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Kim Bass mastering indie filmmaking market

By// Avis Weathersbee

Kim Bass fondly recollects the childhood memory of the excitement of going to his first movie his grandfather took him to see Miracle of the White Stallions. It was discovery of the visceral power of films that ignited his passion for the art form. And, the same thrill he got from that first experience still resonates in his voice when the filmmaker talks about his latest release, Kill Speed.

The movie blankets the marketplace today and is chock full of aerial action in the tradition of Top Gun. Bass, himself a pilot, didn’t rein-in his enthusiasm in describing the film: “The airplanes are real… I directed it in the air, so being able (to shoot it without) computer-generated images was very exciting… you’re flying at 300 miles per hour, upside down sometimes, to get the shots.”

Bass also owns that it was a pressure-filled undertaking, as well. “It was nerve-racking,” he says of the fast-paced filming that included multitasking between multiple joysticks while in mid-air.

But, handling pressure is no problem for the indie filmmaker, who has mastered the art of getting his films both produced and distributed in the stressful motion picture industry. In addition to Kill Speed, Bass also recently released the psychological horror film Junkyard Dog, starring Vivica A. Fox.

Kill Speed is available via multiple outlets — On Demand, Amazon, Netflix, Blockbuster, RedBox, Barnes & Noble and Hulu. Capitalizing on these ancillary means of distribution is a crucial strategy for non-studio releases. “I think (today) there are more ways to get your product out,” Bass tells JETmag.com. “Many aspiring filmmakers are using other platforms like YouTube (to get their movies seen), but what you want to be able to do is monetize your projects.”

Bass has accomplished this by forming smart partnerships for getting the films from the idea stage to national and international markets. After penning the script, details including nailing down the location, getting the budget OKd (Junkyard Dog was around $2.5 million he says), casting and weighing considerations such as “will this film travel?” have to be addressed.

His Bass Entertainment Pictures will re-team with Take 2 Equity group on a new slate of five films that will all receive a theatrical release and kick off with The UnBroken, which Bass describes as “a youth-oriented Western — an action love story.” The UnBroken will afford the director the biggest budget he’s worked with to date… “North of $12 million,” he says.

It’s brings things full circle for the filmmaker, who learned to ride at an early age after his family moved from “the ‘hood” to a rural community and his dad turned up one day leading a horse. So, of course, making a Western has been a long-time dream. Getting to that dream took some interesting turns — Bass even spent two years early in his career as an actor in Japan. He credits his first big break to Damon Wayans who introduced Bass to his brother Keenan Ivory Wayans. That led to a stint as a writer on the first two seasons of Ivory Wayans’ hit sketch-comedy series In Living Color. Bass went on to create such TV shows Sister, Sister, starring Tia and Tamera Mowry.

Having ticked the boxes for multiple goals on the career bucket list, writer-producer-director Bass says he still strives for one thing, “To make the kinds of films by which people are entertained.” He’s looking to the high-octane Kill Speed to do just that.//