Law professor Jena Martin Amerson, graduate Kim Matras ‘09 and adjunct faculty member andré douglas pond cummings have been working with Los Angeles-based Scrappy Cat Productions on the movie “Angel’s Perch” for nearly two years. While helping bring Hollywood to West Virginia, the project has also provided members of the WVU Law community with a unique opportunity to assist in the production of a feature-length film.
From left to right: Kim Matras ‘09, Producer J.T. Arbogast, Producer Kim Dilts, and Production Counsel andré douglas pond cummings
Set in the historic logging town of Cass, WV, “Angel’s Perch” is the story of a Pittsburgh architect who returns home to help his grandmother, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The film deals with the relationship between past and present, memory and loss. It stars Ally Walker (“The Protector,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Moon Over Miami”); Joyce Van Patten (“Marley and Me,” “Grown Ups”); Ashley Jones (“The Bold and the Beautiful,” “Trueblood”); and Ellen Crawford (“ER,” “Desperate Housewives”).
“We have been involved with the movie and the producers from the very beginning,” said cummings. “We helped the producers form their production company, an LLC. We helped them form the entity that would eventually become the film. We drafted the documents that they would use to find investors, including a private offering memorandum and attendant securities laws related materials.”
Matras was retained as counsel for “Angel’s Perch” after the producers Kim Dilts and J.T. Arbogast, who also wrote the script and stars in the film found out she was a West Virginian living in Los Angeles. After graduating from WVU Law, Matras had moved to Los Angles to earn her LLM in Entertainment and Media Law from Southwestern Law School. She credits WVU Law for preparing her as a production attorney, including classes such as Entertainment Law, Business Transaction Drafting, and Contracts.
“I worked on various contracts besides the actor agreements for the film,” said Matras. “I drafted all of the crew deals, the director agreement, location agreements, extras releases, photo releases, and an artist agreement for some physical artwork used in the film.”
As production counsel, Matras also had to maintain chain of title for the film and perform script clearance, which involved spotting potential legal issues in the screenplay. She also drafted investment documents and has helped with fund-raising.
“This experience has been incredible,” said Matras, whose mother, Jeanne, has a small role in the film. “I couldn’t have been luckier to have such a fabulous first client.”Martin Amerson’s (pictured to the right) role in the film project has been as member of production team. She was brought in to help with securities regulations when the producers looked for investors. She has also worked on fundraising efforts and she has used “Angel’s Perch” as a teaching tool in her Business Organizations, Securities Regulation and Business Drafting Transactions classes.
“I’ve given my students fact patterns and exam questions based on the film project,” she said. “It gives a them a real world perspective on the things they learn in class. They can connect legal theory to real world application.”
Once “Angel’s Perch” finishes post-production, it will be submitted to film festivals next year, including Cannes and SXSW. To help support post-production work on the film, WVU Law’s Sport and Entertainment Law Society and the WV Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association hosted a sold-out fund raiser in Morgantown that featured the National Comedy Theatre.
For more information about “Angels Perch’” visit www.angelsperch.com