Black Ruby is the first feature film to be shot with the iPhone 7. A movie that is a rare actor’s piece, a throwback film that feels retro and dark at times, but other moments pure laughter. It’s an unexpected formula that is emotional, funny and impressive. Coming from executive producer Monica Esmeralda Leon (of the independent film studio Ave Fenix Pictures) and starring Zachary Laoutides, Joseph Mennella, and Krystal E. Hereida, this is sure to be one of the most talked-about films of the year.
Zachary Laoutides, Joseph Mennella, and Krystal E. Hereida Headline the Talented Cast
The movie follows two characters, Jules and Louis, hustlers and jazz musicians. Jules is an ex-boxer, now turned engaged furniture salesman who seems to have a pretty good life. However, fame is his sole motivation as he attempts to leverage his father’s last name (a famous Jazz singer) to launch an album he has no real talent or voice for. This is where Jules’ buddy Louis comes in. Rebellious and heavily medicated, he is the true poet and the true musician. Jules uses Louis to achieve his self-believed destiny, however that becomes complicated when they find a ‘Ruby in the rough.’ A double meaning behind the movies title ‘Black Ruby.’
An African-Hispanic escort played by Krystal E. Hereida perverts their friendship and turns Jules selfish plan ultimately against him making Louis street-fight his pal’s debts away. Joseph Mennella teams up with Zachary Laoutides, his former co-star from Adios Vaya Con Dios, this time playing the timeless and distinctive character Jules. “On the surface, he’s trying to achieve a music career and a new life for himself, but I believe his true want inside himself is peace. He’s trying to heal the wounds and be at peace with his past, that includes a neglectful father and a failed boxing career, which again is why he indulges in food, sex, and alcohol,” Mennella enlightened.
The First Feature Film Shot with an iPhone 7 – Why?
But why the challenge… How can the iPhone 7 go head-to-head with Hollywood sized films? Producer and actor (playing the pimp Vic) Marius Iliescu explained the approach of Ave Fenix Pictures, “Personally, I don’t see Ave Fenix Pictures in a competition with Hollywood. It’s like comparing coconuts with cantaloupes, they might look the same in size and shape but the taste cannot be compared; they are totally different products of nature’s business. As independent filmmakers, our only way to succeed is to be constantly on the edge; create content that matters and getting communities involved for the sake of change not puerile vanity”.
Zachary Laoutides, who has been carving out a career writing screenplays (the screenplay writer for Black Ruby) and playing nominated character pieces agrees, “A lot of people really liked the script, but Joseph and I would have never been casted for the parts — I would never be able to get the soundtrack I wanted (Joel Oberg and UK composer Liam Williams). There was a complexity to the film I wanted to show with a blend of genres. It’s one of those films that we had to make on are own and it’s one of those films that are really putting Ave Fenix Pictures on the cusp of being a distinct voice.”
We asked executive producer and owner of Ave Fenix Pictures Monica Esmeralda Leon what she was hoping Black Ruby would achieve in comparison with Ave Fenix Pictures’ other films:
“All of our films are different and I believe this film shows diversity. We go from a story set in the rough neighborhoods of Chicago, to the paranormal and now to drama. I want to think we can dive into any genre because I believe we have a team that’s purely creative and we stand strong on that talent. Although it hasn’t been easy we’ve been able to turn our visualizations into reality.”
With such a powerful cast behind such an innovative movie, expect to hear plenty more good reviews of Black Ruby, which is slated to be released on January 16th, 2018.