A FEATURE FILM BY
BEN & ANDREW ADAMS
Following the unexpected death of his older brother, a young man returns home to small-town Texas after a 13-year absence to handle his family's affairs and confront the consequences of a tragic accident from the past, only to find himself reluctantly entangled in a dangerous conflict with a local crime boss.
DRAMA - WESTERN - CRIME
EVERYBODY'S GOT A DEBT TO PAY.
Photo Credit: BEN ADAMS
The film will encapsulate neo-western photography that illustrates the desolute beauty and cinematic saturation of the Texas landscape through a stark blend of dusty, sun-drenched warm tones and the cool, flourescent blues and greens of the night.
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY
BEN & ANDREW ADAMS
Born and raised in Dallas, TX, Ben & Andrew Adams are identical twin brothers that
have been working as a filmmaking duo their entire lives.
Known for their award-winning short films, commercial and music video projects, and
viral parodies, Ben & Andrew have built a wide breadth of genre-spanning work tied
together with commanding, cinematic visuals and nuanced, emotional storytelling.
Their work has garnered millions of views, been screened in special exhibition at the
Cannes International Film Festival (2015), and featured by hundreds of major outlets
including GQ, Time, Paste, Tribeca Film Festival, Wired, Yahoo, IndieWire, The Daily
Beast, and New York Magazine.
Ben & Andrew are passionate about telling meaningful stories of broken people,
healing wounds, regret and redemption, and the bonds of family and friendship that
hold us all together. They continue to produce projects predominantly with a small,
diverse creative team of family, close friends, and decade-long colleagues.
Their work is distinct, sincere, and authentically Texan.
Thunder & Ash’ is their first feature film.
‘Thunder & Ash’ is a film we’ve been building our entire lives toward creating. At its core this is a story of brotherhood and the looming shadow it casts on all of our relationships. How that helps us. Hurts us. Encourages and supports us. And, inevitably, how the loss of it can end up defining one’s entire life
As identical twin brothers, we’ve worked hand-in-hand the last two decades telling stories of family, legacy, and that indescribable sense of ‘home’ in ways we think are sincere and emotionally resonant. We grew up loving and trying to emulate some of the best crime movies, family dramas, and westerns we saw - and have grown a striking visual language in our work that has brought-in elements of all of them throughout our careers. We‘re drawn to this story of grief and consequences because of what we’ve seen reflected in our own lives, and the enduring spirit in our characters that make them rich, personal, and compelling. A sweeping family crime drama with a western aesthetic.
It’s the little moments-of-truth, iconic shots, and hopeful resolve we believe will make this a great, unforgettable film.
Our lead actor and producer, brothers themselves, are some of our best friends. They’re people we’ve grown up and worked with our entire lives. Our entire cast and crew is comprised of close colleagues and native Texans. We are all, truly, like family. We think this level of authenticity - in casting, setting, tone, and talent - creates something genuinely special that can’t often be replicated. Our hearts and souls are in this project.
We’re uniquely positioned to tell this story now, and present it in a way that is
cinematic, entertaining, and genuinely moving to an audience.
Photo Credit: BEN ADAMS
PLAYED BY REESE ARRINGTON
JOHN WESTON is a brooding, square-jawed, 29-year-old
Western-style loner from small-town Texas.
After reluctantly returning to his hometown following a 13-year absence - JOHN is confronted with the consequences of a tragic accident from the past, the guilt and shame behind abadoning his family, and the ongoing grief of mourning his deceased older brother, DANNY. All-the-while, he must contend with settling his brother’s affairs, a new threat of drug crime and violence in his former home, and the inner demons that continue to plague his conscience.
Stoic and reserved, JOHN holds a fire of rage and sorrow
within that threatens to reveal itself in a moment’s notice.
Reese is the perfect person to portray this role with heart, humility, and nuanced emotion that will make this character iconic and unforgettable. An award-winning, classically-trained actor, Reese has known Ben & Andrew Adams since birth and has worked in-collaboration with the duo his entire life.
He is one of their best friends and closest, most trusted and
effective collaborators. This role was written for Reese.
DANNY WESTON is the early-30s, troubled-but-beloved hometown hero of ‘Thunder & Ash’ and older brother of the film’s primary protagonist, JOHN.
Portrayed only in flashback and mentioned fondly by-reputation throughout the film, DANNY is deceased when our story begins.
The high school quarterback, favorite son, dive bar playboy, and affable, generous neighbor - DANNY’s life is highlighted by the praises of his good graces from friends and family, and marred by his checkered criminal connections and previous bad deeds.
DANNY’s past holds a secret he shares only with his brother JOHN - a bond that ties their destinies together even in death - only revealed in a consequential, climactic flashback.
Intended to be portrayed in two effective, short scenes (shot over 1-2 minimal production days) that are intercut throughout the film. This role was written for GLEN POWELL - an old friend of the Adams Brothers - but is also well-suited for a Boyd Holbrook, Taylor Kitsch, or Jensen Ackles type.
LATE 40s to 70s MALE. Single-Scene Monologue. 1-Day Shoot.
MOE CIRILLO is an enigmatic crime boss torn between competing allegiances to his east coast higher-ups and the cartel to the south of the border. Cirillo controls the drug trade that has a stranglehold on the small Texas town, giving him almost unlimited influence and power within the tiny, economically-depressed community.
Dangerous. Charismatic. Observant. Unpredictable. He’s the smartest person in the room.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
In addition to co-directing, Ben will act as Director of Photography on ‘Thunder & Ash’, a role he has served on every project he has previously directed. Ben will bring an expansive, commercial look and big-budget aesthetic to the film that will align perfectly with the narrative pace and tone of the film.
Above and below are examples from his previous works.
“The fires ended and the rains came.
And that place they knew? That home? It didn’t exist anymore. And as much as they wanted it - it wasn’t ever coming back. No. It was just a memory after that. Gone.
All they were left with was
thunder and ash.”
- MOE CIRILLO
Photo Credit: BEN ADAMS
The supporting cast of ‘Thunder & Ash’ is comprised of a diverse group of talented actors we’ve spent years building positive working relationships with and garnering the trust and support from to ensure the absolute finest performances in the film.
A dying town. A family in mourning.
A secret hidden deep within the burned-down woods.
Photo Credit: BEN ADAMS
LOCATIONS & SETTING
Set in the heart of Central Texas, the region is a unique crossroads of dying small towns, burgeoning metropolitan growth, and fading frontier, cowboy culture that stands at-odds with the changing time and landscape.
This can be photographed adequately and efficiently in Austin and Bastrop, TX.
Commercially-viable and critically-acclaimed, ‘No Country For Old Men’ (2007), Sicario’ (2015), ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ (2013), 'Mud' (2012), and ‘Hell Or High Water’ (2016) are just a few examples of comparable films that grapple with family, legacy, and grief against a small-town backdrop. of crime and moral ambiguity with enduring success.
Immerse in the musical world and tone of the film
with original score from our composer.
Ben Haschke is a producer and coordinator known for his broad technical skill and adaptive, managerial experience. He has assisted, coordinated, and produced hundreds of projects over the last decade for a variety of large brands and businesses including SXSW, Neiman Marcus, Vogue, and the Dallas Cowboys.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, Ben brings a creative, analytical quality to problem-solving difficult setups and production challenges.
He has served as unit manager, production coordinator, and line producer on dozens of narrative film projects with
Ben & Andrew Adams since childhood.
John Redlinger is an accomplished director, writer, and actor originally from Dallas. His filmmaking work has received accolades in numerous festivals and competitions in Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin, Dallas and Mexico over the last 15 years.
In 2013, John's film 'The Crossing' secured a screening at Cannes International Film Festival, and his commercial directing work has seen airtime internationally.
John holds a degree in theater from the University of Southern California and has assisted as an AD, co-director, producer, and writer for Atomic Productions on over a dozen projects. He has known and worked with Ben & Andrew Adams for nearly 20 years.
Matt Bukaty is an award-winning film composer from Texas.
He holds multiple degrees in music composition, including a Master’s in Music Scoring for Film from New York University.
An extremely prolific. multi-disciplinary talent, Matt has created music for over 50 narrative works, dozens of commercials, and received numerous accolades, including the International Award for Best Musical Score at Filmapalooza in Rotterdam, NL.( 2020)
A longtime collaborator with the Adams Brothers, Matt is an integral part of the creative team that works closely with the pair to develop a signature sound and feel to every project often before even a single frame is shot.
Matt has composed original music for every single project Ben & Andrew have directed and produced the last 9 years.
Bailey Wilson is a Native Texan and proud Texas Ex that has worked in the music and live event industry for over a decade. She began her career at C3 Presents as a Public Relations specialist before migrating to an Account Supervisor role at creative communications agency Giant Noise.
Bailey excels as a dynamic manager with impeccable musical taste and vision. It is this affinity that has allowed her to spot burgeoning talent early-on and passionately pursue and cultivate strong, honest relationships with music clients, venues, brand awareness campaigns, and more.
Bailey is well-positioned to serve as Music Supervisor on this production, bringing both broad and specific knowledge of music negotiation and curation to the project; as well as perspective and otherwise-undiscovered depth to the musical backing and narrative content of ‘Thunder & Ash’.
Chase Arrington is a producer and filmmaker known for his varied work in film, television, and musical theater.
Chase is a graduate of Booker T. Washington School for the Performing Arts in Dallas, TX and attended Savannah College of Art & Design on a full-scholarship as a part of the school's singing group, The Honeybees. He has since worked in front and behind the camera on a number of projects in Texas and Los Angeles, CA. Chase currently serves as the head of Arrington Media.
Like his brother, actor Reese Arrington, Chase has known and worked with Ben & Andrew Adams since childhood.
Naeem Munaf is a producer, director, and cinematographer from Texas currently working in Los Angeles, CA. He has spent the last decade cultivating a career that includes developing and producing ads, music videos, live event and new media interviews, and narrative projects.
He has worked with such brands as T-Mobile, Unilever, California Almonds, and Kikkoman, and served as a technical creative lead on the series 'Sugar Pine 7', which won the Streamy Award for ‘Show of the Year’ (2017).
He currently serves as the Senior Digital Media Producer for Break The Floor and Creative Director for Take Creative. He has known and worked with Ben & Andrew Adams for nearly 20 years.