Mike Moroco & The Phoenix Project

Feb 5, 2015 | Alumni-Stories

Graduate Mike Moroco was recently in a featured article in the Sharon Herald for his work on “The Phoenix Project” a science fiction movie he produced. Below is the article from the Herald. We at KC are so proud of Mike and his accomplishments.

Mike Moroco, class of 2007

Local filmmaker’s ‘Phoenix’ rises today

Sharon Herald | January 15th, 2015 | Joe Pinchot, Herald Staff Writer


AKRON, Ohio – Mike Moroco started working on “The Phoenix Project,” an independent film, as a dolly grip, the guy who pushes the cart on which the camera is affixed to get moving camera shots.
The Sharon native ended up as a producer with a lot riding on whether this “Phoenix” rises from the hopes of show business wannabes or crashes into the indy film abyss.
“The Phoenix Project” premieres at 11:45 p.m. today at the Nightlight Cinema in Akron, Ohio, the same day it is made available on video-on-demand platforms such as iTunes, Google Play, Time Warner Cable and Amazon Instant Video. It moves to 10 other theaters the next night, with a week-long run booked at Hollywood’s Arena Cinema.
Moroco, a 2007 Kennedy Catholic High School graduate, said he is “totally” excited about the premiere, which he will attend.
“This is super,” he said from his home in Echo Park, Calif., still trying to shake off the sleepies during what was, for him, an early-morning call Tuesday.
“This has been a learning experience for us,” he said. “It’s been about four years.”
Tyler Graham Pavey wrote and directed the film, and worked with Orson Ossman, one of the four actors in the film, to produce it.
“Over time, they had some business decisions they couldn’t really make or handle and I said I could help them out,” said Moroco, who works under the pseudonym Mike Mo.
“It’s like a job with no tasks and a job with every task,” he said of the role of producer. “You’re not really responsible for one thing. At the end of the day, you’re the first person when something hasn’t been done.”
“The Phoenix Project” is a science-fiction thriller about four scientists trying to find a way to reanimate deceased organisms.
Although the cinemafication of sci-fi often translates to big-budget flicks swimming in computer-generated effects, “The Phoenix Project” was made for $60,000 – half generated by a Kickstarter campaign – and includes no effects created after the film was shot.
“We made a movie with all practical effects,” Moroco said. “We didn’t spend any money post-production on fire and things like that.
“This is a very dramatic movie,” he said. “The effects are cool but we could only go so far. It’s a movie about people.
“While Moroco has a financial stake in the film and hopes to recoup the film’s investment, which could generate more film shoots, he stressed that “The Phoenix Project” is not about how much money can be made.
“It was made by a bunch of kids who don’t have million-dollar bonuses at the end of the year,” he said.
Moroco graduated in 2011 from Villanova University without a specific degree after studying business, and then communications, and then “try(ing) to work up a major in film,” something Villanova didn’t offer.
He co-wrote, produced and directed a short documentary about a rap artist called “Who is Wright,” was set decorator for the horror film “Smiley” and was a counselor at a Los Angeles film school.
He just finished as location manager on “Gilt,” a $100,000-budget piece on a young man who moves to Los Angeles and struggles with an influx of cash when his start-up is bought out.
While he would welcome future film projects – he said he only would produce for friends – “My passion is writing,” he said. “I hope to write cartoons some day. I would like to write for television. I love movies but I really love television. It’s such an American thing. Just to be part of that would be pretty cool.”
The trailer for “The Phoenix Project” can be seen at imdb.com.

Article from the Sharon Herald, 1.15.15
By JOE PINCHOT, Herald Staff Writer
Click here to read the article on the Herald’s website