By Rebecca Brown Wright – June 3, 2014
Many may not know it, but the visual effects in popular feature films and television shows, such as Disney’s “Race to Witch Mountain” and “The Game Plan,” ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” NBC’s “Grimm” and “Trauma” were created by a company right here in our backyard.
Lee Baker and Stephen Sobisky, owners of Sandman Studios, work out of their office in Cottonwood Heights to bring visual effects to television shows and movies.
And their work is about to get bigger.
Recently, the turned more of their attention to the film production company, Paralight Films, also out of Cottonwood Heights, to bring feature films to theaters.
One Current project is producing the film “Legion of 5,” along with Stan Lee, who is the executive producer and creator. Yep, that Stan Lee – co-creator of comics such as “X-Men,” “Iron Man” and “Thor,” to name a few.
“It’s very exciting,” Baker said. “It’s very large, and has taken a lot of work to get to this point. It will be a fantastic film and will compete directly with ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Spider-man’ and other Stan Lee films.”
It’s every comic book lover’s dream come true.
“I’ve loved Stan my whole life,” Baker said. “I loved comic books and collected them as a little boy. I really never thought I’d be producing one of his feature films. I always hoped, but never thought I would. And in the end, we put so much time and effort into this one that it just feels right.”
Baker added that they have a casting wish list with big names, and several are currently being approached. The film should hit theaters at the end of 2015, or the beginning of 2016.
As if that wasn’t enough dream-come-trueary to set you up for life, Baker and Sobisky are also working on producing two more feature films, set to hit theaters in 2015.
“It’s about the idea of the first person to pilot a speed-of-light plane,” he said. “I always loved the speed-of-light idea. The thought came to me: what would happen if someone became light for a moment and became infinity, and then was smashed back into his body? How would he look at life? The character goes into a coma, and when he comes out, he sees the world differently. He can step into visions of the past and walk around and see what happened.”
“The Dome” is a smaller, lower budget film at $2 to $2.5 million, and will be the first feature film Baker has directed himself. The film is about a company that uses technology to create lifelike holograms.
It promises to be visually stunning and to leave the viewer questioning what is real.
“In the film, we’re going to have a lot of huge sets and props. We wanted to show people we could do this on an incredibly low budget,” he said.
Baker and Sobisky want to keep it family friendly.
“We want to create films that are high-quality, high demand, but good,” he said. “Most of the films that have made incredible amounts of money – ‘ET,’ ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Indiana Jones’ – have not compromised by putting in explicit scenes. In fact, they have done the opposite. They’ve tried to keep it clean, and in the end have done very will in the box office.”
To find out more about these projects, visit www.paralightfilms.com or www.legionof5.com