Pilot Light Pictures is a dynamic independent film company birthed by a desire to tell unique and exciting stories that offer a fresh palette of characters, plots, and images to the independent film scene. Their introduction to the film world is a self described “paranoid parable” called The Kingdom of Ultimate Power (K.O.U.P. for short). It is an eclectic film about the ego of a once promising screen writer in Williamsburg Brooklyn, who has fallen into lethargy, and an ex, no holds barred fighter who commissions him to write a horrible screenplay at any cost: monetary, mental, or physical.

Jeremy Buhler

Pilot Light Pictures was founded by Jeremy Buhler and Gustavo Rodriguez and exists to “spark original ideas and continue the inspired collaboration we’ve had for years.” says Rodriguez. The two became friends at Syracuse University while enrolled in The School of Visual and Performing Arts film program. Though they were acquaintances, their friendship grew late in their sophomore year when they bonded over a singular coincidence: they were both suffering from insomnia at the same time. Buhler recalls, “We started spending late nights drinking, playing guitar, and talking film, music, and art. That’s when we realized we shared a lot of the same passions and views”.

Gustavo Rodriguez

It was during this time that they began collaborating on each other’s film projects. Buhler received acclaim early on for his knowledge of film technique, and for a versatility in style that ranged from avant-garde to narrative. Rodriguez separated himself from his peers by writing hysterical dialogue and outlandish stories. Both enjoyed success as each one’s junior and senior year thesis films were chosen to appear in the Hoyt’s Cinema’s New Filmmakers Showcase and Buhler was nominated for the Kodak Cinematography Scholarship. In addition, Rodriguez’s film “Tricky” went on to become a finalist in the ImageNation Festival in New York City, and he won the Hispanic Screenwriting Fellowship from the Independent Feature Project.

Buhler has worked in every aspect of film production from grip and electric to art department and set carpentry, and has directed commercials and multi-camera sporting events. He has also become an accomplished film and television editor. Rodriguez has found himself doing everything from starting a vintage movie poster dealership to working for the Knitting Factory record label. His diverse tastes range from Sam Pekinpah to Walt Disney and he draws a lot of inspiration from a folksy and sometimes twisted type of Americana, which bares itself in his work as an eccentric group of characters and plots.

After years of hatching stories and pitching them to other people, Buhler and Rodriguez decided to take a leap and produce their own work. The seed for The Kingdom of Ultimate Power stemmed from an actual conversation Rodriguez had with an owner of a puppet theater: “We were supposed to be meeting about collaborating on a children’s show, next thing I know he’s pitching me this movie he calls ‘The Kick Butt Movie’ starring his son-in-law, a retired kick boxer.” Though he didn’t write that movie, he paired with Buhler to write a hilarious look at two polar personalities being forced together to complete a terrible screenplay.

It was supposed to be a film that would be simple to make on weekends with friends…it, however, quickly turned into something much more. “We’re both perfectionists”, says Buhler, “we set out to make a little film for fun and the next thing you know we were eliciting help from our friends in the industry, having casting calls, renting equipment and doing camera tests.”

K.O.U.P began to exceed even their expectations when Bas Rutten, the world famous King of Pancrase & champion of “Ultimate Fighting” (both are no holds barred mixed martial arts fighting competitions), fell in love with the script. “A friend of mine suggested we contact Bas after seeing him in a film and on CBS’s ‘The King of Queens’. Shortly after he actually called us and asked if he could audition for the part.” Buhler exclaimed, “Minutes into the audition we were convinced no one else in the world but Bas Rutten could play the part of Vlad.”

The Kingdom of Ultimate Power has received much acclaim and serves as a definitive first success for Pilot Light and symbolizes their artful and ambitious goals: “We want to make exciting, eye-catching films that have a certain immediacy but at the same time, bear our individual quirks and outlooks.” says Rodriguez. They are currently working on a feature length version of K.O.U.P., and robbing local pharmacies for their sleep medication.



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