Thursday, June 10, 2010

'Judas Kiss' Producers Learned Many Lessons From Star Trek

It's almost impossible to dismiss online productions such as "Star Trek: Phase II" and "Star Trek: Hidden Frontiers" as simply fan productions, winning accolades for their work with minimal budgets and even some believe inspiring a reboot of the Star Trek franchise.

You won't see J.T. Tepnapa nor Carlos Pedraza discounting those productions at all. In fact, the two -- who are set to begin filming on the indie feature "Judas Kiss" in August -- tell Alpha Waves Radio that there's no telling what the two would be doing right now if it weren't for Star Trek and the Internet.

"It provided me free training," said Tepnapa, the director of "Judas Kiss." "I got to produce and got to direct on these projects for 10 years. I just love that, and I am very lucky. It has been a springboard to do my own projects, and I'm sure Carlos feels the same way about it."

The two have been working on "Judas Kiss" for the last four years, after extensive work in the fan world. Tepnapa not only worked behind the cameras on both series, he actually appeared as Hikaru Sulu in later episodes of "Phase II."

Pedraza has been a producer, and even worked with famed "Trouble With Tribbles" scribe David Gerrold to adapt his "Blood and Fire" screenplay meant for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in the late 1980s to "Phase II," which featured themes relevant to the ongoing AIDS epidemic, while giving the gay community some exposure in the Star Trek world it has rarely received otherwise.

The idea to do "Judas Kiss" was something Tepnapa and Pedraza had contemplated for some time, and finally having a chance to put the film in front of cameras this summer is the culmination of a lot of hard work in casting, fundraising and more.

"Imagine you're a person who has royally screwed up your life, a talented guy who showed a lot of promise when you were young, but pretty much let it go to your head," Pedraza said, describing the "Judas Kiss" plot. "Now it's 15 or 20 years later, and you're washed up, and not where you wanted to be."

But luckily, the space-time continuum is looking fondly at this character, and thanks to a confluence of space, time and another dimension, there is a chance to redo that life.

"We call it sort of 'Sliding Doors' meets 'A Christmas Carol,'" Pedraza said. "We get to see visions of his past, visions of his future, and find a way to change his present to keep a troubling future from coming to pass."

"Judas Kiss" boasts an impressive cast, including Richard Harmon of "Caprica" fame playing Danny Reyes. Also taking to the screen are Charlie David, Timo Descamps, Sharon Savene and Brent Corrigan.

All the work the two have done in fan productions will hopefully pay off for the two as filming begins and the search for a distributor -- something that is very difficult in the indie film business -- continues.

"As a writer, in the past seven years, I've gotten to the point where I can say that I have almost a dozen and a half scripts produced that i have written, and there are writers who go through their whole lives who don't have that," Pedraza said. "Sure, a lot of them were short episodes of a Web series. But the point is, it's practice. It's a chance to see something through from concept through production and getting feedback from fans."

And not just feedback from any fans. We're talking Trekkies here.

"They are critical, but when push comes to shove, they are the best fans," Tepnapa said.

Hear the complete interview with J.T. Tepnapa and Carlos Pedraza June 10 beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Alpha Waves Radio, hosted by BlogTalkRadio.

Then stay tuned after the show for Alpha Waves Rewind, the live call-in show that will not only feature your phone calls, but also the revealing of the final nominees for the 2010 Portal Awards.

If you can't hear the show live, then be sure to visit anytime following the show to stream the complete show, or download it to your computer. Alpha Waves Radio also is available for free on Apple's iTunes. Simply do a search in the iTunes Store for Alpha Waves Radio.

To learn more about Judas Kiss, visit the movie's official website at


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