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Sci-fi film based on Corbin man's script set to be released in 2012


Early poster art for Mind's Eye, a film based on a screenplay written by Mark Daniels, of Corbin.

Every day, seven days a week, no matter how many hours he puts in at work or devotes to his family, Mark Daniels sets aside enough to write at least one single, solitary page for whatever movie script he has rolling around in his mind at the time.

It's a hobby he's had since high school - a diversion and a way to relax.

At 49-years-old, it's a hobby that's starting to pay off.

Daniels, who works as Director of Support Services for the Corbin Independent School District, where he's been employed for the last 20 years, is about to see one of his scripts turned into a marketable, feature film for the first time.

"This script was my first sale," Daniels said. "It's a pretty crazy story. This is just one of those things that started playing itself out. It has that 'what if?' element to it that really allowed my imagination to go wild and see what happens."

The movie is tentatively titled "Mind's Eye" and is currently in post-production with Black Wing Digital, a company based in Colorado. The company's owner purchased the script from Daniels and principal photography wrapped up June 30. Editing, music and special effects are currently being added.

The movie has a budget of about $1 million and is an independent project, but Daniels said it has some very recognizable actors in it including the legendary Malcom McDowell, Dean Cain and Natalie Distler.

"These are Screen Actors Guild actors involved in this movie. It's not your uncle from down the street that wants to be in a movie," Daniels said. "These are very well known people and it gives it an international appeal."

Though cagey about the specific plotline, Daniels said "Mind's Eye" essentially follows the strange events surrounding its lead character, Mattie Carver, as space and time seem to collapse around her, seemingly tied to the "resonate sound of her violin."

Carver, played by newcomer Izzie Steele, is joined by a "misfit team of friends, teachers, and two mysterious men in black" in a race to restore her world to normal before it is too late.

"It's a science fiction thriller, but I think when you write these things the way you do it is the same no matter what the genre is," Daniels said. "You try to paint yourself in a corner and then try to figure a way to get out of it. That's what you are doing with your characters ... you are creating conflicts that they have to figure out a way to get out of, to find an answer or means of escape or whatever."

Daniels has been teaching a course in screenwriting for Eastern Kentucky University for the past three years. He's currently sold or has options on 12 of his scripts and said he authors about three screenplays a year. On the side, he serves as a "script doctor" for other writers and has participated in rewriting scripts for several other screenplays.

After post-production work is wrapped up for "Mind's Eye," Daniels said it would be marketed like most of independent films. It will be submitted to various film festivals for consideration. There, studios and distribution companies will often bid on finished films and try to work deals to release films for the companies that produced them. The movie will likely see a limited release in specialty theaters and "art house" cinemas.

"I think because of who's in it that they will definitely find a market for it," Daniels said. "Hopefully, if they can get a distribution deal, the film will be released sometime next year."

Daniels visited the set of "Mind's Eye" in Colorado for three days over the summer. He said it was a thrill to meet many of the actors involved in the movie, and the director Mark Steven Grove.

"Filmmaking is not really that exciting while you are there. It's a lot of waiting," Daniels said. "It's a long process ... Very tedious actually, but they were very nice to me and I had a good time."

Daniels got his first real initiation into the filmmaking process when he served as an extra in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film "The Color of Money" staring Tom Cruise and Paul Newman.

"Just to see a famous director working with big name actors was a thrill," he said.

Another of Daniel's screenplays, entitled "Desecrated," is currently in production as well. He said that while it is nice that there is starting to be a bit of interest in his writing, he doesn't plan to do it full-time or make a living from it.

"I'm just enjoying it right now. I have a lot of fun doing it," Daniels said. "I'll just take whatever it gives me."
 

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