Western New Yorkers Click HERE For Local Media Coverage.
Movie Focus Group Reaches Maximum Audience For Test-Screening
The limit of members for the "Nicholas of Myra Movie Focus Group" audience has now been reached and the first three-hundred people that agreed to particpate will soon have an opportunity to see an advanced look at a majority of Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins. In exchange, the exclusive Focus Group audience will be asked to provide individual consumer feedback based on their wide-ranging, global demographic.
After the test-screening process is complete, Writer-Director Gerald Hartke will update the general public on when the next opportunity will be for fans and followers of the film to get an advanced look at it. In the meantime, return here on Friday, November 27th, for a very important announcement regarding efforts to release both Nicholas of Myra films!
Join Movie Focus Group And See Upcoming Test Screening Of "The Legend Begins"
Michael Dentico (Young Nicholas) in a heartfelt scene from the upcoming motion picture Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins.
As was announced earlier this month, a focus group test-screening of Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins has been planned for this Holiday Season in Buffalo NY, in order to get audience feedback on a majority of the film. A private online focus group screening is also planned for people from outside the Buffalo area, as well as for international participants. If you would like to attend the screening or participate in the online screening, you may join the exclusive "Nicholas of Myra Movie Focus Group" on facebook to learn more. Openings for the group are limited to only three hundred people. Writer-Director Gerald Hartke will update the general public on the status of a release, after the test-screenings are complete. Special sneak-peeks from the film are already being shown to focus group members. If you're interested in joining the excitement, use the following link ... http://www.facebook.com/groups/NicholasOfMyraMovieFocusGroup
Audience Test Screening To Be Held In Buffalo NY This Holiday Season
After spending the last year reworking the "Nicholas of Myra" saga into two separate epic films, Writer-Director Gerald Hartke has begun test-screening a majority of the final cut of the first film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins for the producers, production associates and distributors. He is now planning a focus group test-screening in Buffalo NY this Holiday Season to get consumer feedback on a majority of the film. Look for more information in mid November on how you could become part of the focus group audience and get to participate in this exciting event!
Until then, enjoy this newly released scene from the film!
Michael Dentico (Young Nicholas) and Norman Sham (Uncle Nicholas) in a touching scene from the upcoming motion picture Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins.
Give To A Great Cause And Get A FREE Lifetime Subscription!
We are offering another opportunity to join our Premium Network subscribers! Most importantly, you will also have a chance to join a great cause, carrying on St. Nicholas' tradition of selflessness and generosity!
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR A FREE SUBSCRIPTION:
Anyone that makes a donation valued at $25 or more to the Make-A-Wish InternationalFoundation, will automatically be qualified to receive a complimentary Lifetime Subscription to our Premium Online Network! The mission of Make-A-Wish International is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.
Our company not only wants to entertain, but inspire adults and children of all ages to carry on St. Nicholas' spirit of generosity worldwide. During this charitable campaign, Nicholas of Myra, LLC will receive no portion of your donation (100% will go to Make-A-Wish International) that can be pledged directly to their organization at the following link ... WWW.WORLDWISH.ORG.
HOW TO RECEIVE A FREE SUBSCRIPTION:
Once you qualify, all you need to do is submit a scanned-copy or screen-shot image (JPG or PDF) of your proof-of-donation, along with your full name, to NOM.LifetimeSubscriptionOffer@gmail.com. You'll then receive a confirmation e-mail within a few days of your submission that will include all of your subscription information.
Our Premium Online Network is exclusive to subscribers and features video and other media content that will not be seen anywhere else, not even on our YouTube series, "Inside Wonderworker Studios". It is exclusive content that will be focused entirely on the production and release of the two-part, epic, motion picture saga, Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas! All of which, will only be shared through our Premium Online Network (until each film's release) and not with the general public. Only premium subscribers will receive a complimentary Special Edition Digital Gift-box too, featuring Special Edition Nicholas of Myra downloadable movie content. Subscribers will also be granted several opportunities to have behind-the-scenes involvement in any future grassroots campaigns and will get the chance to be an exclusive part of the release of both films!
WHAT PREMIUM SUBSCRIBERS GET:
1. A Lifetime Subscription to all Premium Online Network content -- featuring first-look opportunities at all-new scenes, post-production and visual effects images, teasers, trailers and other previews, as well as revealing behind-the-scenes documentary footage -- all from the epic film Nicholas of Myra -- content that will be seen nowhere else until the film's release is announced.
2. Opportunities to participate in upcoming test-screenings, promotional campaigns and other behind-the-scenes events for Nicholas of Myra.
3. A Nicholas of Myra Special Edition Digital Gift-box, including a digital movie poster, desktop artwork, icons, graphics, soundtrack samples and other one-of-a-kind digital media -- all of which will be exclusive to Premium Online Network subscribers.
4. Free access to future Nicholas of Myra live-streaming events.
5. Prefered subscriber status for any future video-on-demand screenings of Nicholas of Myra the movie or any other related VOD offerings.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR EFFORTS:
Several followers of our work on Nicholas of Myra have been recommending that our independent entertainment company launches a crowd-funding campaign to help with the release of the films. Due to the fact that we already have media products available online, accepting pledges or donations (although currently a popular way to raise funds for independent filmmakers) does not seem appropriate for us at this time. However, if you do want to help support our company's efforts, then here is a real chance to do so this Holiday Season!
We have re-released the first book in our Family Media Series, Nicholas of Myra: The Adventures of Young Nicholas, Part 1 (in both paperback and e-book editions), and is available to order now through Amazon! Obviously, the more financial support our company gets, the faster the films will get released, so please spread the word about our growing Media and Entertainment company, as you celebrate with your family and friends this Holiday Season! We also hope you will become a long-term supporter of our efforts, as we continue to chronicle the life, lore and legacy of Saint Nicholas of Myra -- inspiring generations of believers to carry on the traditions and keep his spirit alive!
ABOUT THE STORIES:
Orphan, saint, immortal … you will believe in him.
It is in troubled times that it becomes most imperative for art to reflect the goodness in the world. With the lack of quality family entertainment that Hollywood has offered in recent years, there is no better time to tell the story of Nicholas. Epic, as well as inspiring, the sweeping tales will not undo the cherished myth that most of us grew up with, but instead, reinforce the hope and kindness it kindled within us as children. The stories leave no doubt that the iconic gift-giver is for real and that he is more of a sacred part of Holiday tradition than most are aware. He is for people of all ages, all cultures and, really, not just those who celebrate Christmas. The origins of many age-old traditions are brought together in these dramatic and layered tales that will make you believe, once and for all... "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." - Francis P. Church
You can find out more about Nicholas of Myra: The Adventures of Young Nicholas Family Media Series by clicking HERE.
And learn much more about the two-part, epic, motion picture saga, Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend BeginsandNicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Continues by clicking HERE.
First Teaser For "The Legend Begins" To Premiere Christmas Eve!
Look for the first official teaser for Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins to premiere online this Christmas Eve! The :30 teaser-trailer marks the first promo created for the newly reconfigured two-part epic saga. Including never-before-seen footage from the film, the teaser also features the wonderful voice-over talent of actor Vincent O'Neill, who portrays Clement Clark Moore in the film.
"I had this teaser concept in my mind since I started the project," said Writer-Director Gerald Hartke. "I originally intended it to be the first look that the audience would get at the film, but things unfolded a bit differently then planned. It's rewarding to have everything come full-cirle now." Hartke hopes that people can get as much enjoyment out of the new teaser as they would have if it had been their first look. "Even though it's only a few seconds long," he added, "I think the audience will get a pretty magical feel from it -- especially those who are just learning about the movies this Holiday Season and may not have seen any of our previous promos that we released in the past."
The teaser-trailer for Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins will be available for viewing on our YouTube channel, Nicholas of Myra Media & Entertainment, by 12 o'clock noon (EST), December 24th!
Director To Unveil Two New Sneak-Peeks At "The Legend Begins"
Sometime after New Year's, Writer-Director Gerald Hartke will unveil two never-before-seen clips from Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins. The first new clip will be available to view here, on our website, as well as on our official Facebook and YouTube pages -- while that same clip and an additonal bonus clip (for our online subscribers) will also be available that same day on the Premium Network page!
As soon as the new clips are online and ready to view, an announcment will be made here and on our Facebook page!
"For over fifteen-hundred years he has endured ... and shall continue to do so, as long as their are those who believe in him. I intend to help him endure ... and for all the right reasons." - Andrew Livingston (Saul Elkin) in a scene from the upcoming motion picture Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins.
New Opportunity To Claim FREE Lifetime Subscription For Premium Network
For supporters of Nicholas of Myra, LLC media and entertainment that qualified for a complimentary Lifetime Subscription by October 15th, a new opportunity to claim your subscription has arrived! Starting today, you may send a JPEG image of each proof-of-purchase/receipt from Amazon (dated before October 15th) for The Adventures of Young Nicholas, Part 1paperback and The Adventures of Young Nicholas, A Musical Journey MP3 album, along with your full name and contact information to "NOM.LifetimeSubscriptionOffer@gmail.com" and you will receive confirmation response within a week of your submission. The response e-mail will provide you with your Lifetime Subscription access, including a link to your downloadable Digital Gift-box!
If you missed the chance to qualify for a subscription prior to October 15th, and would like another chance to do so, make sure to return here on Monday, January 5th, to learn more!
Happy Feast Of Saint Nicholas 2014!
As a follow up to our announcement earlier this Fall, we are excited to inform you that the first assembly of our feature film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins is going to begin test screening for our industry associates before this Christmas! We hope that, based on the private screenings, a final plan will emerge this winter to reach a final cut of the film and its sequel, Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Continues, and release both films to the public over the next two Holiday Seasons! We will keep you informed along the way and look forward to the moment when we can announce targeted release dates for the epic saga!
"I merely place the children's needs before my own, as I am certain you would do with your own children ... at all costs." - Bishop Nicholas of Myra (Matthew Mesler) in a scene from the epic motion picture Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins.
Look for another update in a couple days regarding an upcoming special sneak-peek at the first film, as well as another opportunity to become a Lifetime Subscriber to our Premium Online Network!
"Nicholas of Myra" Feature To Be Released As Two-Part Epic Saga!
For some time, people have been inquiring about the status of the movie, Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas. We can finally share some exciting news about the future of the film.
In 2011 and 2012, as we were preparing to launch a crowd-sourcing campaign online to possibly finance and self-distribute the film, we came into contact with a few people in the entertainment industry that were interested in the project and wanted to help us get the film released in the standard studio manner. Since then, we've been working our way through a lot of obstacles that are inherent with independent films -- perceived issues that the industry has always had when it comes to films produced outside of the studio system. These are traditionally closed-minded ideas, such as insisting you must have recognizable/name actors in your film in order to have a chance at theatrical distribution, or that the scope of the film required many more millions of dollars than we wanted to spend. Those are just a couple examples of the complex hurdles we've faced.
Even though the fact was made clear from the beginning that we intended to keep the film a grassroots effort, it was eventually revealed that people in the industry would continue to try to turn our labor of love into a studio-formulated production. Attempting to force the re-casting and re-shooting of roles in the film with name actors based solely on their foreign pre-sales potential, etc., is just some of the industry related business speak that most of you likely would not want to hear about. So, with the integrity of this inspirational story at stake -- both in front of the camera and behind it -- we forged ahead in an effort to change industry perceptions about our film and the independent film world in general. By starting to expand the production into a multimedia and entertainment franchise over the last couple years, we took some major steps in meeting these industry challenges. With the development of our family media series, The Adventures of Young Nicholas, we demonstrated to our new associates that this inspirational story had the potential to become an entertainment brand that didn't have to be based on comic-books, Science-Fiction or horror.
Although some of the debate between industry and independent thinking is not yet over, we have finally overcome probably the biggest obstacle of them all -- the idea that you can't release an independent film over two hours long. Writer-Director Gerald Hartke felt strongly that he did not want to chop-away at the story and felt it would be a disservice to the audience. At what would be three hours and twenty minutes in length, the film was admittedly going to push the limits of what's been seen on the big-screen, but wouldn't be unprecedented. Regardless, a decision had to be made once and for all ... and maybe a tiny bit of compromise to ensure the story's integrity.
After consulting with our partners, the director decided that he would split the film into two separate parts, eliminating any need to cut away at the story, as well as providing an answer for distributors regarding a theatrical runtime. The two films will now be titled Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Begins followed by Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas -- The Legend Continues ... each with a runtime just under two hours.
The most important aspect of this decision is that it will in no way compromise the story for you, the audience, but only enhance this long-awaited entertainment experience. The story will now be treated as an epic saga, stretching across two event films over two consecutive Holiday Seasons and providing that much more enjoyment for you and your family. Director Gerald Hartke and Producer Paul Margenhagen have been hard at work re-organizing things in order to present an extensive look at the first film to our industry associates this December!
Look for several exciting updates and news stories to follow, during the upcoming Holiday Season!
Happy Eve of Saint Nicholas' Feast Day 2013!
We thank you for your continued interest in Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas over the many years of development, production and evolution. On this eve of Saint Nicholas Day 2013, we are happy to bring you several updates and developments from the past year, our first year of expansion as a family entertainment and transmedia franchise. A lot has happened this year.
Cover art and sample page from the trade paperback release of The Adventures of Young Nicholas, Part I.
Our first transmedia release, The Adventures of Young Nicholas, Part 1 was released as both a trade paperback and Kindle e-book. The book was then followed by the release of the Limited Edition CD album The Adventures of Young Nicholas, A Musical Journey in late July. Composed by Seth Stachowski, the album was created as a companion to the book series, as well as a stand-alone part of The Adventures of Young Nicholas Family Media Series. A standard MP3 edition of the album was then released in September and is now available for download here at the Amazon MP3 store. However, only 500 limited copies of the CD edition were originally offered for sale when it was announced on our official Facebook page in late July. As of now, the remaining copies will only be available to order online until December 6th (The Feast of Saint Nicholas) at midnight. So, if you don't already have one, or you want to give the collectible CD as a gift this Holiday Season, there is only limited time to order copies at this link,
before it's too late.
For those of you that have not frequented the official Facebook page at facebook.com/NicholasOfMyraMovie, please make effort to do so thoughout the coming year, in order to be kept apprised of all future announcements and releases. In the meantime, the books and the MP3 album will continue to be available online, exclusively through Amazon. As part of the evolution of the transmedia company, Nicholas of Myra, LLC is producing The Adventures of Young Nicholas Family Media Series as a prelude to the live-action film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas. All plans for the release of the live-action film are still underwraps. However, these days, a great deal of information is finally being shared about the production and other related projects on Inside Wonderworker Studios, the revealing new behind-the-scenes show that premiered in October on the recently launched Nicholas of Myra Entertainment channel at youtube.com/NicholasOfMyraOnline.
A recent episode of Inside Wonderworker Studios. Watch this and more episodes in HD on our YouTube channel!
With parts two and three of The Adventures of Young Nicholas books and other transmedia products from the series, new episodes of Inside Wonderworker Studios, the live-action epic motion picture Nicholas of Myra and much more on the way, please continue supporting Nicholas of Myra, LLCs efforts to produce inspirational family entertainment, chronicling the life, lore and legacy of Saint Nicholas of Myra! With enough support, the annual Holiday Season will certainly be an exciting time for great, family-friendly entertainment for many years to come!
Today, in honor of Saint Nicolas, we bring you some exciting news regarding the future of Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas.
After last season's successful social networking campaign to grow the fan base for the film, the company behind the production, Nicholas of Myra, LLC, was presented with an exciting proposition on a global scale. The past year has been spent working out the details (much of which cannot be disclosed just yet) that will turn, what was just one movie, into what will be a worldwide, multi-platform, media and entertainment franchise. The goal is to deliver inspiring, family entertainment for years to come, by building a long term relationship with our broad, family and spiritual oriented audience.
This Christmas, is the beginning of it all! Although, details surrounding the release of the movie, Nicholas of Myra, cannot be mentioned now, we are happy to announce that our first release, under this broader creative concept, is a children's book series titled 'The Adventures of Young Nicholas' -- a prelude to the film. The title is planned as a six-part book series for kids that will tie into the movie. 'Part 1' is poised to be released, as a paperback in mid-December, and as an e-book within days of this update. The paperback and e-book (Kindle) will be available for purchase and download online at Amazon.com.
Producers Launch International Partnership Campaign For Saint Nicholas Epic
Spearheaded by Director of Marketing and Communications, Dan Argenas, the producers of Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas have launched a campaign to establish a limited number of mutually beneficial partnerships with various companies worldwide. "We are looking to work with a select number of organizations from around the world that believe in the message that we're trying to convey with this movie," said the film's Producer & Director Gerald Hartke. "We want them to recognize the vast benefits of bringing this unique film to a global audience."
Executive Producer Thomas Mallare sees some great opportunities for potential partnerships that can really make a positive impact on people's lives. "Not only is this film building into an entertainment event, it has profoundly changed the lives of so many of the people that have been working on it from the beginning," stated Mallare. "Based on that and the inspiring feedback we've been receiving from the film's growing fan base around the world, it's quite clear that this project will become more than just another movie for a lot of people."
Click here to view the new promo for the Nicholas of Myra Film Partnership Program, featuring some never-before-seen footage.
For information on how your company or organization may become a partner in the film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas, please send your e-mail request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Industry Renowned Illustrator Joins Nicholas Of Myra Creative Team
In 1994, at the age of 23, Tony Mauro left his hometown of Buffalo, NY to pursue his dream of working in the movie business as an illustrator. Since that time, he's realized his dream… and then some.
Now, having returned home to Buffalo as an accomplished artist, he will take on a new and inspiring challenge as Graphic Illustrator for the independent feature film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas. After graduating from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1991 with a degree in visual communications and a major in airbrush art, Mauro spent six years as an airbrush illustrator, eventually and inevitably crossing over into the world of computer illustration.
"Which I fought as much as possible," said Mauro. "Like most traditional illustrators did." He landed in California in November of '94 and began working in the entertainment industry as an illustrator and designer with a studio in Santa Monica. It was there that Tony refined his computer skills and began developing the style he uses today.
For over two and a half years, Tony worked almost exclusively on designing the posters, calendars, book covers, and video box covers for the hit TV show The X-Files. Commercially, Mauro has spent the last 12 years designing movie posters for every major film studio in Hollywood. A few of the campaigns he is credited for designing include Pirates of the Caribbean, The Chronicles of Narnia,M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Village, The Pink Panther, Friday Night Lights, The Hulk, Ladder 49 and Déjà vu starring Denzel Washington.
Mauro’s work also graces numerous video game box covers such as Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance, Medal of Honor, Brothers in Arms, Diablo, WarCraft 2, Clive Barker’s Undying and most recently Spiderman: Friend or Foe. In 2006, he moved back to his hometown of Buffalo to focus more time on his fantasy art, while still freelancing in the entertainment industry. Since returning, Tony has also crossed over into the world of publishing by designing over 200 book covers for such best-selling authors as Stephen King, Glenn Beck, John Connolly, Thomas Harris, Yasmine Galenorn and Eric Van Lustbader.
"I had informed our Marketing and Communications Director, Dan Argenas, that a renowned illustrator was living and working in my hometown of Buffalo," stated Jerry Hartke, Writer and Director of Nicholas of Myra. "Dan quickly reviewed Tony’s body of work and knew immediately that he was the perfect choice to create the graphic art for Nicholas of Myra." Mauro’s dynamic illustrations and poster work showed the insight and authenticity that Argenas knew was needed to portray Hartke’s vision of St. Nicholas of Myra.
"Tony got the basis and direction of the film's story the very first time we sat down together to discuss the project," said Hartke. "He understood it was going to be a change of pace from the darker art he had been creating in his recent fantasy work, but that we still wanted to convey the many layers of drama to our story. He'll be designing and illustrating all of our poster and cover art for the film. I can't wait to see what he comes up with." Hartke clearly feels fortunate to have Mauro’s involvement in the film. "Tony’s also a fellow Buffalonian!" added the director. "He’s a local success story and I’m honored to have him as a part of our creative team." "I am very excited to be a part of this amazing and talented Buffalo team," stated Mauro. "And, to be the first film group to tell the epic tale of St. Nicholas, we have a daunting task ahead of us. We are charged with creating the images that will endure beyond the film and be a part of people’s memories for years to come.
I am really stoked as we begin to create images that children and adults who love St. Nicholas will share forever."
Independent Film Director Welcomes Working Relationship With Sony
Director Gerald Hartke on location in the Allegany National Forest for the film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas.
For Gerald Hartke, the Writer and Director of Nicholas of Myra, the advent of Sony digital motion picture technology was the culmination of years spent working with analog video cameras and recorders to create his early production work. "Back in the 90's when I was working as an event videographer and filmmaking hobbyist, I had heard some talk that Sony was committed to developing digital high-definition video cameras to be used by George Lucas on his new Star Wars films," said Hartke. "Not only was that achieved, they also acquired the groundbreaking Vegas video software platform and have since developed it into a professional non-linear editing application." Now that technology is well into the digital age, Hartke says he really can't think of another company that has impacted digital filmmaking as much as Sony, adding, "From shooting in HD to editing with Vegas Pro, we've been utilizing Sony technology on our production from day one." Hartke's appreciation goes deeper than an affinity for digital media over traditional film. "If it weren't for Sony pushing the envelope with digital cinema for movies like Star Wars: Episode II nearly a decade ago, I probably would never have gotten the chance to make Nicholas of Myra."
Developed to give his digitally photographed Nicholas of Myra the look of traditional film epics, Director Gerald Hartke's HDMAX image process is achieved using Sony Vegas Pro software.
Nicholas of Myra Executive Producer Thomas Mallare and Marketing Communications Director Dan Argenas both felt that a mutually beneficial opportunity had presented itself for the project and for Sony. "Based on Jerry's innovative and nearly exclusive use of their technology on our film, Dan suggested we approach Sony and try to work together with them," said Mallare. Michael Bryant, Director of Product Marketing for Sony Creative Software, agreed that this is a unique opportunity for his company. "We were extremely excited to hear about the production of the film Nicholas of Myra," said Bryant. "We see this film as an inspiration and a bellwether opportunity for Sony." Encouraged by Bryant's enthusiasm for the project, the film's star, Matthew Melser, had this to say, "I'm confident I can speak for everyone in the cast and crew by stating that we hope the relationship between Nicholas of Myra and Sony continues to grow and develop throughout the rest of the filmmaking process."
Nicholas of Myra, LLC Selects Worldwide Marketing & Communications Director
Nicholas of Myra, LLC has selected Dan Argenas, President and Principal of EDI Marcom, Inc. to become the worldwide Director of Marketing & Communications for the film Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas. “We are extremely excited to have someone with Dan’s experience and talent on board," states Gerald Hartke, Producer and Director of the film. "Dan's energy and excitement for our project is evident whenever he speaks about the film. He will be creating public and investor relations programs as well as developing partnerships with established companies that will help us deliver our film and create the industry buzz needed for the project."
With a 25 year marketing communications pedigree that includes public relations, strategic marketing, as well as extensive advertising and promotional experience for agencies as a Vice-President of Marketing & Communications, Argenas brings a large number of solid relationships in the professional video hardware and software industry to the table. For the last nine years, he has been working as an EDI Marcom consultant, focusing mainly on the professional video, film and entertainment industries. Since 1997, he has worked directly with the Wedding & Event Videographers Association; the world’s largest trade association for professional videographers, and with industry leaders the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Canon, JVC, Adobe, Grass Valley and Apple helping to develop innovations that took videography and editing from clunky VCR tape-driven cams to the sleek and sophisticated digital & DSLR technology that the television, sports and film industries have embraced today. In recent years, Argenas has developed projects for the marketing divisions of Universal Studios, City Walk, Disney and assisted with Hard Rock’s 25th Anniversary promotional campaign. He also is involved in supporting emerging digital production professionals by working with schools like Full Sail University in Orlando Florida to help mold the next great videographer/producer/filmmaker.
“I was blown away when I was first introduced to the Nicholas of Myra project," said Argenas. "It still amazes me that Jerry and his team are the first group to bring this important historical and magical story to the screen. The story of the life of this real man, St Nicholas, will completely change the way we and our children think of Santa Claus and the meaning of the holiday….the myth will now become fact…and transcend both secular and non-secular audiences while enhancing the Santa Claus we know today.” Argenas goes on to say, “The entire Nicholas of Myra team impresses me daily with their professionalism and raw talent when it comes to the making of this film. These are not studio seasoned pros and veteran actors…they are, for the most part, everyday people who had a dream to bring his story to the world with a burning passion to make this film an informative and entertaining story. Jerry's innovative use of digital cinema technology has delivered film content with quality far exceeding any previous independent production of this scope and expense to date. I am proud to be a part of this important and historic event!”
EXCLUSIVE: Opening Scene Now Showing
The opening scene of Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas is now available for viewing on the media page. Set in New York in December of 1822, the scene unfolds as Dr. Clement Moore has arrived at the St. Nicholas Orphanage to meet the proprietor, Mr. Andrew Livingston. It is the eve of St. Nicholas' Feast Day and Moore peers curiously through the doorway of a room where he finds Livingston immersed in a moment with the orphan children. The two minute clip features the talented performances of stage veterans Vincent O'Neill as Moore and Saul Elkin as Livingston, as well as a solid cast of child performers, all appearing for their first time on screen.
The Quick Time movie clip is available here for streaming and download in multiple screen resolutions, including HD 1080p.
Nicholas of Myra Website Gets New Look As Director Prepares Fans For Exciting Updates
With a new look and some exciting updates to come, the official Nicholas of Myra motion picture website was re-launched today. "Aside from giving the site some new polish, we also wanted to make it a bit more user-friendly," said the film's director, Gerald Hartke. "The greatest example of which would be the site navigation menu that is now accessible to visitors on every menu page."
According to Hartke, more advances are on the way for fans of the film, including direct tie-ins with Facebook and Twitter, as well as a new director's blog that will keep them informed of the film's progress on a weekly basis. "We want fans to know how much we appreciate their enthusiasm," added Hartke. "So we've decided to take steps to demonstrate that fact by giving them more of a window into the process of making the movie -- right through to the premiere."
Fans of the film, make sure to return here next week as the first in a series of exciting new updates is announced.
Digital Filmmaking Innovations Help Director Bring Story Of Saint Nicholas To Life
From cost effective digital cameras to the proprietary HDMAX image process developed specifically for Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas, modern digital technology provides innovative filmmakers the tools to create high-concept films independent of the Hollywood studio system. "We've shot our entire film on high definition digital tape," said Nicholas of Myra creator and director, Gerald Hartke. "Utilizing the HDMAX shooting process that I began developing in 2005, we've been able to achieve a rich, eye-catching look that will be indistinguishable from traditional film to the general audience."
Director Gerald Hartke's proprietary HDMAX shooting process was developed to give his digitally photographed motion picture the look of traditional epic films, as demonstrated in this actual still frame from Nicholas of Myra. To view the image full screen, click here.
"Like many industries in America right now, the motion picture industry is trying to be more cost conscious," stated Hartke. Yet, according to him, many independent filmmakers do not realize the capabilities of the digital tools that are already available to them. "The fact is, the technology we are using on Nicholas of Myra is affordable to most filmmakers. I think all of them would agree that the less resources you spend on technology, the more you can spend on story and creativity."
While a passenger on a merchant vessel at sea, young Nicholas (Michael Dentico) battles a raging storm in an effort to reach the lost crew in a scene from Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas.
As the creator of an independently financed epic film, Hartke hopes that more artists will aim high conceptually while trying to get the most production value out of their budgets. He feels that the industry as a whole will benefit. "I've heard from a lot of people who use to go to the movies on a regular basis," he said. "As far as entertainment value goes, many of them felt as though they weren't getting what they payed for anymore with the price of admission." However, Hartke says that the overall historic box-office performance of 2009 proved that people will still go to the movies when it's worth it, adding, "Whether you spend two hundred million dollars to make a movie, or just a couple million, you need to give the audience their money's worth. With Nicholas of Myra, we aim to give the audience even more than they're expecting."
Gatlinburg Santa Festival Gets Sneak-Peek At Epic Nicholas Of Myra
On Sunday, March 14th, Celebrate Santa Festival organizers presented an "Evening with Nicholas of Myra" at the River Terrace convention center in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The purpose of the two hour event was to have an in-depth behind-the-scenes discussion about the film with writer/director Gerald Hartke, as well as to give attendees a sneak-peek at nearly fifteen minutes of never-before-seen footage.
Writer/Director Gerald Hartke discusses his film Nicholas of Myra with attendees of the Celebrate Santa Festival in Gatlinburg.
"When I heard people talking about the film," said Jay Rumple, coordinator of the night's event, "I thought why not just contact Jerry and see if he'd be interested in coming to the festival." Rumple took the initiative and made the phone call. Hartke was more than flattered. "I've been using a phrase quite a bit lately when I talk about how this all happened," he said. "And I'll say it again, absolutely, I was honored. For some time I've wanted an opportunity to let the people in organizations like Celebrate Santa know our intentions with the film. And that not one of them is to undo the magic of Santa Claus."
Saint Nicholas historians and devotees listen to Director Hartke talk about how the epic story was first conceived in December of 2001.
Hartke was then asked to preview some of the movie at the Celebrate Santa Festival. "I was a little concerned because the film is not going to be what most people expect to see in a movie about Santa Claus," he said. "Without seeing the whole film, it'll be hard to understand how it all fits into the mythos." Although it's an historical film, Hartke insists that the magic of Santa Claus is woven throughout the story. "I finally decided to show the group seven scenes from different parts of the film that I felt conveyed that magic," said Hartke. "The reception was very positive. The only thing that seemed to disappoint them was that they didn't get to see more."
The director signs posters for excited fans following his presentation.
The presentation was followed by a question and answer session where individuals got a chance to ask the tough questions of the Director. "They didn't pull any punches," stated Hartke. "And that was good. I didn't want them walking away with any doubts about the validity of the film." One question he had for the Claus's was also answered. "I asked one of them... why do you hold a Santa Claus convention in March?" Hartke then felt a little embarrassed after finding out that the answer was an obvious one. "Acting as if my question had been rhetorical, Santa politely informed me that he is extremely busy from November 1st through December 24th... I guess that's one answer I should've known! Right?!"
Director And Star Honored At Santa Claus Convention In Smokey Mountains Of Tennessee
Although it was nearly Saint Patrick's Day on Saturday, March 13th, it was hundreds of Saint Nicholas's that took center stage in Gatlinburg, Tennessee that afternoon. As a kickoff event to the the 2nd Annual Celebrate Santa Festival, the Holly and Shamrock parade featured honored guests Gerald Hartke and Matthew Mesler, director and star of Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas, as Grand Marshals.
Nicholas of Myra director Gerald Hartke and star Matthew Mesler were honored guests in Gatlinburg, Tennessee as Grand Marshals of the city's annual Holly and Shamrock parade on March 13th.
"Matt and I were thrilled to be invited and to participate in the festival," said Hartke. Also hosted by the city of Gatlinburg, the three day long Celebrate Santa Festival ran March 14th - 16th. The convention of Claus's offered Hartke the opportunity to speak to the men and women who have devoted their lives to the iconic saint. "We gave them a little sneak-peek at the movie and I got to explain a lot about our intentions with the film," stated Hartke. "These guys are certain to be our harshest critics. So if they're already this excited about the movie, then I'm hoping it's going to be something very special to many people across the country and around the world."
Hundreds of Santa Claus's from all over the United States participated in the Holly and Shamrock parade, part of the 2nd Annual Celebrate Santa Festival and Convention in Gatlinburg.
During the parade, rainy weather couldn't dampen the spirit of Saint Nicholas as thousands of spectators lined the streets.
To view the Charter Media regional television promo for Gatlinburg's Celebrate Santa Festival, click here (Windows Media player required).
Nicholas Of Myra Movie Attempts To Break Boundaries For Independent Films
Shot entirely in the United States, specifically within a two-hundred mile radius of Western New York, the epic Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas has been often promoted as an independent film of unprecedented scope. The three hour and twenty minute, wide-screen, motion picture drama is attempting to tell the never-before-told life story of one of the most recognizable icons in the world. As far as bold, creative ventures go, the high-concept production is as audacious as they come. From the shores of the Mediterannean to the heart of the Middle East, from the late Third Century A.D. to 1822, the production value of Nicholas of Myra has the potential to erase the line between Hollywood and Independent films.
As a teenage boy, young Nicholas (Michael Dentico) sails across the Mediterranean on a fateful journey to Alexandria, Egypt in a scene from Nicholas of Myra: The Story of Saint Nicholas.
"What we set out to do when the project began in 2006," stated the film's Writer/Director Gerald Hartke, "was to create something extraordinary with the purpose of inspiring the audience -- as they seldom expect to be these days by contemporary Hollywood fare." Hartke insists that recent Box Office successes like Avatar have proven that movie theatres are not in a decline, but that they have simply lacked quality entertainment for audiences to get excited over. "Nicholas of Myra is certainly one of those films that people around the world are already hyping," said Hartke. "Now we have to deliver. We are pursuing all avenues to get this film to the audience that has been waiting patiently."
Nicholas accompanies a caravan into Palestine in this shot, one of more than three hundred visual effects being created for the film.
With harsh Western New York weather forcing production indoors since last October, Hartke and Visual Effects Supervisor Paul Mergenhagen have been working steadily to complete more than three hundred visual effects shots for the film. "This is not a special effects driven film by any means, but in order to transform Western New York into Third and Fourth Century Asia Minor for nearly three hours of the film's total running time, it obviously requires some serious movie magic." Utilizing modern digital, as well as traditional optical, effects techniques, plus a little ingenuity, Hartke and Mergenhagen are pushing the boundaries of what's to be expected from a motion picture that costs ten to twenty times less than the typical period film produced by larger studios. "The story is the most important element of the overall picture," said Hartke. "But the visual effects allow us to create a believable world to tell the story in. If it weren't for present-day digital technology, this film would have easily cost tens of millions to produce."
Mesler And Hartke To Be Grand Marshals At Upcoming "Celebrate Santa Festival" Parade
Plans are now underway to showcase the film Nicholas of Myra in the Holly & Shamrock parade of the "Celebrate Santa Festival" in Gatlinburg, Tennessee next March. The film's star Matthew Mesler and Director Gerald Hartke have been honored with an invitation to be Grand Marshals for the festivities, and both will appear on a Nicholas of Myra themed float. Last March the parade drew over 20,000 spectators on a Tuesday afternoon. Next year's parade will be moved to Saturday with attendance expected to be much higher (estimated at 60,000 to 75,000) due to weekend scheduling, increased advertising, and cross promotion with the film. After learning of the cooperative efforts between the festival and Nicholas of Myra, the City of Gatlinburg informed festival organizers that the city would "pull out all the stops" in promoting this special event.