Writer, director and producer Franc. Reyes's latest film, The Ministers, will wrap production this week in New York City. The film is a slick, classy action thriller about revenge, family and the complexities of the quest for justice. Starring John Leguizamo and Harvey Keitel, the film started principal photography on January 11 and has been shooting in different locations in New York including Manhattan, Governor's Island, and the Bronx.
Leguizamo plays dual roles as twins Dante and Perfecto Mendoza. Newcomer Florencia Lozano plays NYPD detective Celeste Santana, who as a young girl witnesses the murder of her detective father by a vigilante group called 'The Ministers.' Keitel plays Detective Bruno, her father's partner at the time of his death. The cast also includes Wanda de Jesus, Manny Perez, Jaime Tirelli and Luis Antonio Ramos.
The Ministers is Reyes's second film in less than ten months. Last summer, he completed filming Illegal Tender, which he also wrote and directed, on location in Puerto Rico and New York. Produced by Oscar nominee director John Singleton, the film stars Rick Gonzalez and Wanda de Jesus. Illegal Tender will be released later this summer by Universal Pictures.
Reyes caught Hollywood's attention with his first feature film, Empire, starring John Leguizamo, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabella Rosselini, Denise Richards, Sonia Braga and hip hop legends Fat Joe and Treach. Shot independently in New York in 2000, Empire went on to become the highest grossing film out of the Sundance Film Festival in 2002. The film's box office success led Reyes to sign a deal with Universal Pictures in 2003.
Reyes is known for writing stories from his unique American Latino experience. Born to Puerto Rican parents, he grew up in the Bronx. His films reflect his experiences living in the United States. What makes Reyes different from other Latino filmmakers is that he writes movies in English and casts Latino stars, telling diverse stories born out of living in this country.
Reyes has recently launched Alumbra Films, a production company with the mission to produce films that will keep the eye on the American experience. "I want to make films not for Latinos, but with them, for everyone," he explains.
Before starting his career in film, Reyes traveled the world as a dancer and choreographer. His passion for music led him to sign a music publishing deal with E.M.I Publishing and write songs for various artists including three top-forty songs on Billboard Magazine. In 1996, after reading the books and soaking in the works of film's greatest talents such as Martin Scorsese, Sidney Lumet and Francis Ford Coppola, Reyes was inspired to raise money for his first short film, "In The Deep South," which he wrote and directed. The story is currently being developed for television.
The Ministers is written, produced and directed by Reyes and produced by Jill Footlick for Grow Pictures. The film stars John Leguizamo, Harvey Keitel and Florencia Lozano. Shooting will wrap on Wednesday, February 21 and post-production will be completed in Los Angeles, California.
The Ministers is a slick, classy action thriller about revenge, family and the complexities of the quest for justice. At his heart, it is a sizzling love story, where the line between good and bad blur and everyone carries a deadly secret.
Dante (John Leguizamo), Luis and Perfecto Mendoza (John Leguizamo) are three brothers separated after losing their parents in a tragic accident many years ago. Now, as adults, they are reunited and rebuilding their lives. But when the eldest, Luis - who has become a pastor in their local church - is shot randomly in the street, the two brothers vow to abandon everything and have their revenge.
Celeste Santana (Florencia Lozano) is a beautiful NYPD detective who also has a score to settle. Many years ago, a vigilante group called 'The Ministers' murdered her father, a police officer, right before her eyes in an unprovoked hit. And now, thirteen years later, they have begun to kill again - but this time she can do something about it. Enlisting the help of her police veteran partner Detective Bruno (Harvey Keitel) - who used to work with her father - Celeste follows the trail of the killers in order to end their violent spree.
The only trouble is, Celeste has unwittingly fallen in love with her enemy, and is about to discover the real secret at the heart of her father's death... and when all guns are drawn she will need to make a difficult choice about the way justice is served.