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JeTi Films: Brothers' Movie Dreams Realized

27 Oct, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Ever since Jeff Hollins and his three siblings (El Timo, Gorio and Charlie) ran out of money making a martial arts Super 8 home movie in the 1970s, the brothers have been hooked on realizing the Hollywood dream — albeit thousands of miles away in Marrero, La.

While dabbling in front of and behind the camera in a series of walk-on roles in major and minor budget fare, including Undercover Blues with Dennis Quaid, self-produced Gift-O-Life and Cut Up from Envision Entertainment, Hollins and Co. since 2000 have produced, acted in, written and directed three independent urban films, including their latest, Grip: A Criminal's Story (DVD $19.98).

The action drama is about an ex-con, who, after betting $100 to a fellow inmate that he won't end up back in prison, struggles to make an honest living. A bonus disc includes a making-of featurette and bloopers.

Sub Rosa Studios and BCI Eclipse have distributed previous releases Bang and The Murder Men. The titles also are available at JeTiFilms.com.

“I write stuff on my own, and when we get together it's like, this is going to be the next one, or which one do you all like out of these scripts?” Hollins said. “We don't get together to write. We write on our own. And when we get together, we'll have two or three scripts.”

Hollins said he spent his time on movie sets as an extra observing how directors and camera operators set up the equipment, lighted a scene and shot it.

“I said to myself, ‘I can do this,’ Hollins said.

He said making movies in Louisiana isn't disadvantageous, compared to Hollywood. Future plans include casting actors with some street cred.

The Times-Picayune movie reviewer Michael Kleinschrodt described Grip as a film that is “shot well and tells a compelling story” with a “fascinating cast of characters.”

“We like to call ourselves here in Marrero, ‘Hollywood South,’ Hollins said. “It all depends on the quality of the film and how many thousands of units you sell.”

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