Curse of the Phantom Shadow - Poster After six long years of hard work, harder graft, and even harder pre-production, our pals over at Back Alley Media are proud to present, Curse of the Phantom Shadow: a self-funded labor of love by director / producer, Mark Ross, who has finally unveiled his first trailer.

Curse of the Phantom Shadow, a comic book styled film set in the late 1940s, follows the exploits of Agent 236. In this flick we see a world filled with Dick Tracy styled watches, steam punk robots, pin up girls, and Republic Movie serial styled action, where our hero, Agent 236, does battle with larger than life villain, The Phantom Shadow.

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The film began life as a passion project and evolved into an elaborate visual FX laden film with a top tier cast that have credits which include: AMC's Mad Men, Dexter, Hannah Montana, Falcon Crest, Flags Of Our Fathers, and Don't Trust the B... in Apartment 23.

In order to produce COTPS on a shoe string budget, director, Mark Ross, and assistant director, Jason Goldberg, developed a new technique of filmmaking. “We were tasked with producing a visual FX spectacle on the one day coffee budget for a Marvel Comics Film”, claims Mark. So Jason Goldberg and Mark Ross used a combination of old school cinema tricks, green screen, DSLR filmmaking, matte painting, and sheer force of will to create high quality visual wizardry. The production was shot in garages, living rooms, sound stages, and on location. Visual FX sequences were worked on in Bulgaria, Melbourne, Australia, and parts of the United States.

Curse of the Phantom Shadow - Pin Up GirlIn order to give the film the perception of high production value, the crew went on location to faithfully recreate a Route 66 gas station. “A gentleman in Nevada gave us access to his backyard where he rebuilt an entire gas station from the 1940s”, says Mark. In addition, Mark Ross put up a one million dollar bond in order to rent for 24 hours a vintage 1940s tow truck. “I effectively rented a million dollars, much like a person rents a bail bond”. 

Before production began, Mister Ross spent almost six months in his garage building the film's elaborate special props. One prop in particular caught nigh on everyone's attention: The interior of the hero's car. “An unmarked patrol car parked outside my house while I was finishing the car, and it looked like I was building an assault vehicle in my garage”, jokes Mark. The car interior is a direct tie to the car design provided to the film by RideMakerz. RideMakerz donated the car which would serve as the design for Agent 236's vehicle.

The film, which will run just under 30 minutes long, will be submitted to festivals. However, it will also serve the dual purpose as a concept film for a television pilot or feature length production. Mark Ross and Jason Goldberg packed an entire feature length story in just under 30 minutes. The film runs at an action packed pace and sets up character introductions for a rich complex retro world.