New Jersey Filmakers Challenge Spielberg's "War of the Worlds"

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Three New Jersey filmmakers have made a feature film for $99 and are so sure of its merits that they are challenging Steven Spielberg's $200 Million sci-fi epic to see if someone can make a film for $99 that's more entertaining than a $200,000,000 Hollywood mega-flick.

The diversity and tension between the megabudget Hollywood blockbuster and the low budget independent film community is about to reach a pinnacle. Three New Jersey filmmakers have finsihed a feature film for a total budget of $99 and they're so sure of its appeal that they are challenging Steven Spielberg's and Tom Cruise’s $200 million sci-fi epic "War of the Worlds".

“This is not a joke” says writer/director Jim Riffel. “The advanced nature of today's video technology has given birth to a new wave of moviemaking. Our film looks great and at the risk of sounding overly confident I think we have Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Cruise beat.” Producer/actor Ian George agrees. “I have all the respect in the world for Steve and Tom,” says George “But I think they're at a real disadvantage. If you're working with and risking hundreds of millions of dollars you're forced to stick to a formula you believe your audience wants. You can't take any chances and your film inevitably becomes predictable. If you're working with less than 100 bucks, which we are, you're forced to come up with strange solutions to character, plot, music, effects, etc. I think the biggest advantage we have is that our film, by default, will be different from everything else out there. The trick for us is to make it different and make it work.”

Does production value worry them? “Obviously we can't, for $99, make a film that looks as slick and professional as the $200,000,000 War Of The Worlds. We're working with literally 1/2,000,000th of that budget. Our special effects department consists of a Roman candle and a pack of Black Cat Firecrackers. But we're taking it on from a perspective of entertainment. At the end of seeing both films which will you find more enjoyable and interesting and still remember a month or two later.” Adds George “$99 is very little to work with but sometimes you can have a 300 piece orchestra perform a piece of music and not have it sound as moving or entertaining as one guy with an acoustic guitar. We've got a real shot here.” "It'll be kind of funny if we win" said actress Stacy Dunn, "I mean, I can almost guarantee "War of the Worlds" spent our entire budget their first morning on coffee creamers."

This is not Mr. Riffel's first feature. A graduate of New York University Film School, he has directed seven. His last two films, Mass Of Angels" and "Black-eyed Susan" are currently playing the festival circuit. "Mass of Angels", according to The Northampton Film Festival is “Reminiscent of the finest works of Roman Polanski and David Lynch” and "Black-eyed Susan" won the 2004 Garden State Film Festival. The title of the new $99 film is "Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Cawling, Fesh-Eating, Zmbified, Subhumanoid Living Dead, Part 3"

“The film will be playing at The Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City on July 3rd at 9:00 p.m. Then the third week of July it will be streamed over the net at I'd like people to go on IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes and vote for my film and Mr. Spielberg's. Since there's no way I can compete with tens of millions of people who are going to see WAR OF THE WORLDS the final determination won't be who receives the most votes. It will be by whichever film has the higher average." He's also looking for a few critics to review his $99 film.

Does Riffel actually think he can beat Steven Spielberg, an icon of Hollywood who many consider one of the greatest film directors of all time? "I wish him luck" says Riffel, "May the best filmmaker win."

Contact Jim Riffel at or call 973-635-9821.

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Jim Riffel