By Dino Dela Rosa
19th & Wilson, Inc. is an independent film studio and production company, which was formed by Aaron Goodmiller around 2000. One of the directors of 19th and Wilson is Filipino-American Eric Espejo. He attended the Hollywood Film Institute under the tutelage of the famed Dov Simens, where other notables(Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie, and Will Smith)have learned from Dov Simens. Eric has been highly instrumental in guiding the company. Another Fil-Am who involved with the production company is Ben Roa, the youngest son of screen icon Tita Boots Anson-Roa, who is the publicist. He basically helps get positive press coverage for the production company, he also helps with the marketing of the company and its films.
When Aaron Goodmiller found out that Eric was an aspiring filmmaker, he asked Eric to join in 2002. From there he took a lot of courses, attended seminars, and filmed short films to learn the craft of writing and directing. “I’m a screenwriter first and a director second — meaning I love writing more than directing,” Eric says. “Eventually my screenwriting improved to the point where one of my screenplays, a horror called Ghosts Don’t Exist, made it into the top 15% of the Oscar’s Nicholl Fellowship competition — the most prestigious screenwriting competition in the nation. Screenplays that reach the finals are sometimes produced into full length features.”
He pitched the team at 19th & Wilson about the thriller “Ghosts Don’t Exist,” currently in post-production and they loved the concept. That’s when they got serious about trying to find financiers to make the movie. They knew enough about the indie film biz to confidently move forward with creating a business plan and pitch investor type contacts.
Eric further adds, “One day, I happened to be reading Chris Cooley’s blog. He’s the famous pro bowl NFL player for the Washington Redskins. I thought of contacting him when noticed a business development email address on his site. I then sent that email a pitch to become an Executive Producer for a movie. We responded. Many emails and phone calls later, we got to meet Chris in DC and they talked about the project. We immediately connected. About a month after that meeting, we got the contract with him signed and with Chris Cooley backing 19th and Wilson, we were able to land more investors.”
Eric further enthused, “By the way, Chris Cooley loved the concept of “Ghosts Don’t Exist,” and that’s why he signed on. I pitched him this: A popular ghost hunter losing faith in what he believes is about to retire, but decides to take one last case when a potential client guarantees he’ll provide the proof he’s been looking for. Upon arriving at the home, the client announces that he will make good on the promise by contracting the team himself from the beyond; then shoots himself in front of them.”
Besides directing “Ghosts Don’t Exist,” Eric also is the film’s producer and writer. When Eric was writing “Ghosts Don’t Exist,” he was inspired by the great horror film, “The Haunting”(1963). He is also a big fan of M.Night Shyamalan(“The Sixth Sense”) Movies are a passion for Eric Espejo and everyone at 19th and Wilson.
Their films are only available on DVD and one, “Techfellas,” a spoof of Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” played at the Asia Pacific American Festival in D. For more on 19th and Wilson, visit their website: 19thandwilson.com http://19thandwilson.com.