“The Secret of Joy” will have its world premiere Friday, August 28th 12PM at the Laemmle 7 Cinema in North Hollywood. The premiere will be followed by six more screenings until September 3rd in the same theater. The entire box office will be donated to the Kids’ Cancer Research Foundation.
Created by director/producer Max Bartoli and his wife, producer Fabiola Lopez Bartoli, this project was conceived as a medium to raise the awareness and funds about the topic of pediatric cancer and received a very warm support from members of the industry in Hollywood and in Europe, as over 150 people and 18 companies answered the Bartolis’ call and gathered in Los Angeles last December to shoot this short film.
“The Secret of Joy” stars the talented newcomer Ava Ames (11 years old) who is joined by four time Emmy Award winner Doris Roberts, (Everybody Loves Raymond, Remington Steele, Christmas Vacation), Maria Conchita Alonso (The Running Man, Saints&Sinners,The House of the Spirits), Thaao Penghlis (Mission Impossible, Days of Our Lives, General Hospital), Sofia Milos (CSI Miami), Massi Furlan (The Dark Knight Rises, Soul Surfer, Liz & Dick) and the rest of a 35-people cast.
The screening of Aug. 29th will be followed by a Q & A with co-writers/directors/producers Max Bartoli, Fabiola Lopez Bartoli and executive producer Tori London.
“Cancer has unfortunately already touched my family too many times,” said director Max Bartoli. In the last year two friends of his family lost their 4 and 5 year old children to neuroblastoma only a few months apart. He said, “The memory of their pain is still vivid and the thought of what other parents might experience motivated my wife and I to do something to raise awareness and funds to support the battle against this terrible disease. This was when the idea came to us.”
The short tells the story of a beautiful dream in King Arthur’s kingdom, a land populated by valiant knights, beautiful ladies, little elves and monsters to be defeated. A world of fantasy and beauty only a child can imagine; a tale that enchants the viewers until life brings them abruptly back to reality. Joy, our little 11 year old princess, is fighting the monster of cancer!
“The Secret of Joy is a simple story,” said producer Fabiola Lopez Bartoli. But bringing it to life on the big screen was a huge challenge. “It took us 363 days of hard work from the day we conceived it to when we locked the film, the budget of an indie feature, 54 costumes, 100 pieces of jewelry, 35 pairs of medieval shoes, 4 days of filming in front of a green screen, 2 cameras, over 20,000 frames of full CGI and the professional commitment of over 150 people to produce something we could be proud of.”
The Bartolis spent four months heavily pre-producing the short with the heads of all departments: carries out tens of storyboards, conceptual drawings, directorial schematics to pre-visualize the project as much as possible. During the same period they were able to convince US and European companies to sponsor their project and the cause it was meant for by donating their services and products. Technicolor, Red Cinema, and Tirelli Costumi were the first to step on board.
The Bartolis told Monsters and Critics about their benefactors in Hollywood who helped them make this a reality.
“We just called everybody we knew,” said Max Bartoli, knowing that the worse case scenario would have been a “No”. “We did not have anything to lose… a part from all our savings. But people started to say ‘Yes’ enthusiastically.”
Principal photography took place at the beginning of December in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Malibù and Bel Air and lasted seven days.
To finish the project and produce all the special visual effects the Bartolis needed more help and funds. “Over 95% of film required some CGI components. Even sequences we shot in location,” said Fabiola Lopez Bartoli. “We did not want to settle for a mediocre, or rushed out result, so we wrote to all the largest and best special visual effects companies in the US. We just needed one ‘Yes’ and we got it. Hammerhead Productions said they were interested. We met them in their Sherman Oaks head quarters. A week later we had a deal. They are all amazing people!”
With an agreement in place to produce the VFX the Bartolis then approached long time friend actor/executive producer Tori London. Tori had been already involved in the project with role in Camelot. She was one of the first people to come on board and knew the project inside out.
“This project can be considered an act of love from all those involved. We all wanted to see it finished especially considering it would be donated to a great cause,” said executive producer Tori London. “When Max and Fabiola reached out to me looking for help I knew I could not say no. Moreover the quality level expressed by each department was so impressive that it would have been difficult to let it die there. I had to come on board.”
Thanks to Co-Producer Mike Rizzuto, Technicolor took care of the Digital Intermediate and all Post-Sound (editing, design, foley and mixing) bringing the short to a different level.
“Working with people such as Casey Genton, Zane Bruce, Nicholas Hasson and Academy Award winner Craig Mann was a blessing for us. Putting together a movie is always the result of a collaboration and when you are blessed to work with incredibly talented people, the results will amaze you,” said Max Bartoli.
Now that the film is locked, “The Secret of Joy” is going to be put in front of the audiences for the ‘final judgement’.
“We have always known we could make the difference, touching one person’s heart at the time,” said Fabiola Lopez Bartoli. “Hopefully now, thanks to our fantastic cast and all who’ve generously contributed, we could touch thousands.”