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A Lesson in ‘Blinded’ Faith

Color-Blinded (Written, Produced and Directed by Mark Pirro. Associate Produced by Jim Rainey and Ron Curtiss. B&W. About 93 minutes.)

As any good filmmaker will attest, the key to producing something of merit is to make sure you really have a story to tell. The ability to make the jump from having a good idea to putting that idea on screen is what separates the genius from the amateur.

For financial reasons, however, many young filmmakers find it next to impossible to make a suitable picture to show prospective agents, writers etc. Even though good writing can go a long way, the lack of proper sets, suitable lighting and competent talent can make putting a project together pure hell.

Imagine then, a film director who has been around the proverbial block a few times; made a good chunk of change and has now gone back to the basic in hopes of finding new and better ways to make movies for next to nothing.

This is exactly what filmmaker Mark Pirro is all about. After making several profitable, straight-to-tape “B” films (including “Curse of the Queerwolf” and “Death Row Gameshow”), Pirro decided to make a film on the smallest of budgets: Less than $500 to be exact.

“Color Blinded” was shot over 26 days on Sony Hi8 tape for a production total of $428.53. The feature runs a full 90+ minutes and (gasp!) actually has an interesting story and creative characters!

How can this be you ask? Well, simple and not so simple. While the feature did cost under $500, Pirro did his editing work by computer–which ups the cost by several thousand dollars. However, assuming one is bent on being a filmmaker, said equipment will presumably be used on several projects. And if not…how many people can claim to have edited a feature length film on a home computer?

Through some creative use of his Adobe Premiere software package, Pirro turns his glossy camcorder flick into a widescreen, black and white picture that looks far more like film stock than Hi8 videotape.

From the technical side, Pirro’s project is compelling and interesting. However, if there wasn’t a story to back it up, it would be little more than educational. Fortunately, such is not the case.

Though not nearly as outrageous as some of his earlier work, “Color Blinded” offers a number of laughs and a thought-provoking story to keep audiences interested. At its heart is the story of Melanie (Luella Hill) and her best friend Tess (Verda Bridges)–two African American women who come to believe that all men prefer white women.

As fate would have it, however, Melanie is involved with a white man (Luke Vitale). Her worst fears come true however when a series of strange events leave her white and very Barbie-like.

Now, as a white woman, Melanie sees firsthand the way her so-called boyfriend reacts to women of the lighter persuasion. If all this sounds a bit heavy for your tastes, fear not. While some of the content is certainly thought provoking, the film takes a very light approach to the subjects and is well cast for such an endeavor.

Though the laughs aren’t as gut busting as “A Polish Vampire in Burbank,” “Color Blinded” is quite watchable and entertaining. It is only after the credits roll that one can really ponder the economic measures used to put such a good-looking film together. It is a credit to Pirro’s talent and a glowing monument to the notion that anyone with a good idea and a will to accomplish it, simply can. It was also nice to see veteran Pirro actor (and full-time Universal Studios Guest Relations specialist) Jim Bruce back in action.

Pirromount Pictures–PO Box 7520 Van Nuys, CA 91405 (http://www.pirromount.com

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Mark Pirro is the Owner of Pirromount Studios.