A conversation with Joe Van Wie: Executive Producer “FORGED”
Van Wie’s film, “Forged,” has been selected to be part of the HBO’s International Latino Film Festival in New York City later this month. The film is one of 80 selected for the prestigious festival from more than 6,000 hopefuls.
“I guess you can say I just never gave up,” Van Wie said. “I never minded getting kicked in the face. This is a big honor.”
The 32-year-old Scranton native now lives in Wilkes-Barre.
As Van Wie puts it, he dropped out from NYU after first leaving the University of Scranton. He laughs when he talks about it – noting that he has done his time in the trenches learning the business he loves.
He and his partner, Jason Holly of Plains Township, occupy the seventh floor of the Citizens Bank Building in Wilkes-Barre. They also have a studio on the top floor of the building where they will someday shoot movie scenes and other features.
To describe himself, Van Wie directed a reporter to his website, which included the following:
“Following a spirited and notorious adolescence in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Joe did a stretch at New York University and ended up spending nearly a decade in New York City as an accomplished part of the city’s lively film and TV industry. During this time he racked up credits ranging from producing feature films premiering at International Film Festivals to directing and producing content for a variety of national cable television networks. In addition to his directorial duties whenever one of Revere’s cameras is rolling, Joe serves as the chief executive officer of Revere, handling the business aspects of the firm.”
His office walls are painted orange – “citrus shine” he calls it – noting that his research says the color provides the best creative stimulation. His dog, Brando, a mix of Boston terrier and French bulldog, has the run of the place.
Van Wie said he worked for free on the sets of “Law & Order” and “College Road Trip,” and many TV pilots to learn his trade.
“If you want to learn this business and find out how to do things, the best way is to work for someone else for free,” he said.
Revere has eight full-time employees, four part-timers and four interns. The interns, Van Wie said, always end their learning experience with a “death scene.”
“We usually throw them off the top of the building and film it,” Van Wie said – jokingly.
The company also has special events like “Neil Diamond Mondays,” “No shirts Fridays,” and “Khaki pants Thursdays.” It’s a relaxed, pressure-free atmosphere that works for Van Wie and his workers.
“I never want people to feel like they’re at work,” he said.
That’s why there’s a screening room that is often used for video games. Shorts and T-shirts are worn by most.
A successful operation that is growing, the company has several sides, including an advertising agency with well-known clients, photography, market research, print and graphic design and much more. More information can be found on the reveread.com website.
Revere owns six other scripts, including the rights to a Joe Paterno biography that Van Wie is pitching to ESPN.
“Forged” was filmed locally using sites in Noxen Township, Green Ridge, Lake Scranton and the Lackawanna County jail. The film stars Manny Perez and has gotten rave reviews at private screenings. It’s Van Wie’s second film; the first was “La Soga” that was filmed in Argentina.
Briefly, “Forged” is about the relationship between a boy and his father after the father was released from prison after serving time for killing the boy’s mother.
“The ending is unbelievable,” is all Van Wie will say.
The film will be shown during HBO’s Latino International Film Festival, July 27 to Aug. 1, in the Big Apple.
Van Wie said he wants to sell 480 tickets to the show at $15 to $25 each.
“If I get enough local people that want to go, I’ll sponsor the buses,” he said.
Van Wie is the son of Joe and Regina Walsh Van Wie of Scranton. His grandfather owned Century Coal Co. Van Wie has an older sister and two older brothers.
“I was living in New York City and got tired of the rat race,” he said. “The market has become so flat that you no longer have to live in Los Angeles or New York to be in this business.”
Van Wie said Northeastern Pennsylvania offered him the most opportunities for his work.
“I had a vision of what I wanted to do,” he said. “And I wanted to live back home closer to my family.”
And why did he name the company Revere?
“Paul Revere, the first American advocate, he got the word out, and he’s also my favorite patriot,” Van Wie said.
A couple people walked by and noticed Van Wie had shaved his beard – something he had for awhile.
“My ex-girlfriend was in town and she always hated the beard, so I thought I’d shave it off and see what happened,” he said. “We’re talking again.”
Entry filed under: DISTRIBUTORS, FILM FESTIVALS, INDUSTRY NEWS, LATIN AMERICAN FILM, PRODUCTORS. Tags: FORGED, HBO’s International Latino Film Festival in New York City, Jason Holly, latin america film, Plains Township.