Blood Empires

Rated: Not Rated

        As time goes on, and offerings from the Hollywood mainstream get weaker and weaker, I find myself seeking out larger and larger numbers of lesser known independent films than ever before. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play and iTunes continue to make my quest for truly independent films easier by the day. Whenever I decide to parous the titles offered on any of them, I can easily end up spending hours adding film after film to my watchlists.
        One such film offered on iTunes, Amazon Prime and Google Play (and more, as listed below) is
Blood Empires. According to the summary given on Amazon, the film is: “A crime story about pride, family, redemption, and above all love.  Struggling people on either side of the law, rise out of pain and misery.”
Blood Empires is a film that challenges the norms; the norms of your profession, the norms of your everyday relationships, and the norms what's expected of us.  Danny is expected to go along with whatever his bosses want, whether he agrees with the reasons and methods or not. Elena is expected to let the past lie, and to put on blinders when it comes to the conduct of her coworkers, no matter what.  Unfortunately they share a common past, one that, try as they might, they will never escape from.
        The film is a testament to the ingenuity, perseverance, and creativity people just starting out in the film industry possess. When talking to the writer/director Peter Rajesh Joachim, I asked about some of the challenges they faced when making the film. He said, “Since we operated on a small budget the challenges for us were huge. Mostly unforeseen [things], but we were prepared for most; we remembered to remain dynamic.  The most difficult challenge [we faced] was when one of our leads decided to opt out of the film on the third day of the shoot. That put us in a quite a bind! But we persevered and got Kassandra Santos to play Officer Elena Kayaka, and she was perfect!”
        But those weren’t the only challenges faced while filming
Blood Empires; time and location also proved to be issues. The cast and crew were only available to shoot during a very limited window, so the entire film was shot over the course of just 12 days. If you stop and think that most films take months, or even years to shoot, Blood Empires seems even more extraordinary.
        As for the location, although the film is set entirely in Cleveland, it was filmed in Canada. Joachim, who is from India, said that they chose to film entirely in Canada because, “Shooting in Toronto made more sense logistically, and I wanted to make a film with my friends/colleagues [from the filmmaking] program at Sheridan College, Oakville, Canada.  Also, I held a temporary Canadian Visa at the time and applying for a US visa would have been very difficult.”
        If at this point you’re wondering if Toronto, Canada was an appropriate stand in for Cleveland, it was; there’s nothing included in the film that would give the location away as anything other than Cleveland.
        Sometimes knowing some of the behind the scenes history of how a film was made makes you appreciate the film itself all the more, as was the case with
Blood Empires. Of course, that’s not to say that the film doesn’t garner appreciation on its own. Peter Rajesh Joachim has created a film that has all the heart, drive, and excitement of a big budget production, but with the limited resources those just starting out in film have come to expect.  

        In my opinion it is these filmmakers who are the true stars. Being able to fully translate the stories in their heads to the big screen with so little to work with is an art in itself, and one challenge that more and more filmmakers are both meeting and exceeding with every passing day.
        This is a film that starts out slowly and quietly, but ends explosively. It will keep you engaged to the very end, and guessing for days afterwards, which is no small feat these days! According to Joachim, "The movie has many open ended questions, which I left on purpose for the audience to decipher, because…
Blood Empires [is] a trilogy.”
        Although the rest of the trilogy is in preproduction, Joachim still has a lot on his plate. He is currently working on funding for his latest film
Theo, which he describes as, “about a reformed White Supremacist or a Neo-Nazi. The subject is unlike previous books or movies on the subject matter. It dives deeper into the psyche of the individual and his journey through life,” Joachim said. I’ll keep you posted on all of the latest developments from this up and coming filmmaker as they happen, but for now be sure to check out Blood Empires!

Blood Empires is not rated, was written and directed by Peter Rajesh Joachim and stars Stevie Jay and Kassandra Santos.  It's available now on Amazon Prime, Google Play, iTunes, X Box, Sony PlayStation and will soon be out on DVD (I’ll keep you posted). More information about the film can be found here:

  • Blood Empires on IMDB