By Matthew Nadu
If you’ve ever noticed untimely traffic jams, detours and yellow marker signs across the city, that probably means someone’s shooting — a movie that is.
Philadelphia is quickly establishing itself as the newest Hollywood destination. In the past two years, thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue have been generated by films such as James L. Brooks’ “How Do You Know,” M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” and “Limitless” which stars Robert De Niro and Philadelphia’s own Bradley Cooper. And of course, let’s not forget the KO champ of all movies “Rocky I” through XXVIII, or however many have been made now, that continue to bring notoriety to the City of Brotherly Love.
But Philly’s movie scene doesn’t stop with the Hollywood big boys. Far from it. Lately, it’s been the locals that are taking advantage of the city’s rich film opportunities.
Among those salivating is local boxer-turned-writer and director Tom Walton. In an attempt to bring back that fighting spirit Stallone set forth nearly three decades ago, the Philadelphia native is in pre-production for his first full length independent feature film.
Walton is just like any other guy. He works hard, enjoys a cold one every now and then and isn’t part of the one percent.
Not yet anyway.
What separates Walton from the rest of us is that he’s dreaming big. Like Hollywood big.
The 34-year old isn’t holding off his dreams of starting his own production company PhilaDreams Films anymore and appropriately named his first feature “Dreams.” Watch out because the drama’s recruiting some heavy firepower to make those dreams a reality.
“Dreams” is a coming-of-age drama that follows four strangers whose lives intertwine as they strive to make their dreams become reality. There is no shortage of trials and tribulations, but through it all one question beckons, will the human spirit prevail?
It’s not as typical as you may think.
The Indie’s grit, dirt and delusion has national buzz to back it up, including rumors that some of LA’s biggest macho men and music talent are showing serious interest sparked by MTV’s Freddy Figs and celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman. But you don’t have to wait for TMZ to break the news.
So far, Walton’s screenplay has several major Hollywood producers pounding on his Upper Darby door. The drama features “Big” LeRoy Mobley of Sean “Diddy” Comb’s Dirty Money crew, music producer Andy Stein, Brian Anthony Wilson, who’s appeared in over 75 movies including “Rounders” and “Limitless” along with quickly rising actor Vaughn Goland who’s starring along with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Nero in “Silver Lining Playbook,” currently filming in Philadelphia.
Of course, if you’re going to dream big like Walton you insert yourself into the film as well.
The road to making a movie isn’t easy but when you have nothing to lose and everything to gain the vision becomes a little clearer.
Walton used his first short film called “This Man’s Life” to gain some notoriety and investors within the industry. It’s been a snowball effect ever since. The crew is weeks away from shooting a trailer for “Dreams,” and production is slated to start early next summer.
Walton is still searching for talent, casting addition local roles on the Dreams facebook page. If you have ever felt a dream inside you, perhaps this could be your ticket to Hollywood too.