Joe Downtown: Downtown Project backing independent film project

Chris Ramirez, left, founder, and and Mark Balint, head of production, pose by a mural in the hallway outside the Silver State Production Services offices in downtown Las Vegas Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

Downtown Project will invest in an independent film starring 19-year-old Dakota Fanning.

Chris Ramirez, owner/partner of Downtown Films and founder of Silver State Production Services and Lola Pictures, is listed as a producer on the movie. He said the project’s investment constitutes almost the entire budget of the film, directed and written by Gerardo Naranjo.

Co-producers also include Alex Orlovsky and Hunter Gray, whose Verisimiltude production company’s credits include “Blue Valentine” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.” Ramirez said the movie has not yet been titled.

Dakota Fanning & Evan Rachel Wood

Dakota Fanning, a cast member in Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

Chris Ramirez, Lola Pictures, is producing an Internet series “on the people making downtown happen.”

Ramirez said filming would begin “very soon” and would take place “mostly on the outskirts of Las Vegas.”

He described the movie – Naranjo’s first English-language feature film – as a coming-of-age story premised upon a roadie, Fanning, touring with a punk band in the 1980s.

Fanning, whose television acting career began around the time she turned 6, has been involved in television or film ever since. She is best known for her work in the “Twilight” film series and also played the daughter of Tom Cruise in 2005’s “War of the Worlds.”

Interestingly, the investment news comes only a few weeks after Mayor Carolyn Goodman, in her State of the City address, mentioned the potential of creating a movie studio in Cashman Center with the help of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Downtown Project sources have also said the project might be involved in the idea.

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