Two local filmmakers recently set up an office in downtown Palmer, just off South Colony Way.
Michael Burns and Michael B. Dillon quit their day jobs to focus all their efforts into the project of a lifetime, a full-length feature film set in Alaska starring A-list and Alaskan actors alike.
“This biggest thing is it is absolutely happening,” Dillon said.
Currently, Dillon and Burns are on their final big push to find local investors to raise the $300,000 capital needed to green light their dream “Dividends,” a heist and thriller movie with a $5.5 million proposal budget.
Dillon said quitting his stable job was a scary leap of faith but he’s willing to give everything he has to make this dream a reality.
“Our proving ground is this development… to show we’re worth it,” Dillon said.
A description of the film is available in a recent press release.
“Alaska, the one place in the world where every ATM within 500,000 square miles will be stocked to the brim on one single night. Bryce, a strong-willed woman and experienced bank programmer, decides to take matters and negotiations into her own hands when her 8 year old son, Jax is kidnapped. She circumvents every ATM in a matter of hours in order to get the most important thing in her life back, her son.”
The story of “Dividends” follows an Alaskan family who lost their son to a kidnapping and a smalltime criminal organization orchestrated by a criminal mastermind with big plans to pull one of the biggest heists of the century, robbing millions of dollars from the Alaskan Permanent Fund in one night.
Dillon set out to pen a dynamic script that he originally scribed many years ago. He took the original concept and tweaked it, adding and changing the plot and characters. He fine-tuned the story into a tapestry of character arcs and plot twists. The plot is filled with intersecting stories that collide in the end.
Dillon said he was inspired by real life heists around the world and the rise of Alaskans using direct deposit for their PFD, meaning there’s less checks mailed out and more cash on the streets.
Burns and Dillon have been working together for several years. Their last film, “Peaks and Valleys” (directed by Burns and written by Dillon) is a gritty tale of survival following the relationship of an unlikely pair set in rural Alaska. They unveiled the homegrown film earlier this year. It received mass acclaim at home and afar.
“Peaks and Valleys” made a splash down in Iowa at the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival in April, selling out two shows and packing the theater with eager eyes which ultimately caught the attention of several established people in the film industry.
Burns said they plan to hire A-List actors for “Dividends” once they raise the capital and the project gets the green light.
“Names sell. Names get butts in seats,” Burns said.
Burns said they’ve been humbled by support from the community over the years and they plan to incorporate Alaskan actors and crew in the film, including stars from their previous films.
“There’s a lot of talented people up here,” Burns said.
Burns and Dillon have over 16 percent of capital raised and they’re actively seeking Alaskan interest to help finance their dream.
“We are putting Alaska first,” Dillon said.
They plan to film much of the movie in Alaska, which they say will help stimulate the state economy, and help usher in new era of filmmaking in the Last Frontier.
“We’re Alaskans. We want to bring business here,” Burns said.
They could be filming “Dividends” in the spring of 2020. There’s a lot of factors at play, namely raising that initial capital.
Anyone interested in learning more about their film and investment opportunities can contact Burns at 907-414-4925 and Dillon at 907-795-2366.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org