A ticket stub becomes more than just proof you saw a movie this week with the advent of the film “Ghost Phone” at Skyline Cinema in Dillon. For one lucky person, the stub will mean ownership of a spanking-new 5-acre parcel of land in Taos, N.M.
Each ticket sold to “Ghost Phone” across the country between now and Thursday, Dec. 19, will have a unique tracking number on it that will serve as a raffle ticket. On Monday, Dec. 23, the winning ticket will be drawn at random on the Taos Town Plaza by Taos Mayor Darren Cordova and announced online at www.taoslandandfilm.com and through various media outlets. The patron who presents the winning stub gets the land.
“The reason we’re doing this special promotion is, how do you compete with Hollywood studios that are putting out these huge block-busters, which is what we’re limited to as an audience?” said Jeff Jackson, who wore the hats of co-executive producer, writer and director of “Ghost Phone.” “National TV ads, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep — how do we compete with that star power?”
Land and film
Jackson is a self-described oddball and owner of Taos Land & Film Co. His company has been funding films through land development in Taos, N.M., for almost 20 years, the first decade of which Taos Land & Film Co. was also a sponsor of the Taos Talking Picture Film Festival. Each year, the company would give 5 acres of land to the most innovative feature filmmaker of the festival.
The film festival unfortunately went bankrupt 10 years ago, Jackson said, but that didn’t stop his company from continuing its unconventional promotions. The land that will be given away in conjunction with “Ghost Phone” sits atop the mountaintop of Cerro Montoso, home of the Taos Talking Picture Filmmaker’s Colony — the neighborhood of 5-acre plots that were awarded during the film-festival’s heyday.
“The movie is funded literally by the land in Taos,” Jackson said of “Ghost Phone.” “The bank loaned me the money to make the movie secured by the land. All of the post-production has taken place in Taos, but it was shot in L.A.”
Dark romantic comedy
Jackson describes the film as a dark romantic comedy with “Twilight Zone” twists and turns.
A couple living in Los Angeles and engaged to be married has an argument one morning and the soon-to-be bride, Amanda, portrayed by Melissa Ordway, rushes out of the house and forgets her cellphone. The male lead, Will, played by Nelson Franklin (Adam from the CBS TV series “The Millers”), goes about the business of beginning his day, but his fiancée’s phone keeps ringing. When he finally answers it, she’s on the other end of the line, saying she’s been in a car wreck. At that moment, the landline rings and it’s the police telling Will that Amanda has died in a car accident.
Amanda continues to call Will and is soon joined by additional people who keep cutting in from the other side, including Will’s dead father, who believes he was poisoned rather than the heart attack that was determined to be the cause of his death. Will’s mental state deteriorates to the point that he is institutionalized, as no one else can hear the voices at the other end of the line.
“The first draft of the script was written by Gary Walkow, and he was the first land grant winner for that Taos Talking Picture festival,” Jackson said.
Walkow’s involvement connects “Ghost Phone” to the land that is being proffered in conjunction with the film — if you see the movie and you happen to be the lucky land winner, you’ll be rubbing elbows with the original writer in the Filmmaker’s Colony.
But whether it’s the land or the plotline that entices you to see it, Jackson said “Ghost Phone” is worth the price of admission.
“We think it’s a really entertaining movie,” Jackson said. “I don’t think anybody’s going to be disappointed; it’s a really good story.”