Holly’s Widow and Dallas Resident, Maria Elena Holly,
To Collaborate on Story with Prix Productions
RALEIGH, N.C. – Two of North Carolina’s highest-profile creative executives are partnering to form a new film production company focused on the acquisition, development and production of feature films and documentaries.
Rick French, Chairman & CEO of Raleigh-based advertising and PR powerhouse French/West/Vaughan (FWV), and Patrick Shanahan, founder and president of Denim Buffalo Films, have teamed up to form Prix Productions, with French serving as Managing Partner focused on IP acquisition, financing and production, and Shanahan focused on writing and directing. Prix Productions will be headquartered in downtown Raleigh with an office in L.A. that Shanahan will helm. The new imprint currently has two independent projects that are on fast-track production schedules.
The dramatic feature Clear Lake, centered around rock ’n’ roll icon Buddy Holly, is being produced in association with Holly’s widow, Maria Elena Holly; The Buddy Holly Educational Foundation; and BMG, which manages the Holly Estate intellectual property and U.S. music publishing rights. The film will follow Buddy Holly and fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Clarence Collins, founder of Little Anthony & The Imperials, as they tour together in the racially charged days of 1958 as part of the “Biggest Show of Stars Tour.” Shanahan and French are collaborating on the story with Shanahan writing the screenplay.
A $12 million budget is planned for Clear Lake and casting will begin this fall. Production will begin in February 2019 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Holly’s death outside Clear Lake, Iowa, following his final concert at the Surf Ballroom. It was 40 years ago that Gary Busey starred in The Buddy Holly Story, a $1.2M film that garnered two Academy Award nominations.
Prix is also producing a documentary on the world hunger crisis and the United Nation’s goal of feeding the world by 2030. Production begins next month.
French and Shanahan recently worked together on the Ira David Wood III/Reece Thompson/Madison Iseman drama, The Fox Hunter, which Shanahan wrote and directed. The film is in final post-production with a release expected later this year. Shanahan has written and directed nearly a dozen independent projects including The No Hand King, a critically acclaimed documentary about Raleigh’s Rodney Hines.
French is also an executive producer on the recently completed The True Don Quixote, starring Tim Blake Nelson, and is producing the survival drama Not Without Hope, which is in development.
“Patrick and I have been talking for quite a while about creating a film production company that focuses on high-quality dramas and documentaries, and we chose these two projects very carefully to catapult the new venture and show diversity within our slate,” said French, who is funding IP acquisition for the company.
“From our earliest conversations Rick and I were in complete alignment about the type of projects we want to take on and our desire to work with studios as well as produce our own independent projects,” said Shanahan. “Having our own team of in-house producers, writers and directors will allow us to move our projects along quickly and give rights holders the confidence their stories will actually get told.”