A war veteran struggling to adapt to civilian life while battling PTSD becomes tangled in a web of seduction, addiction and violence.
An Act of War (original title: The Projectionist) is a 2015 American thriller film written and directed by Ryan M. Kennedy and produced by Atit Shah. The film stars Russ Russo, Natasha Alam, Doug E. Doug, Joseph R. Gannascoli, Robert Miano and Kiowa Gordon. The story follows a recently returned veteran as he struggles to re-adapt to society and reconnect with the world he left behind prior to being deployed to Iraq.
In February, 2014 Indiewire reported that the project was the first film to ever release on Kickstarter prior to a theatrical and Video on Demand run. The film released in North American markets on VOD March 31, 2015.
Within the first two weeks of its release, An Act of War had been illegally and legally downloaded or streamed over 4 million times across various platforms and the trailer garnered over 500,000 hits on YouTube.
The film became available on Netflix July 15, 2015. InstantWatcher.com ranked the film in the top 10 most streamed films on Netflix during the first two weeks of its release.
Battling insomnia and undiagnosed PTSD, a war veteran works nights as a projectionist at a decrepit theater. While struggling to adapt to civilian life, he soon finds himself tangled in an inescapable web of seduction, addiction, and violence.
Russ Russo as Jacob Nicks
Natasha Alam as Ivana
Doug E. Doug as Marlon
Joseph R. Gannascoli as Frank
Robert Miano as Sully
Chris LaPanta as Lt. Sullivan
Dominik Tiefenthaler as Det. Nicks
Kevin Interdonato as The Stalker
Kiowa Gordon as Private. Locklear
Stan Carp as Tito
Matthew Dolimpio as Ivanas Date
John Farnsworth as Mr. OBrien
Ryan M. Kennedy directed the film from a script he spent two years developing while working full-time as a waiter at a Midtown Manhattan restaurant. He showed the finished draft to a French cinematographer Nicolas Canton living in New York City and the two began planning to produce the film with a small sum of their own money. After receiving a copy of the script in January 2011, a local producer, Atit Shah offered to partner with Kennedy and the two began to work on expanding the scope of the project.
Shortly after securing the rights to the script, Shah sent the screenplay over to actor Russ Russo, whom Shah had met several years prior at the Cannes Film Festival. The production signed Russo in February 2011. Casting Director Rita Powers round out the remaining cast with Natasha Alam, Doug E. Doug, Joseph R. Gannascoli, Robert Miano, and Kiowa Gordon.
Sean Lennon was initially attached to play Marlon until Lennons South by Southwest gig prevented him for filming.
Principal photography took place in March of 2011 in New York City, predominately in Brooklyns Vinegar Hill and East Williamsburg neighborhoods.
Kennedy had rented a production space in Brooklyn prior to meeting Shah, an expense Shah felt was unnecessary. Unable to break the lease, production designer Robert Dancy converted the raw space into two different key locations within the movie and the space proved to be a big win for production.
The film was shot on the Arri Alexa over a period of 32 days. Additional filming took place in various locations around Manhattan, and in upstate NY near Red Hook.
Release and reception
The film was released on Video on Demand and DVD March 31st, 2015 by Revolver Entertainment. It became available exclusively in North America on iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Google Play, Vudu, Xbox Live, Playstation Store and Amazon Instant Video. With Cable VOD offerings on Dish and AT&T. On June 2, 2015 An Act of War expanded to the following VOD platforms in the US: Comcast; Verizon FIOS and Cox, Frontier, Telus, Rogers Cable and Shaw Communications in Canada. On June 3rd, 2015 the film was distributed across 3000 Walmart stores in the United States.
An Act of War became available on Netflix July 15, 2015. InstantWatcher.com ranked the film in the top 10 most streamed films on Netflix during the first two weeks of its release.
The film received generally favorable reviews. Aaron Peterson of the Hollywood Outsider said it was “a harrowing journey of a film that demands to be seen”. Henrick Vartanian of Brave New Hollywood praised the film’s depiction of soldiers with posttraumatic stress disorder. Saying “this film makes the complexity of the tormented soldier comprehensible to everyday public”.
The Movie Waffler reported "An Act of War is skillfully scripted and sensitively acted. Prior to its release, the picture won four film festival awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor at the New York-based Take Two Film Festival. The movie was also hailed as the first film to ever have a limited release using Kickstarter prior to more mainstream film distribution".