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Born Ready Films’ “The Garage Hoppers” to be Released on DVD

July 1, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Terrence Flamm

The Chicago-based Born Ready Films, which evolved from a sketch comedy group founded by Andrew Morris in 2009, creates short clips and films. Its first full-length effort, The Garage Hoppers, was shot in the city and nearby suburbs from June through August last year. The movie drew a large crowd for its premiere at The Portage Theatre on the northwest side last March 18th.

On the set of "The Garage Hoppers"

“We had a great turnout and people laughed a lot more than I expected,” Morris, who is currently finishing his final semester at Columbia College, stated in a recent email. “After eight months of editing, it was great to sit down and watch the film with a fresh audience.”

As writer and director, Morris based The Garage Hoppers on real news stories about suburban teenagers who steal alcohol from garages, but added comic twists involving illegal entrepreneurial endeavors, rival gangs, and crazed hillbillies. The movie’s main characters are a quartet of guys named Mike, T., Frank, and Derek, who steal beer from garages and then sell it to their friends. There’s another group of alcohol-grabbing minors, who travel to and from their heists on roller-blades, but they don’t amount to a whole lot of competition.

The real trouble starts when a pair of corn-bred losers, Randle Merdandle and Ralphie Sanders, spot Derek making off with their last cans of beer. The two had already been having a bad day, including Ralphie being shut out of a sizable inheritance from his late grandfather, Colonel Sanders. Their revenge involves kidnapping Derek, as well as Mike’s girlfriend, and demanding an enormous ransom of alcohol so they can open a Southern rock themed bar. The Garage Hoppers also tosses in a bit of satire on family values, and shows teens banding together to overcome tough situations. It’s a theme Morris can relate to.

“We specialize in low budget filmmaking, which is an art within itself,” he explained. “Rather than relying on a budget to fix our issues, we used creativity and rewrites to work around them.”

The Garage Hoppers cast includes Morris himself, as well as Brian Morris, Max Ryan, Bryan Rafferty, Jennifer Augustus, and Bryn Packard. Born Ready Films began sending copies out to various film festivals at the end of April.

On the set of "The Garage Hoppers"

“This June, we will screen the film in Lake County, which is where most of it was shot,” Morris said. “We recently submitted the film to various festivals across the country including The Friars Club Comedy Fest, The Dark Comedy Festival, Mockfest of Hollywood, The Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival, The Houston Comedy Festival, The Chicago Comedy Festival, and many others.”

Born Ready Films is also hoping to release The Garage Hoppers on DVD, and is seeking a distribution deal. Morris believes the film can serve as an impressive calling card to secure funding for future projects, which include a mockumentary about an underground dodgeball league, as well as a non-comedic documentary about two traveling musicians.

“With a cast and crew made up of Chicago locals willing to donate work for free, we were able to come up with our finished product,” Morris said. “We have two feature length scripts in development that will hopefully be funded after investors see our previous work. The goal was to show people: here’s what we can do with $3,000, imagine what we can do with a real budget.”

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