steps that a new filmmaker can take in order to put him or herself in the best position to get an audience for their film.


Distributed by Continuum Motion Pictures

Distributed by Continuum Motion Pictures

Before you ever cast your film, secure your locations, and finalizing your screenplay, there’s a pivotal first step every filmmaker must take: understanding who your audience is. Some films are made for children. Others are made for teenage boys who watch Cinemax at one in the morning. Chances are, your film will fall somewhere in between that spectrum. Having a clear understanding of who your target audience is will help guide your decision making through the production process, from what you show to the tone of your film,to how many curse words you use. Did you know the use of more than one f-word results in an automatic R-rating? Or that if your single use of the f-word explicitly refers to sex, it is also an automatic R-rating? There are exceptions to this rule, but don’t assume your film will be one of them. Know who you’re making your film for. Know your genre. The audience for a romantic comedy is quite different from the audience for a horror film. By having a clear genre and audience, it’ll be easier to convey what kind of film you have to potential distributors.

Distributed by Continuum Motion Pictures

Distributed by Continuum Motion Pictures

The second major step in Pre-Production is having the right title. Normally, this would go without saying, but there are a few things that you can use to make your film stand out amongst the myriad of independent films that are out there. First, you want a title that the average person can spell. If someone can’t spell your film, how do you expect him or her to ever find it? Next, make your film title original enough so that it can be found quickly through a search engine, be it Google or iTunes or the Moviefone App. And lastly, make your title something that gives a strong hint as to what your film is about, suggesting the genre and story. While that sounds like a lot for just something that may only be just a few words, the importance of a good title can never be understated. The Shawshank Redemption is a great film, but not knowing anything about the film, would you ever watch it just based on the title? More often than not, you saw it because someone highly recommended it to you. Your title is one of the most important sales tools you will ever have for your film.

Ad Nauseam Poster (450x637)Production

Once you actually start shooting your film, there’s only one thing a distributor cares about — do you have legal clearance for every single thing that’s in your movie? This includes the cast, the locations, any crew that is in behind-the-scene photos and videos, and even the extras in the background. If something is in focus or can be recognized, you must have permission to use it. Very important to know: this also includes logos for products. Ever notice the little TM logo or circled R that looks like this ®? That means you must have permission to show that logo or item in your film. If you don’t have permission, you can’t show it. The same goes with your actors. You must have a signed agreement stating you are allowed to show the actor’s face and likeness in not only the film, but on marketing materials as well. Filming outside of a restaurant? You must have the permission of the restaurant owner to use his or her business’ name. If you don’t have permission in writing, be prepared to digitally erase that image prior to getting distribution. If you are unable to do so, this may put your chances of getting distribution in jeopardy. The wisest thing to do is simply be aware of what’s in your frame and be ready to have people and location owners sign agreements before you even start filming. You’ll save yourself a mountain of headaches and be glad that you did so.

From Finland dist. by Continuum Motion Pictures

From Finland dist. by Continuum Motion Pictures

Post-Production and Beyond

After you’ve completed filming, the journey of making your movie is nearing its end, but your journey for distribution is only just beginning. Always make sure to keep your files around and handy as you don’t know when or where they’ll be needed. Just because a shot wasn’t used in the film doesn’t mean you need to delete it forever. This is especially important with your sound files if you’re looking to get foreign distribution. While your film may have been filmed for an English-speaking audience, other people who don’t speak English may want to enjoy your film, too. Having what’s called an M&E Track (for Music and Effects) available for your film will make the process of dubbing your dialogue into another language much easier. If you don’t know how to create an M&E Track, there are people out there who can help you, but only if you keep all your sound files!

From Canada distributed by Continuum Motion Pictures

From Canada distributed by Continuum Motion Pictures

Next, color correct your film! While digital cameras are getting better every year, they all still have a slight, “digital haze” on them that adds a grayish-white tint to your image. This can easily be fixed in color correction. Like photoshop or instagram, color correcting allows you to manipulate your film to brighten colors, darken blacks, and just make your film have an overall better look and feel. Every studio film is color corrected and for a reason — it makes your film look better! I highly recommend doing so.

And lastly, the importance of music to a film can go without saying. But, like logos, you must have the right to use the music in your film. And please, avoid the problem of getting only the “festival rights” to your soundtrack. Distributors aren’t too keen on having to pay for something that they assume you already had covered. They’ll more likely just replace your music with something less expensive and now your soundtrack just changed. Get all your rights for your film for as long as you plan on having your film be out there, which, with any luck, will be for many, many years to come.

Danny Torres on Set of Taught In Cold Blood

Danny Torres on Set of Taught In Cold Blood

Next time, I’ll be addressing the marketing phase of your film– now that you have something to show, what do you do to get people interested in watching it!

Note: Continuum Motion Pictures distributes on DVD, Theatrically, Google play, iTunes, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation and more.

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Response To A Stalker: By Danny Torres Continuum Motion Pictures

Danny Torres CEO Continuum Motion Pictures

Danny Torres CEO Continuum Motion Pictures

When I was in the fourth grade, I did something stupid. My teacher, in an effort to instruct my class on how to properly write correspondence, had everyone write a letter to a sixth grader. I was randomly assigned a particular student who was a bit unusual, but overall a nice kid who had never done a thing to me in my life. I, in an attempt to be funny or playful or perhaps not even knowing what else to write, proceeded to compose a letter to this student where I called him weird, odd and an assortment of other things that were honestly, mean and undeserved. Two days later, my teacher started the day by lecturing to my class about what had happened, though she refused to name the student who had written the letter. She stated she wanted everyone to know about this act of cruelty and that she would deal with the offending student later in private. As she continued on explaining how what I had done was wrong, I raised my hand, and then simply said aloud, “I did it.” I ended up apologizing to my teacher, the student, and the student’s teacher. I don’t know or remember why I wrote the letter and I don’t know or remember why I admitted to my class that I was the one who did it, and to this day, I regret any harm I may have done to that student. But the two things I learned that day were—one, learn to treat others well; and two, my teacher respected me for having the willingness to admit to my mistake.

Danny Torres: Continuum Pictures with John and Joel Murray on The Bouncer

Danny Torres with John & Joel Murray on The Bouncer

As you may or may not know, there is currently an individual anonymously posting things about me online under the guise of different people. I know who the individual is, but I will not name them here or at any point publicly because frankly, what purpose would that serve? Would it not just maintain a perpetual circle of malice? In the film industry, you will come across a lot of people, some of whom you will love and some of whom you wish to part ways with as you simply don’t mesh. But unfortunately, there are times that you meet people who have become embittered and hardened by the difficulty of this industry, and in truth, it is hard. To quote Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.” But unfortunately, rather than just continue pushing forward, people feel the need to place their anger, frustration, and dissatisfaction on whatever or whomever they feel has wronged them, whether legitimate or not.

Danny Torres

Danny Torres

Gossip and innuendo can be fun for people. There are magazines, websites, and TV shows that all profit off the gossip of many a famous people. Now, I am certainly not famous, far from it, but I do understand that part of human nature that derives some type of satisfaction from seeing a person being torn down, giving way to a dark sentiment inside of us that secretly says, “my life’s not great but at least I’m doing better than that person.” And yet, the same people willing to tear you down are the same people that perhaps once sung your praises. I can’t speak for everyone, but I rather learn about people by speaking with them and meeting with them than by judging them based on what I read in a magazine, or saw on some news show, or, God forbid, read about them on the Internet.

Danny Torres at Music Saves LivesNow, with my particular situation, am I to assume that this person thinks that my success is growing to the point where he or she needs to spend as much time and effort to try and debase me? Or do they simply not trust that when people meet me, or speak with me on the phone, or interact with me in any manner, they can’t make a judgment for themselves as to whether or not they wish to work with me? If anyone ever wishes to ask me about my dealings in the industry or the business relationships I have taken part of, I’d be more than willing to have an open, honest conversation. I’m not hard to reach.

DP/Producer Danny Torres with Director Joel Murray

DP/Producer Danny Torres with Director Joel Murray

Now, I don’t wish to address anything written about me because honestly, it’s not worth dignifying. However, there is one matter I do wish to say something about and it is this—I was once accused of taking a sum of money from an investor with a time, place and amount stated. I’d just like to be on the record of saying that I love telling that story because at the accused time, I was in the sixth grade living on the other side of the country. That’s the fun of the Internet—anyone can write anything about anyone. In the words of Mark Twain, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Then again, he also said, “Most of what’s on the Internet is true.”

And finally, to the person who keeps writing things about me, I just have this last thing to say to you: Thank you. Thank you for spending so much time thinking about me and my company and my business partners. It’s nice to know that I have not been forgotten. I’m sorry for the fact that I can’t pay you the same compliment, outside of writing this, as I spend my time, energy, and day working on moving my company forward by producing more movies and helping other filmmakers have the opportunity to distribute their films to the public. I honest to God wish you the best of luck on your own projects when you finally decide to spend your time working on those, instead of trying to defame my reputation. By posting on the Internet. Anonymously. Like a fourth grader would.

Continuum Motion Pictures: Danny Torres CEO

Continuum Motion Pictures: Danny Torres CEO

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Sirens – Continuum Motion Pictures – Danny Torres

Sirens, a journey into the aftermath of a Zombie Apocalypse. Written by Jason Durdon Directed by Jason Durdon and Danny Torres. Produced by Jason Durdon and Danny Torres.

Update: April 2014 Sirens was selected to play at the recent RIP Film Festival

– Continuum Motion Pictures –

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I Was A Dinosaur Kid

I was a dinosaur kid. I’m not sure why or how it started; I just remember that at the age of five being a dinosaur kid. Maybe it was because I had a little plastic T-Rex and Triceratops. Maybe it was because I saw The Land Before Time and Dino the Last Dinosaur a few too many times. Or maybe it was because, when I was five years old, I read a book called Danny and his Dinosaur. The story was about a young boy named Danny who one days walks outside his house and sees a dinosaur, a friendly one at that. And together, they walk around the city, looking at sights, and play hide and go-seek, all the while Danny rode around on the dinosaur’s shoulders. Now I remember reading this book quite a few times, enthralled by the fact that someone took the time to tell a story of a character who shared my name. At the time, little did I know about alliteration being a great selling tool or that people sang a song called “Oh Danny Boy,” but just seeing my name in print was cool.

Moving forward five years later, an entire lifetime later in my little world, I heard tell of a movie coming out called Jurassic Park that was about—wait for it: dinosaurs. I wanted to see it, and some of my friends were talking about it, but summer was “so far away” so who knew when it was going to come out. I remember seeing the billboards in the Valley—the distinct bone structure of a T-Rex outlined in a circle with the title “Jurassic Park” beneath it.

Finally, one day, I found myself in the theater with my family sitting in the very first row as the theater was packed. I didn’t care, I just looked straight up and it started—I was confused at first by the opening, not knowing why this forklift was driving through trees or what was inside the box, just that I know I wanted to see what was inside the box. Of course, I didn’t get to see, so I was annoyed. The film continued and then I finally caught my first glimpse—Grant and Ellie get out of the jeep and stare up at a lumbering dinosaur, the sight so inspiring it brings tears to her eyes. I remember getting to the T-Rex Paddock and waiting to see it, but she never showed up (remember, all the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park are female) and my frustration continued until they get stuck… and the power goes out… and a distinct two-fingered hand reaches towards the no-longer electrified fence… and then it happened: the T-Rex broke out. Right in front of Grant and Ian, the T-Rex lumbers across the road and roars. It brought me chills and I was hooked— there was no wrong this movie could do. It’s one thing to do a dinosaur movie, but then for all of them to suddenly break free and escape? Genius! I enjoyed the thrill ride that was the rest of the movie, excited and scared when we first saw the Raptors enter the kitchen, and then filled with an over sense of joy and excitement when the T-Rex enters the building, kills the raptor, and roars as a banner that reads “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” falls right in front of her and everyone else escaped. Even when I watch the movie to this day, I still fall for it and get the chill down my spine.

I can’t say that I wanted to be a filmmaker at that moment. What I can say, what I do believe is that I and many, many people around me work everyday to try and conceive and create the next spine tingling moment, when all the pieces come together and just inspire the ten year old inside of us. We all hold moments from our childhood in the highest regard, memories from years past that we identify with ourselves because they were there for us when we knew very little about the world around us, but we didn’t care because we had these tv shows, toys, games, and movies that we could see, touch, feel, and experience in our own little ways. And to this day, they remain special to us, for perhaps no other reason than we experienced it when we were seven. So as a filmmaker, I hope I can one day leave my positive note on some kid who likes dinosaurs or comic books or actions figures or whatever other interest they hold. As a gift that was once given to me, I hope to be able to return the favor.

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Pumping out the Action. (via The Big Picture, The Fine Print)

This is an interview that Alison Richards gave Danny Torres, CEO of Continuum Pictures.

Pumping out the Action.  An interview with filmmaker Danny Torres I recently had the opportunity to chat with a filmmaker who has carefully laid plans to make his mark in Hollywood.  He formed Continuum Pictures in October of 2005 and it has been growing steadily ever since.  There were two things about Danny Torres that surprised me; the first how clear his vision for success was and the second that he’s only 26 years old. Noni:     Thanks for taking the time to speak w … Read More

via The Big Picture, The Fine Print

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