The movie that actor Paul Sorvino produced using $500,000 in Lackawanna County taxpayer money is making its debut Tuesday night at a film festival in Arizona.
"The Trouble with Cali" was originally supported by former Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert Cordaro who just started serving an 11 year prison sentence for corruption.
Cordaro was made the movie’s executive producer, but many in Lackawanna County are hoping the movie is a hit because if it is, the county could make up to $600,000 for its investment.
Two years ago, critics wondered if the movie would ever be made, but Paul Sorvino promised it would.
“If I have to scratch it out until my last dying day, this movie will get done,” Sorvino said in March, 2010.
Tuesday night, a full five years after filming started in Scranton, Sorvino can say, “I told you so.”
Lackawanna County taxpayers financed nearly 40 percent of the film, which debuts at the Sedona Arizona Film Festival.
“Film is historically a bad investment,” said Jeff Boam, an independent filmmaker and movie critic for the Electric City and Diamond City newspapers.
“The Trouble with Cali” needs to be a hit for the county to even think about making back the half million it invested in Sorvino`s flick. It`s now seen as a movie that was fronted by taxpayer`s money and has become a laughing stock,” said Boam. “That right there kills the momentum of the movie.”
Still Boam and other local filmmakers want the movie to succeed, and hope the first reviews of the “The Trouble with Cali” are kind to Paul Sorvino and his daughter, Mira, who also has a role.
“Their names aren`t as sellable on the title anymore, so it comes down to quality now,” added Boam.
The one sure way Lackawanna County taxpayers would get their money back is if the movie makes it to theaters because some distributor thinks it has potential. Sorvino`s made the movie. The question is, will it sell tickets?
When he talked with Newswatch 16 two years ago, Sorvino was confident it will.
“It is a heck of a good movie,” the actor and director said. “It will move you and people who have seen it in the rough state walk away with tears in their eyes and say, 'What a movie!'"
Paul Sorvino's son, Michael, who co-produced the movie, released a statement saying the family hopes to have a special screening of the “Trouble with Cali, in Scranton,sometime later this year.