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July 13, 2014, 2:20 am

Low-budget production works wonders for ‘Exit Strategy’

Getting a first screenplay sold is difficult given today’s competitive marketplace and astronomical production budgets.

Nevertheless, year after year, while Hollywood grinds out big-budget formula blockbusters, aspiring screenwriters with no money or previous screen credits find ways to bring their stories to the screen and start their careers.

This weekend’s release of the urban romance comedy “Exit Strategy” is the latest example of how it is possible to produce a film on an extremely low budget.

“What began as a conversation between screenwriter/actor Jameel Saleem, producer/supporting actor Quincy ‘QDeezy’ Harris, director Michael Whitton and myself in September 2010 — with a shoestring budget provided by executive producer Big Boy — has turned into the film we proudly present today,” said movie producer, Kellie Maltagliati. “Exit Strategy” was made for less than $100,000 USD, a ‘micro-budget’ by any standard, through the extensive talents of director Michael Whitton, our dedicated and up-and-coming cast and crew, a miraculous cameo from now superstar Kevin Hart (to whom we are eternally grateful), plus the very recent technological advancements of digital filming, post-production, exhibition and marketing.”  

The movie’s budget allowed the creation of an entertaining film that can captivate audiences and compete for commercial success.

“We shot ‘Exit Strategy’ on Canon’s D-SLR 5D camera — which looks like a point-and-shoot camera with an output comparable to 35mm film—and the film’s production and post-production work flow were completed on a MacBookPro laptop, including all but the final pass of color correction,” explained Maltagliati. “This type of production process would not have been possible even a couple of years ago, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the new independent film world where low budget does not necessarily mean low quality. We also hope to serve what we believe to be a currently under-served audience in independent film this Valentine’s Day, with a relationship movie that features Black actors in the leading roles and doesn’t rely on standard stereotypes. We are excited to give this new talent and genre an opportunity to shine.”

The movie’s plot follows a young man’s disillusions after he gets evicted from his apartment and has to move in with his girlfriend of three months. With advice from his childhood best friends and thrift shop co-workers, he tries to make the relationship work — instead of being homeless — but may have to be resigned to his new life and living situation: chores and no football on Sundays, snoring instead of sleep, and no TV in the bedroom — ever. Thus, hilarity ensues as the audience is taken on the finer points of a relationship exit strategy, or simply put: breaking up.

“When two people in a relationship are afraid to take responsibility for how they feel — the demons set in,” said director Michael Whitton. “They become unhappy. Pressure builds up — and for some, the only way they know how to release that pressure is to hurt themselves or others. To tell them to stop is like trying to convince an alcoholic they have a problem they don’t. The person you thought they were has disappeared and a ghost remains; one they’re not afraid to live with, but one that others certainly can’t be around.”

The new un-romantic comedy, “Exit Strategy” is part of the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM),http://affrm.com/, opening this weekend at AMC Loews Cherry Hill, 2121 Route 38, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002, or visit http://www.amctheatres.com/CherryHill/.

On Saturday, February 11, after the 12:20 p.m. matinee, co-stars Jameel Saleem and Kimelia Weathers are featured in a special post-film discussion and giveaways followed by lunch at Wegman’s Market Cafe, AMC Cherry Hill. Visit www.meetup.com/reelblack for complete details.    

 

Contact staff writer Bobbi Booker at (215) 893-5749 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .