Tag Archives: Producer Angel Cassani

Aiming For a Dream, Producer Angel Cassani Strikes it Hot in Hollywood with the UFC

Producer Angel Cassani
Producer Angel Cassani

“While working in financing I dreamt of myself one day working in films in the famous Hollywood, California,” says Angel Diego Cassani, a Latin American expert financier who is conquering Hollywood today.

Angel is a veteran financier with more than 15 years in the field of financing and filmmaking. He started Global Capital Markets Group in Chile, Colombia and Peru, a big multi-national client portfolio including BellSouth, Motorola, Avon, and more. He has now brought his expertise in financing to his true passion – film making.

The film business operates in the creative sphere, but first and foremost it is a business. So, in 2008 Angel Cassani, who understands both entertainment and financing, came up with a brilliant idea to capitalize on the tremendous popularity of the UFC at that time. The UFC was and is still today, the highest growing sport in the world, and was featured that year on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Prize fighters and show business have been drawn to each other through history. Jack Dempsey, a heavyweight champion during the movie explosion of the roaring 20’s did not defend his title for 3 years, instead he headed to Hollywood with his actress wife Estelle Taylor, and made a dozen films while the leading contenders kicked their heels. In 1952, Sugar Ray Robinson retired from boxing after unsuccessfully challenging for the light heavyweight title, the great fighter put his skills to good use and went on tour as a dancer, earning $15,000 a week at that time. Robinson had parts in movies alongside, Frank Sinatra, and Marlon Brando, and many others.

Angel had the brilliant idea of using the popularity of the UFC and began approaching heavy-hitters, and Hollywood players, as well as the studio Lionsgate, which immediately jumped at Angel’s out-of-the box creativity of and signed a six picture deal with him and his partner Hector Echavarria, a famous world martial arts champion, and film and television star from Argentina.

There are clear parallels between the life of an actor and the life of a prize fighter. The structure of the two industries is almost identical at the top of the tree.

“An elite few are well rewarded,” says Angel. The titles that Angel was crucial in closing these deals with the famous Hollywood studio. This joint venture led to pictures like “Confessions of a Pit Fighter” with famous movie star Armand Assante, as well as “Death Warrior,” “Unrivaled,” “Never Surrender,” and “Chavez Cage of Glory.”

Film Poster for "Never Surrender"

These films not only started the cinematic career of UFC prize fighters Quinton Jackson and Georges St-Pierre, aka GSP, who would both later on be cast in giant Hollywood projects like the remake of “The A-Team,” and the “Captain America” series, but also generate millions in profits for Lionsgate who invested a small amount in the pictures that yielded a tenfold return on investment.

That is when Angel Cassani began to dream even bigger. Other Hollywood studios approached him to do the same deal with Lionsgate but Angel turned them down and decided to move on and produce big Hollywood pictures. Angel and his partner, Hector Echavarria, then teamed up with iconic Hollywood legend, Ronald Shusett, whose movies, which include titles such as “Alien,” “Total Recall,” and other hits grossed over 1.5 billion at the box office.

Over the years of acting as a financial manager, Angel managed a number of due diligence engagements, such as acquisitions, disposals and debt restructuring projects and was often involved in assisting foreign investors in identifying and understanding the differences between Argentine GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), IAS (Internal Accounting Standards) and U.S. GAAP depending on the origination of a target business. Angel also manages acquisitions, merger, sales, debt rescheduling for companies like Super Canal, Grupo Uno and Multimedios in Latin America. All of these companies related to the entertainment industry.

“It was there that I realized that my dreams one day may be a reality,” says Angel.

Now Angel is working with other A-list Hollywood directors and actors and is ready to launch his own Hollywood studio. Angel is currently producing three Hollywood films including “Last Tango,” “Hit man’s Funeral” and “Hunter.” “Last Tango” will be directed by Steven Campanelli who was the cameraman for Clint Eastwood for more than 20 years on films like “Million Dollar Baby,” “Sully,” “Grand Torino,” etc. Campanelli also directed “Momentum” with Olga Kurylenko and Morgan Freeman. “Hit Man’s Funeral” was written by TJ Mancini who also wrote “Find me Guilty” for Vin Diesel and produced films like “Riddick” and the Sundance Film Festival nominated film, “Stray.”

“Hit Man’s Funeral” is an Irish gangster story– think “The Usual Suspects” meets “Reservoir Dogs,” offering a peek inside the gritty world of dangerous hitmen, where no one can be trusted and everyone’s a suspect.

“My goal in film is to work with the best people in the industry and create a piece of work I can truly be honored by, which is incredibly difficult but it’s the challenge and risk that makes it so exciting,” says Angel.

Producer Angel Cassani has secured himself as a top producer in the international entertainment industry; and the formation of his new Hollywood film studio has brought the attention of the Hollywood elite to him. Angel is one of the few people in the world that can say that he did everything he dreamt of doing in his life and being part of the Hollywood history is one of his biggest accomplishments.

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Executive Producer Angel Cassani Continues to Bring Hit Actions Film to the Screen

The Pastor
Angel Cassani (left) and Hector Echavarria (right) on set of the upcoming film “The Pastor”

When watching an epic film, our eyes glued to the screen and our physical bodies seemingly frozen in time, it can seem as if the real world, the one outside of the theatre, completely disappears. After all, that’s one of the many reasons so many people love the medium– for the escape it provides, the possibility of spending time in another world, and experiencing life from a different perspective.

No viewer sits in their seat contemplating the magnitude of effort and the multiplicity of collaborations that took place between departments before the film’s visual story reeled them in– yet they remain tantamount to the project’s creation.

The directors, editors, DPs, actors, writers, costumers and production designers come together, uniting their creativity with the single goal of taking something abstract and turning it into something we can experience– but first, someone had to go through the deliberate process of hand selecting each creative and forming a team where everyone’s talents could be fused together. Someone had to go through the process of pitching the project to studios and raising the funding to actually make it happen– and that person, more often than not, is the film’s executive producer. Someone like Argentina’s Angel Cassani.

Since diving full force into his film career as an executive producer back home in Argentina nearly a decade ago with the dramatic action feature film “Never Surrender” starring Hector Echavarria (“Death Warrior,” “Unrivaled”), award-winning actor James Russo (“Django Unchained,” “Not a Stranger,” “Donnie Brasco”) and Patrick Kilpatrick (“Minority Report”), Cassani has gone on to produce a plethora of hit action films.

“To me it is one of the most exciting parts of the film industry, as you take an idea, develop it into a script and then you bring all the elements together and make into reality what was written on paper,” explains Cassani about his work as a producer.

Since the 2010 release of the MMA-driven cage fight hit “Never Surrender,” Cassani has made incredible strides on an international scale as the executive producer of critically acclaimed films such as the fast paced assassin film “Hell’s Chain” from Latin American action star Hector Echavarria from “Los extermineitors,” one of Argentina’s most successful action films in history, the action-packed love story “Death Calls” starring Echavarria, Yolanda Pecoraro (“Dancing Still,” “Death Tunnel”) and Ron Roggé from the two-time Golden Globe nominated series “Stranger Things,” and Echavarria’s recent film “No Way Out,” which stars “Machete” bad boy Danny Trejo as the villain and the ever- stunning Estella Warren from the Leo Award winning film “Transparency.”

Considering the heavy film competition in Hollywood, it’s easy to see that it takes more than just a good story to get a film into theatres; but thanks to Cassani’s invaluable producing efforts and gift for rallying support, “No Way Out” has gained distribution from industry leader Lions Gate. The film is slated to have its U.S. theatrical release later this year.

“The story was intriguing and fascinating and it combined my two favorite genres: Action and Drama and it was largely filmed in South America,” Cassani explains about producing the film.

“The biggest challenge was matching the scenes we filmed in Hollywood with the scenes that we filmed in South America- we really had to pay attention to the details.”

Another film Cassani executive produced, which is definitely worth taking note of, is the 2013 film “Chavez Cage of Glory” directed by, and starring, Hector Echavarria. The film definitely has its brawls and action thrills, but it offers more on an emotional level than any old fight film.  “Chavez Cage of Glory” follows Hector Chavez (played by Echavarria), a father and former fighter who, struggling to cover his son’s medical bills, returns to his fighting roots in the underbelly of L.A. in order to give his son the care he needs– even if it means risking his life. Released in 2013, the film garnered a major theatrical release across the U.S. thanks to Cassani.

About the genre of films he chooses to produce, Cassani explains, “Action drama as it is the most after sought genre from buyers around the world.”

Spoken like a true a businessman because, while he loves the art and process of filmmaking, he still know what sells, which is a necessary point for any executive producer who wants to be successful in the industry.

His previous work as a leading figure in the finance industry endowed Cassani with a strong foundation as both a money manager and fundraiser, two integral strengths that have proven to be major assets in the film industry, and have helped him to create a powerful reputation for himself within South America, and abroad, as one of the most effective executive producers in the industry today.

Cassani also has several other upcoming films in the works, such as the Christian faith-based feature “The Pastor” (which promises to offer a heavy dose of action) starring Echavarria and Saturn Award nominee Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules,” “Andromeda”), which is slated to be released later this year, as well as the martial arts action film “Duel of Legends,” which is currently in post-production.

Hector Echavaria
Film Poster for “Duel of Legends”

Starting off in China in the late 1960s, “Duel of Legends” revolves around Dax, a young boy whose parents are murdered leaving him to fend for himself until he is taken in and trained in Martial Arts by a Shawling Temple Monk. The film follows him to Los Angeles as an adult where he is tasked with helping the FBI solve a case involving a massive human trafficking ring, an undercover operation that requires him to compete against the world’s best martial artists in a secret competition. While the competition may be the key to solving who’s behind the human trafficking ring, it also brings him head to head with the opponent of a lifetime, one who holds the answers to the mysterious murder of his parents.

The highly anticipated film stars Hector Echavarria as Dax, as well as Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa from Amazon’s two-time Primetime Emmy Award winning series “The Man in the High Castle” and Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson from the film “Fire with Fire” starring Golden Globe Award winner Bruce Willis (“Die Hard”) and Rosario Dawson (“Sin City”).