Film Produced by Mancini, Cene Will Be Shown at Boardman Theater

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini is an executive producer on the new film “6:45,” a psychological thriller that will premiere in theaters Aug. 6.

The boxing champ and Youngstown native, and his son Leonardo, have small roles in the film, playing a team of detectives.

Directed by Craig Singer, “6:45” got its world premiere July 20 in New York. Its theatrical run will include weeklong stints in 50 cities – including CinemaSouth in Boardman. Mancini will attend the Youngstown premiere at its evening screening Aug. 6 and will introduce the film. The public is invited to the premiere screening.

The 87-minute R-rated film stars Michael Reed as Bobby, and Augie Duke his girlfriend, Jules. The troubled but loving couple is on a vacation to a deserted island in the winter when strange dreams begin to plague Bobby.

Actors Michael Reed and Augie Duke in a scene from “6:45.”

Over the course of a week, the couple wakes up at 6:45 a.m. every morning, with the strain of Bobby’s growing instability weighing down their relationship. The growing violence and madness of Bobby’s dreams begins to take over his reality.

The cast also includes Thomas G. Waites (“The Warriors”), Armen Garo (“The Departed,” “The Sopranos”), and rappers Remy Ma (“Queen of the South”) and The 45 King (“Hancock”). It was written by Robert Dean Klein.

The film was shot in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, N.J. Cinematographer Lucas Pitassi captures the Victorian charm of the Atlantic Ocean beach resort.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the supernatural and the psychological and where the two intersect,” said Singer, in his director’s notes. “My longtime writing partner Robert Dean Klein and I began working on the concept many years ago, and ironically, we finally started shooting ‘6:45’ about two weeks before the world turned upside down due to COVID-19.”

The film imagines what it would be like “if the best days of your life suddenly turned into your very worst nightmare and you were forced to relive that same day again and again,” Singer said. “But the interesting thing is that the plot, which is sort of a ‘Groundhog Day’ horror, has become rather relevant to what we have all just experienced with the pandemic – the same bad day over and over again.”

Mancini said he was attracted to the movie as soon as he read the script a few years ago. He enlisted Mahoning Valley businessman Paul Cene, owner of Astro Shapes, as another executive producer.

“6:45” leaves the viewer pondering the clues swirling about in the lead character’s fevered thoughts.

“It’s open to interpretation and plays with the mind,” Mancini said.

The acting and beautiful visuals belie the budget of the “6:45,” which was made for less than $1 million. In director Singer’s hands, it becomes more of a psychological thriller than the horror film that the script implied.

“It’s more stylized,” Mancini said.

“6:45” is not all that is on Mancini’s filmmaking agenda. He has two films in development by his production company, Champion Pictures Entertainment, and intends to shoot them both in Youngstown.

Once financing is in place, work will begin on the first, a crime thriller set in the world of electronic dance music.

“We hope to start shooting in the fall and then come back and finish it up in the spring,” Mancini said. A title has not yet been determined.

The second film, “The Block,” is a psychological thriller written by “6:45” screenwriter Klein. Mancini will likely have small roles in both films but his primary job is producer. The two movies represent the start of what Mancini hopes will be a series of movies he will shoot in Youngstown.

Low-budget independent films are among the easiest to turn a profit, he said, as long as the quality is high and the business details are secure. Mancini said he’s in a position to guarantee both with his production company.

“We’ve been working on getting this company going for seven years and now we are finally there,” he said. “I don’t know if there is another company in northeastern Ohio like ours. We are becoming a mini-studio. We create our own content, finance our own projects and we have worldwide distribution. Our films will be seen.”

Pictured at top: Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini plays a detective in “6:45.” Mancini is also a producer of the film.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.