The work of filmmaker Jason Eberly

After an eight month span of bicoastal photography and countless hours of post-production, I am so proud to present KINGS & QUEENS, the second installment in our cinematic dance trilogy. (Please follow this link to view the first film, “Dead Drop.”) Like its predecessor, “Kings & Queens” was created on a shoestring budget, this time costing only $84. The generosity and volunteering of countless people made this film possible. Special thanks to Kevin Shaw, Donna Baxter, John Bucher, and Matt Miner. “Kings & Queens” was directed & produced by Jason Eberly, written by Nathan Hartman, shot & edited by Jordan Steele, and starring Mayte Valdes and Carlos Barrionuevo—the most beautiful and talented couple that I know. Be sure to stick around after the credits for a teaser shot leading into the final installment!

Following the rousing climax of “Dead Drop,” KINGS & QUEENS finds the spy and his lover reminiscing about better times on the eve of his departure to settle a debt. While she contemplates the past, he looks to secure their future. Full of passion and danger, this penultimate chapter in the cinematic dance trilogy will leave you breathless for more. “Kings & Queens” is dedicated to Giuseppe Tornatore and Ennio Morricone.

I had the privilege to attend the 66th Annual DGA Awards on Sunday. What a stellar evening! Michael Spiller and Lorie Zerweck, two producers on THE MINDY PROJECT, purchased a table and invited some crew members. Besides getting to hear from five auteurs who I greatly admire (Cuarón, Scorsese, Russell, McQueen, and Greengrass), I had a blast with everyone from the show. Plus, I finally got to meet Gail Mancuso and Michelle MacLaren, two directors who I worked with while at ICM. In the end, Alfonso Cuarón won for his work on Gravity. Well deserved!

The 66th Annual DGA Awards

Introducing the official poster for KINGS & QUEENS. We are working hard to complete post-production on this second film in the dance short trilogy, starring Carlos Barrionuevo and Mayte Valdes. It is scheduled for online release on 2-13-14. Directed/produced by Jason Eberly, written by Nathan Hartman, and shot/edited by Jordan Steele. To view the award-winning first film, DEAD DROP, please visit this Vimeo link.

Photography by Jordan Steele and artwork by Jason Eberly

Honorable Mentions: Don Jon, The World’s End, Mud, Room 237, Prisoners, The Way Way Back, Rush, The Wolf on Wall Street, Monsters University, The Great Gatsby, La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty)

10. Captain Phillips

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“Listen up, we have been boarded by armed pirates. If they find you, remember, you know this ship, they don’t. Stick together and we’ll be alright. Good luck.” - Captain Richard Phillips

9. Dallas Buyers Club

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“Got a news flash for y’all. There ain’t nothing out there that can kill Ron Woodroof in 30 days.” - Ron Woodroof

8. Saving Mr. Banks

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“Winds in the east, mist coming in. Like something is brewing, about to begin. Can’t put me finger on what lies in store. But I feel what’s to happen, all happened before.” – Travers Goff

7. American Hustle

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“She was the Picasso of passive-aggressive karate.” - Irving Rosenfeld

6. Blue Jasmine

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“Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown, there’s only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming.” – Jasmine

5. Frances Ha

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“I’m too tall to marry.” – Frances

4. Her

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“Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It’s like a socially acceptable form of insanity.” – Amy

3. La Migliore Offerta (The Best Offer)

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“There’s always something authentic concealed in every forgery.” – Claire

2. Gravity & Inside Llewyn Davis (tie)

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“Sit back, enjoy the ride. You gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start living life. Hey Ryan, it’s time to go home.” - Matt Kowalski

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“If that’s what music is to you, a way to get to that place, then yeah. It’s a little careerist and it’s a little square and it’s a little sad.” - Llewyn Davis

1. 12 Years a Slave

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“I apologize for my appearance. But I have had a difficult time these past several years.” - Solomon Northup

I first saw Roberto Minondi perform while catching a show at the Café Tortoni. This was during my research trip to Buenos Aires for Eliana: A Tango Fairytale. I had seen numerous tango shows before the Tortoni show, and each time I looked forward to the dancing and secretly dreaded the singing. With the other vocalists, the same passion as the dancers just didn’t translate for me. It was different for Roberto. He stole the Tortoni show and gave me chills during every performance. And when he sang Carlos Gardel’s “Volver,” I finally understood why Gardel is still a national icon and why tango singers can be so alluring. I liked the show so much that I took my writer, John Bucher, back the next night to see it again. Moreover, we have added a supporting role in the Eliana script for a “passionate milonga singer” based on our admiration for Roberto. After the second show we were able to track down Roberto and speak with him regarding the film. If the film’s schedule and other details pan out, I would be honored to have Roberto perform in our film. As a tease, please see the video below of Roberto singing a portion of “Volver.” It was captured on my iPhone during the first performance I attended at Café Tortoni.

“Volver” Chorus
(English Translation)

To return…with a withered face.
The snows of time,
Have whitened my temples.
To feel…that life is a puff of wind.
That twenty years is nothing,
That the feverish look,
Wandering in the shadow,
Looks for you and names you.
To live…with the soul clutched.
To a sweet memory,
That I cry once again.

In an odd turn of events, our film “Dead Drop” was accepted to the 2013 Silent River Festival in Irvine, CA. This is the first time that a festival has reached out initially with the offer to screen a film. And it’s even sweeter since “Dead Drop” is a shoestring budget short — created for only $97. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the link to view online.

Very happy to announce that “Niña Del Tango” is one of sixteen films that were selected for the 2013 monthly showcases at IFS. The Independent Filmmakers Showcase (IFS) recognizes the best independent and underground filmmakers working outside of the studio system. Our film screens on July 12th at 7:30pm. Tickets available for online purchase two weeks before the screening.

In late February, we announced that John Bucher was on board to draft the screenplay for the feature adaptation of the award-winning short film “Niña Del Tango.” Donna Baxter, in conjunction with her company Elsie Katz Couture, was also recently attached as the costume designer. The full-length film will be directed by Jason Eberly, who will also assist in story and character development, and will feature the acting and dancing talents of festival-nominated Mayte Valdes and Carlos Barrionuevo. Below are promotional photographs for the film, featuring the film’s stars and taken by Jordan Steele.

At a prestigious event on May 29th, we made the first public announcement regarding the film’s title and unveiled the teaser poster at the Consulate General of Argentina in New York. I am now quite excited to extend the announcement to our online followers. The title is “ELIANA,” named after the lead character, with the tagline “A TANGO FAIRYTALE.” The story is an Argentine retelling of the classic Cinderella fairytale, set in the mid 20th Century. Compared to the short film, the feature’s storyline and characters are quite different. But the tone and fantastical elements remain intact. Below, please find the teaser poster (hover over to activate a zoom function), created by Justin Wentz.

Poster artwork by Justin Wentz

Congrats to Jada Facer on her nomination for Best Performance In a Short Film at the 34th Annual Young Artist Awards. This is regarding her role as LUCY BIRD in “Niña Del Tango.” It was an endearing, nuanced performance and I get comments about Jada each time we screen the film. Best of luck when the winners are announced next Sunday at the Hollywood ceremony!

Consulate General of Argentina

After visualizing and writing about Argentina for the past three years, I finally get to visit Buenos Aires in May. My summer just got so much better! In order to research and scout for the feature film, the writer (John Bucher) and I are going to explore every inch of the legendary city in a mere ten days. One can only gain so much knowledge through long-distance reading. So, through the generosity of an investor, we will get a first-hand experience with the culture that informs what we develop and write. I couldn’t be more excited!

Then, the day after we land back in Los Angeles, we head to NYC for a special screening of “Niña Del Tango” at the Argentine Embassy (Consulate General of Argentina). Mayte Valdes and Carlos Barrionuevo will also perform a few dance numbers and John Bucher will give a lecture on the history of Argentine storytelling and filmmaking. To top off the evening, we will give the first public announcement for the feature version and unveil the teaser poster. We have a lot to do in order to prepare for both trips. But I’m excited that things are moving so quickly in the development process. I’m prepared for a few speed bumps ahead, yet grateful for the present opportunities. Carpe diem!