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EU grads shooting for Manteca film
Now lining up locations, investors for 24-day shoot
Ian Trueb, left, and Ricardo Granados are trying to fund an independent feature film about young people leaving and coming back to a small town that wil be set in Manteca. - photo by DENNIS WYATT

Ian Trueb and Ricardo Granados want to make a full-length feature film about coming of age in Manteca.

Trueb, a Los Angeles Film School graduate, owns a fully licensed film company dubbed BackYard Studio Films that has produced everything from music videos to short films. He has hired Rick Hansberry, who has collected screenwriting awards for various films entered in festivals, to write the script for “Setting Sun” based on Trueb’s original draft. He has also retained a professional crew and has started casting for the movie he hopes to start production this summer in Manteca.

He had already lined up much of the cast but still is in need of extras.

The last hurdle he has to cross is to raise additional money from investors - about $200,000 - to conduct the 24-day shoot at various locations around Manteca.

The business model Trueb and Granados have developed follows that of the highly successful independent film “Brick” directed by Rian Johnson that was a hard-boiled detective story produced for $475,000. The 109-minute film released in April of 2006 ended up generating $3.9 million.

The “Brick” was made by Johnson after graduating from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. It opened in two theatres as an independent. Eventually it appeared in other theaters in the United States and England.

Trueb and Granados hope to do the same thing. They indicated they are in initial negotiations with AMC Showplace to debut the film in Manteca.

They anticipate that investors would get most of their $200,000 back with the initial showings. Investors would be reimbursed first and then profits split 50-50.

The two have been making the rounds of area businessmen and others in a bid to secure funding. They also are scouting out locations and are trying to arrange to recreate various venues in Manteca such as the Harvest Festival at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

“Setting Sun” is described by the pair who graduated from East Union High as a combination romance, drama, and comedy based on true events.

Trueb’s synopsis indicates the main character “Alex” feels his life is drifting by. He sees his friends moving up in the world while he is stalled at a crossroads. When he decides to break loose from the protective shell of his parents he finds he must work up the courage to tell the girl he loves how he truly feels. He puts his plan in motion during a short window of time one summer when his friends return home from college for their break.

“A lot of people will be able to relate to the film,” Trueb said.

Granados noted it involves the dynamics of those growing up in a small town who can’t wait to get away as well as those who stay or return.

Granados, who is a California State University at Sacramento graduate in criminal justice, added when he first read the script he quickly identified with the characters and the storyline.

Trueb said they are able to keep costs low even for a high quality independent film since the city doesn’t charge for film permits as many jurisdictions do. At the same time they have been able to secure locations that do not have a cost attached to them. And by making it a contemporary film they don’t have to reduce era specific props such as vehicles or consumer products.

Granados is handling the business end while Trueb is overseeing the artistic portion.