Local Filmmakers Ink Deal with Lionsgate, DVDs Out Now/Soon

In August 2007, former New Times staffer Joanne Green wrote a great piece about local filmmaker Lee Cipolla, a Michael M. Krop Senior High School grad, and his mission to finish his second feature film, Nemesis, on a shoe-string budget in 12 days in the middle of August.

Well, he and creative teammate Jeremy Mitchell did it, and some two years later, the film, now titled, Know Thy Enemy was released May 26 in DVD wide-release by Lionsgate Films.

According to Mitchell and Cipolla, Lionsgate also picked up the duo's first film, Harder They Fall, which is also getting a DVD wide release

on June 16.

"Everything's changed," Cipolla says. For one, their filmmaking team is now bi-coastal, operating in both Miami and Los Angeles, and the deal with Lionsgate has given them industry cachet, not to mention cash. Neither Mitchell nor Cipolla would reveal the exact terms of the deal with Lionsgate, but Mitchell did say they "made more than [their] money back on both films."

Their next goal, according to Cipolla, is to get a theatrical release for one or both of their next two projects. Mitchell is working on a script based on his experiences playing professional tennis on the satellite ATP tour, while Cipolla has his sights set on an MMA biopic he's calling Ultimate. The plan is to shoot both in South Florida and then shop the films in L.A.

The long-term goal? "It's my lifelong dream to start a studio down here," Cipolla says.

A fine goal indeed.

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P. Scott Cunningham

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