After mixed success producing two comedy/horror features (Blood Junkie 2010, Billy Club 2013) Co-Creators Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer decided to re-invent the reel with their latest episodic comedy project Shangri-LA. Their 13-episode unconventional comedy series follows an ensemble cast of unique and memorable characters trying to “make it” in Hollywood while surviving on the streets of L.A.
Season 1 of Shangri-LA follows Nicky Kaplow (Sommer) a wilderness man living off the land of Los Angeles. After a nervous breakdown causes Nicky to abandon his life of excess as a successful infomercial personality, he has finally found his place of solace living as a homeless homesteader. He navigates through the hidden wilds of the Los Angeles, encountering a cast of outsiders all struggling to climb their way up the Hollywood ladder, while Nicky is trying to climb his way back down. With empty pockets and big dreams, the characters in Shangri-LA use any means necessary to navigate the hilarious absurdity of Hollywood and the industry that fuels it on a quest to find their paradise.
Jew-C-Pop is savvy, sassy and always looking for ways to sell her product, AKA herself, to anyone who can auto-tune her charismatic talent. She is brazen, driven, and tenacious and will stop at nothing to become the Beyonce of Jewish Pop music. Gil is a naive dreamer, lovably clueless in his quest for fame as an actor. He is eternally optimistic about his dead-end auditions and harebrained schemes to get noticed by producers. Much like his classic Cadillac, Scribs is always on the brink of breaking down. A self-proclaimed producer/manager/filmmaker, Scribs, attempts to game the industry by preying on aspiring talent. Everyone in the land of Shangri-LA is searching for their own version of the Hollywood dream… but does it really exist?
Much like the characters in their show, Co-Creators Nick Sommer and Drew Rosas became disenchanted with the conventions of Hollywood and paved an alternate path to find their own Shangri-LA. With a funny premise, loads of talent, hours of hard work and a lot of sweat-equity, this two-man production team built their series from the ground up.
“When we realized the Hollywood gate keepers weren’t going to just open the doors for us, we decided to break them down by using unapologetic guerilla style filmmaking to create a story that we wanted to see,” said Sommer.
After the 9-minute pilot of Shangri-LA received critical and public acclaim following its debut at the 2016 LA Film Festival, and was awarded the Fiscal Sponsorship Grant from Film Independent, Rosas and Sommer used that momentum to develop and produce the 13-episode season on their own terms. “Today’s technology gives indie filmmakers the ability to maintain complete artistic control. From financing, to producing, to editing and releasing, we were able to empower our vision for Shangri-LA every step of the journey,” said Rosas.
L.A. skyline view at night from Nick’s shack by the freeway in Shangri-LA
Nick Sommer as ‘Nicky Kaplow’ in Shangri-LA
Jessie Kahnweiler as ‘Jew-C-Pop’ in Shangri-LA
(LtoR) Sean Hanley as ‘Gil’ and Nick Sommer as ‘Nicky Kaplow’ in Shangri-LA
Sean Hanley as ‘Gil’ in Shangri-LA
Mark Escribano as ‘Scribs’ in Shangri-LAMathew Dunlop as ‘Handsome Rob’ in Shangri-LA
Mark Borchardt as ‘Doctor Marvin Nestor’ in Shangri-LA
Jessie Kahnweiler as ‘Jew-C-Pop’ in Shangri-LANick’s shack by the freeway in Shangri-LA