Columbian’s movie enjoys intergalactic following

By JUSTIN WILLETT Tribune business editor
Published Saturday, September 27, 2008

Following an out-of-this-world premier of his directorial debut, "The Red Canvas," this summer, Columbia native Adam Boster is working hard to secure a deal that will bring the martial arts movie to the big screen.

Boster, who owns the Columbia company Photo-Kicks, produced and directed "The Red Canvas" with his best friend and business partner Ken Chamitoff.

Boster sums up the film as "Rocky" meets mixed martial arts. It stars John Savage, Maria Conchita Alonso, Fernando Romero and Ernie Reyes Jr., Ernie Reyes Sr. and George Takei, better known as Mr. Sulu from Star Trek.

The film was completed in mid-July and premiered for a "floating-room only" audience on the international space station, where Chamitoff’s astronaut brother, Greg, has been stationed since June. Hours later, the movie made its terrestrial debut at the Martial Arts SuperShow in Orlando.

The movie won several awards at the 2008 Action on Film Festival, which was held in Pasadena, Calif., last month. It picked up best picture, best feature soundtrack and best feature action sequence, and Reyes Jr. and Savage won male action performer of the year and best supporting actor, respectively.

Although this is Boster’s directorial debut, he has worked in the movie industry since the early 1990s. His first gig was as production assistant on a Hallmark movie. Boster worked in Los Angeles for about nine years before moving back to Columbia and opening Photo-Kicks, which began as a firm specializing in photographing martial arts students but has grown to include film production, animation and Web site design.

Boster said he met Ken Chamitoff about 15 years ago while working on a film. Chamitoff, who owns the West Coast Photo-Kicks business, previously owned a casting company, Boster said.

Boster said Chamitoff came up with the idea for the story. The principle photography and most of the editing was done in California, and some of the post-production graphic work was done in Columbia, he said.

"Ken is the author of the story," Boster said. "Just like any film, there is collaboration at many levels. We produced it together and completed it together."

Boster said the movie has been well-received, and he hopes to get it in theaters. He said he and Chamitoff recently began shopping it to distributors and the major studios.

"We have had a lot of interest come back already," he said. "We’ve got two offers on the table. Our goal is to have it in theaters, and that looks very promising. ... We’ll know more about what the future of the film holds in a few weeks."

Photo-Kicks is based out of Parkade Center and has about 50 employees.

It offers a full range of photography, graphics and multimedia services but is best known for its action photography.

The company’s staff of about 20 photographers travels around the country shooting photos at martial arts, dance and gymnastics schools. Products include prints, posters and trading cards.