The Gala Premiere
The premiere was on a monday night, and I usually start my work week on monday night, tuesday morning. So I took a paid day off from work to see this movie, and I'm always in a good mood when I have a long weekend! After getting dressed in a suit, and my wife dressing professional-casual, it was time to board our trusty steed and head on over to the cinema.
For those that do not live in Las Vegas, or have not been here long, the Paradise Six Cinema is the last free standing cinema in Las Vegas (with the exception of the Regal Collonade and the U/A Cinemas on Rainbow). The small multiplex is virtually a thing of the past here in Vegas, giving way to the Casino Cineplex, with stadium seating, digital sound, and easy access to buffets and 21 tables.
Now, to be fair, the Paradise Six is clean and comfortable, although it is not as new or state of the art as those Casino Cinemas. There is a small but functional lobby (which was quite packed!), a few aging video games and pinball machines, and a very small refreshment counter. OK, now on to the rest of the premiere!
We arrived and were greeted most graciously by Mr. Jeffrey Rivera, representative of 'O Yes I Can!' productions, and one of the film's actors. Jeff is a professional through and through, and is probably the one most responsible for getting word of mouth out on this film. Jeff introduced us to Mrs. Sheila Conway, who was filling in for husband Mike, as he was busy getting things set in the theater. Sheila is also a true professional, as well as an enchanting actress, and greeted us graciously as well. I went from feeling a little uncomfortable and unsure, to feeling not only welcome but appreciated as well.
As we mingled we met several people from various marketing firms, as well as members of the media. We were greeted well by everyone present, and were starting to get very excited as time for the movie was getting near. We were given press kits, as well as a small box of candy that was curiously titled "Goodies Behind the Glass," which we devoured without second thought (more on this later!). After reading and learning all about the 2 year production, it was time to enter the theater and meet Mr. Conway.
Mike was introduced by his wife, actress and professional Chef Sheila Conway, and he humbly introduced his film. He started out the evening with the 14 minute short film "ROADKILL," also starring his wife, Jason Hall and Sonny Dyon, all three of whom returned for roles in TERRARIUM. This short film was full of action and some dark humor, and really set the tone for the feature film.
After a few small technical glitches, TERRARIUM got off to a quick start. Now, I don't want to give away too much of the movie, as simply writing a book report on it doesn't do you, the reader, much good. I will, however, tell you at least as much as the small synopsis on this site and on the official site does.
A twelve member crew boards a spacecraft called "Cetus One" and embark on a 15 year mission to colonize a distant, earthlike planet. They are to spend the entire voyage in cryo - suspension, and awaken while still in space. Unfortunately, something went wrong and they awaken after the spaceship has already crash landed on the distant planet.
They quickly discover that they are trapped in their cryo-beds, too weak to break out. As they start trying to figure their situation out, a carnivorous creature attacks and eats one of the astronauts as she is still alive. They now realize that not only are they trapped, but they are sitting ducks for this creature. As one of the astronauts puts it, "We are like food in a fridge for that thing. We are the goodies behind the glass!" (It's at this time I looked at my wife, she looked at me, and we both looked at the now empty box of candy that we didn't notice before also looked an awful lot like a small cryo-bed! We giggled and thought 'What a nifty way to pull us into the film'!)
Anyhow, they do infact find a way out of the cryo-beds, only to find out they are not quite out of the woods yet...
The film is paced very well, and uses clever writing to tell a very compelling tale. Now, this film was made on a budget that would be difficult to make a shoestring with, a mere $27,000. The actors have all volunteered their time, and the 768 square foot set was constructed in Mike Conway's backyard. This film is far and above much more than a mere sum of it's parts. Mike Conway started out with an original and unique story (something unheard of in Hollywood), wrote a clever and effective screenplay, and chose the best talent to help him achieve his goal, to make a movie so good people count not avoid it.
Well, Mike has acheived his goal in triumphant style. I expect great things from this man, and I expect his next film to be better than this one. That's right, Mike, the pressure is on! However, after having seen two of Mike's movies, I am not worried... I just wonder what Mike Conway could do with a decent budget!
TERRARIUM begins it's run at the Paradise Six on the 30th of January, showing at 7pm, 9pm, and 11pm. The initial run is two weeks, but may run longer depending upon demand. You owe it to yourself to make it to at least one of these showings. We need to show local Las Vegas businesses, and the local media, that Las Vegas talent can and should be allowed to flourish, and that it can be profitable.
-Matt Ingersoll; Emperor Entertainment