A movie filmed in Sampson County and based on an actual murder that occurred here in 1984 has found its first home with a Los Angeles-based distributor who will now shop it to both TV networks and myriad streaming sites.
A deal was recently inked between Story Plant Media, executive producer of Tarnished Notes, and Petri Entertainment, giving the movie what executives on both sides called “roots” that they expect will grow over the next few months into an avenue for the film to be aired.
“It’s a pleasure to have a team as experienced and dedicated as Petri on board with us,” noted Lou Aronica, president of The Story Plant, parent company of Story Plant Media. “Petri’s professionalism and enthusiasm is a real boon for “Tarnished Notes.”
Petri, owned by South Carolina native Warner Davis, is an independent production and distribution company focusing on content-driven films. The producers’ long careers in the entertainment industry, has allowed them to be associated with many experienced award-winning talents in the field of film production. Their standard and goal is to complete and deliver a first class, upbeat, highly marketable feature film presentation.
And that’s what is happening with “Tarnished Notes,” now.
The film, which wrapped last November, with post-production completed in May, is in Petri’s hands, where a new trailer is being completed, along with promotional art and materials. Davis estimated that work will be completed within the next few weeks, with plans to pitch its sale to TV executives shortly thereafter.
“We are very excited to be working with the team from “Tarnished Notes,” Davis said. “This is a fascinating story and one that we feel audiences are going to be excited to find out about.”
Directed by Tony-award winner Mitchell Maxwell, “Tarnished Notes” stars former “One Tree Hill” alumnus Cari Moskow, Grammy-award winner Elijah Chester and Greenville newcomer Ryan Joyner and features many actors and actresses from Sampson County and eastern North Carolina. It is based on the 1984 murder of a Sampson County minister of music whose murder was plotted by his wife and executed by their lover. It is based on a soon-to-be-completed and released novel by Sampson Independent publisher and editor Sherry Matthews, who, along with Clinton resident Gloria Edwards, co-produced the film.
“I am so excited that we signed a deal with Petri,” Matthews said. “I am thankful Warner saw something unique and special in this film and was willing to offer us a contract for its distribution. It is hard to believe how far we’ve come in less than a year. It’s really remarkable.”
Matthews attributes finding Petri to another Sampson County native, Monty Hobbs, who served as line producer on the movie and who flew to California earlier this summer to market it among entertainment executives.
“Monty is amazing, and I owe him a debt of gratitude for taking on this project and seeing it through. His belief in the movie and his tenacity in getting others to believe in it is what made this happen. He has worked tirelessly to find the movie a home with a good distributor. We have that now and I can’t thank him enough for it.”
Matthews said credit also needs to go to Brian Edwards, LA celebrity talent executive, who lined up many LA contacts for Hobbs during his visit to California, including high level executives with MarVista Entertainment and Indie Rights. Edwards also made a cameo appearance in the movie.
But it was a chance meeting between Hobbs and Davis that brought “Tarnished Notes” to Petri.
Hobbs, who is originally from Roseboro but now resides in Wilmington, said he was still looking for “that perfect fit for the movie” when he stopped by posh LA establishment The Standard to enjoy the view before meeting Edwards for a Grammy Museum reception.
“While I was there I made friends with Rachelle Dimaria, a very talented actress who has recently been on the soap ‘The Bold and The Beautiful.’ We hit it off after she heard my southern drawl, and we began talking. I told her about the movie and she mentioned Warner Davis, an associate of hers, saying that I might want to talk to him about Petri repping the movie.”
It was that introduction, Hobbs said, that led him and Davis to meet and discuss the movie, a meeting held in west Los Angeles.
“Turns out we had a mutual friend who I had done an HBO series with a while back. That same friend starred in Warner’s feature film, giving us something to immediately talk about. We just instantly hit it off.”
Hobbs pitched “Tarnished Notes” to Davis who, in turn, agreed to view the movie.
“The rest is now history,” Hobbs said. “Warner and the folks at Petri liked the film. That’s when negotiations began, leading to the contract that has now been signed. It is a great fit for our film and I appreciate all the work Warner has done to make this happen.”
Matthews said she had great confidence in Petri.
“I talk to Warner on a weekly basis now, and he gives me updates on how things are going. Pretty soon we will have new artwork and a new trailer and, after that, there will be work to sell the movie. Who knows, we might even have DVDs available before Christmas rolls around,” Matthews said.
Updates on what is happening with the film’s progress can be found on the Tarnished Notes Facebook page or on the film’s website at www.TarnishedNotes.net.
“I’m urging people to keep a close watch on the Facebook page and the website because we have some more really exciting news to share before too long, something especially for our Clinton folks,” Matthews said.