R.I. production company lands 10-film deal with Universal

A Rhode Island film company has secured a deal with Screen Media Films and Universal Studios to produce 10 new motion pictures – including the thriller “Almost Mercy,” currently in pre-production – for on-demand video release reaching more than 100 million households, according to a release from Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s office. More

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R.I. production company lands 10-film deal with Universal

Posted 4/10/14

PROVIDENCE – A Rhode Island film company has secured a deal with Screen Media Films and Universal Studios to produce 10 new motion pictures – including the thriller “Almost Mercy,” currently in pre-production – for on-demand video release reaching more than 100 million households, according to a release from Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s office.

East Greenwich filmmaker Chad A. Verdi and his wife Michelle, who own Woodhaven Production Co., have previously produced, filmed and sold six independent feature films, beginning with the motion picture “Inkubus,” which was acquired by Screen Media Films in 2010.

Since then, Screen Media has acquired five of Woodhaven’s feature films, including “Almost Mercy,” which will be filmed at locations throughout Rhode Island.

“With our unique locations in close proximity and an organized talent pool of local artists and technicians, Rhode Island is the perfect place to make successful movies,” said Chafee in a statement. “I am also pleased that many small businesses are benefiting from the film industry’s interest in our state. That kind of positive energy will keep our economy moving forward in the right direction.”

After completing “Almost Mercy,” the Verdis will begin pre-production on a biopic about champion Rhode Island boxer Vinny Pazienza called “Bleed For This” for their other production studio, Verdi Productions, also based in Rhode Island. “Bleed for This” will not be included in the 10-film distribution deal with Screen Media and Universal, which is exclusively for Woodhaven Production Co. films.

In total, the Verdis plan to film four feature films in the next 12 months, according to the release. Under the terms of the agreement with Screen Media, 10 brand new films including “Almost Mercy” will be released straight to video on demand through Screen Media’s distributor contract with Universal. Steven Feinberg, executive director of the R.I. Film & TV Office, said the deal was unprecedented for a Rhode Island film company.

“We are very pleased to see Chad and Michelle Verdi’s dedicated efforts to promote filmmaking as a thriving industry in Rhode Island now gaining well-deserved Hollywood support and recognition,” said Feinberg. “They have proven to be an economic catalyst by providing direct jobs on set, while also indirectly invigorating our area small businesses. This is wonderful news for our community on so many levels.”

Woodhaven Production Co. has previously taken advantage of Rhode Island film tax credit incentives, Feinberg said, and would likely continue to apply for tax credits on their upcoming productions. Woodhaven’s four previous films acquired by Screen Media – “Inkubus,” “Infected,” “Self Storage” and “Army of the Damned” – collectively received $312,018 in film tax credits, which fund up to 25 percent of all qualified expenditures for motion picture projects filmed in Rhode Island.

The R.I. Film & TV Office makes up to $15 million in film tax credits available each year.

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