GUNS, COMICS And BANANAS: Director Christian Sesma Talks VIGILANTE DIARIES: THE MOVIE!

Director Christian Sesma (left) and actor Jason Mewes (right) on the set of VIGILANTE DIARIES: THE SERIES (2013)
Moving away from the habitual cycle of comic book and video game adaptations in film these days, independent filmmaker Christian Sesma and actor Paul Sloan are proof positive that original storytelling can still pave the way for something massively incredible. And as of late, their prospects in this regard are about to take shape with their new stylish action thriller, Vigilante Diaries: The Movie, a film that once saw its day as a Chill.com exclusive webseries with Sloan joined by actor Jason Mewes (Clerks, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back).

The series unfortunately faded after its two-episode premiere and a lot of time did pass since then with Sloan and Sesma keeping busy with other projects. However, some new and peculiar-looking photos in Sesma's Instagram account landed in my sights and drew my curiosity. Last year's censored first episode of Vigilante Diaries was just a peek in comparison to the vision Sesma and his creative team have in mind, and not for nothing either. Though it may have taken a couple of years, not only will turning Vigilante Diaries into a feature film help flex more of its muscles in its evolution, it will deservedly grant the project a MUCH bigger audience, and it does not end there!

Sesma's got some plans of his sleeve and Film Combat Syndicate now has the good fortune of sharing what a handful of those plans will entail:

Darren Bailey (left) and Chavo Guerrero on the set of VIGILANTE DIARIES: THE MOVIE
Film Combat Syndicate: Thanks for taking the time to talk Christian! It's been a little over a year since we met online. How has 2014 been for you so far?
Christian Sesma: Oh sweet dichotomy! [laughs] I just wrapped my latest movie, Vigilante Diaries on Tuesday evening last week and I went home. That about sums up this past year...crazy, but in an amazing way! This is the 3rd movie in less than 12 months.
FCSyndicate: I agree [laughs], you kickstarted the year finishing The Nightcrew before moving onto AWOL 72 with Luke Goss and RZA, and then Vigilante Diares which I want to talk about little later. What are some of the conveniences that have helped you accomplish these projects along the way?
CS: Conveniences...that's an interesting way to put it [laughs] I've always said that one movie always leads to another. I have a really dialed in a super-talented core team that I work with and we're delivering some really, REALLY high quality and entertaining production value at the indie level. So between now having some work I'm proud to show off to financiers and relationships with actors, the conditions to begin making more and more movies becomes relatively a touch less grueling.
FCSyndicate: You first popped on my radar with Vigilante Diaries last year which was meant as an exclusive webseries through Chill. At what point did you decide taking that concept and extending it into a film? What inspired you?
CS: Originally, it was Paul Sloan who created the idea. He was my co-writer on The Nightcrew as well as the new Vigilante Diaries movie where he also stars as the title character. 
It was our way of designing an R-Rated 'Punisher' type of character the way we wanted to see it. We're all huge comic book and genre fans to the core and we had an opportunity thru the good folks at Chill.com to perhaps create a small series as a tester to debut at Comic-Con and see what happened. I called Jay Mewes to serve as the comedic documentary storyteller and we made two 12-minute episodes. Ultimately, the experiement didn't pan out the way Chill wanted and Paul and I went right into making The Nightcrew before I stepped into AWOL 72, so we all got busy with other projects. However, when executive producer Asko Akopyan saw The Nightcrew he was floored and asked if we had anything in the action genre we'd like to make. So Paul and I said "Yeah, we'd love to revisit Vigilante Diaries as a movie with a wholly revised story, new cast members etc.", and here we are! If Tropic Thunder and Bad Boys had a Punisher baby, it'd be Vigilante Diaries!
FCSyndicate: I've been seeing some of the set pics and IG vids you've been sharing too, and I noticed you managed to get Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on board. How did that work?
CS: "Rampage" and I have another movie set in New Orleans that we'll be shooting next year, but I thought it'd be cool if we did something fun before that bigger project got rockin'. Rampage and WWE Superstar Chavo Guerrero are buddies of mine and figured it would be cool for them to lead this lil' Predator-esque type merc team to rescue the Vigilante in this movie. So it became a really badass ensemble of dudes. Again much like Predator.
FCSyndicate: Speaking of ensemble action flicks, what are some titles that have stood out to you up to this year? Any most or least favorites? Any in your Netflix queue perhaps?
CS: Loved X-Men, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and of course, Guardians Of The Galaxy. Least favorite of the year? Transformers 4 probably, and I still need to catch up on a few I missed though. In my Netflix queue, the standouts I just skimmed through right now are Black Hawk Down, Avengers and Red Dawn. But my personal favorite ensemble action movie of all time would be Aliens!
FCSyndicate: You mentioned a project with Quinton Rampage Jackson for next year. Would you care to elaborate a little bit on it? Maybe a hint ot two?
CS: Yeah, it's called Wetlands. Paul Sloan and I wrote that one as well. It's cop action movie with a serious tone and Rampage will be playing one of two leads. But I'm hoping to make my Western first; I've had a badass action western script for 3 years which I been trying to get off the blocks called BOOM!Town, and I'm REALLY hoping that one goes first. We have not seen a contemporary action western like this!
FCSyndicate: You seem to hold Paul in such high regard. How long have you two known each other prior to becoming such good friends as well as lucrative partners?
CS: We had the same manager at one time. We met through work, and now it's awesome to call him one of my best bro's like Step Brothers! [laughs] Actually, he and my Director of Photography, A.J. Rickert-Epstein, make up the core crew. That trifecta is just a super talented movie-loving trio. I've found that in this business if you can find a team with whom you can create and grow with and still want to hang out with outside work, you've got something special. We all just talk in movie quotes and scenes...constantly!
FCSyndicate: Sounds wicked! So for Vigilante Diaries, what can fans expect from the feature film whether or not they might have seen the first two episodes you did for Chill?
CS: I think they can expect a full movie now; The ideas we played with in just a few minutes before are now full story arcs and such. It's just a fun action comedy packed with characters in a bloody, gun-filled, violent romp through this hyper-stylized world of a real-world superhero and his sidekick, foreign mob bosses and one fish-out-of-water character who started it all with a web documentary called Vigilante Diaries. I hope we get to expand the world into something bigger, better and more bananas!
FCSyndicate: Me too! [laughs] And do you know if you will be able to present the two episodes on a forthcoming Blu-Ray or DVD? Possibly as disc extras?
CS: Those two episodes will be woven into this new movie in a very cool way. In essence, this movie takes place seven months or so after the end of episode 2. But we will absolutely see all that original footage from episodes 1 and 2 used in the 1st act of Vigilante Diaries: The Movie.
FCSyndicate: That is AMAZING! You're doing a lot with just this one story setup and I'm glad you and Paul are building on it. If this one is a success, have you two discussed who else you might like to bring on board for a hopeful sequel?

CS: Haven't gotten that far. We just wrapped yesterday and still have about 4 months of work ahead of us to finish this bad boy and get it out for everyone to enjoy. Vigilante Diaries has always been this project that just comes together at the right time and with the right people. The movie gods will decide! [laughs]
FCSyndicate: Understood [laughs], I would ask what some of your goals are between now and years' end. Is it safe to say the word is "sleep"?
CS: Between now and end of the year? Sleep for a few days first, then right back at it: Finish AWOL 72 and Vigilante Diaries, wait for a release date for The Nightcrew and hopefully shoot another movie before end of the year. I mean that's always the best Christmas gift...well, besides a Millenium Falcon. [laughs]
FCSyndicate: Sounds good to me! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions Christian. You, your friends and family have my best wishes!
CS: Thanks a lot bro, big fan of the site! Keep badassness alive!
Be sure to follow Sesma on Twitter for all your Vigilante needs, and stay tuned for more information!

From L to R: Paul Sloan, Jason Mewes and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on the set of VIGILANTE DIARIES: THE MOVIE

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